Visit to Pelegrin Courtyard (Patio Pelegrin) artist family Community Agricultural Project (organoponico) in Pinar del Rio, close to Viñales, Cuba
Day 6 – Sunday January 12 (journey back to Havana)
This is the continuing story of my Agroecology Tour of Cuba with Organic Growers School in January 2020. Search the Cuban Agriculture Category for more posts about other farms we visited.
Our air-conditioned bus left at 8.30 am to visit Pelegrin Courtyard (Patio Pelegrin) artist family Community Agricultural Project (organoponico).
We were greeted by a group of children singing and performing a short sketch. Then we were given a tour, including a caged crocodile, guinea pigs (food?) a catfish pond (catfish are invasive aliens, which Cubans are trying to eliminate by eating them. [I wonder why they don’t feed them to tourists?]
We saw their vegetables in beds edged with roof tiles. We saw field crops including sweet potatoes and coffee.
Again I saw cilantro and creole spinach. I’m still seeking other names for creole spinach.
Creole Spinach is different from Egyptian spinach (Corchorus olitorius), Lalo, Molokheya, Saluyot, Ewedu, West African Sorrel, Krin Krin, Etinyung, Jute leaves. Also see more about Jute Leaves at this link. Note pointed leaves.
It is none of these tropical “spinaches” either:
- Not Sokoyokoto African Spinach (Celosia argentea). Celosia flowers are quite distinctive.
- Nor is it New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides (previously T. expansa), Warrigal greens, kōkihi. That has succullent leavesthat are almost trinagular.
- Nor Brazilian spinach (Alternanthera sissoo, Sissoo, Espinafre)
- Nor Red Veined Sorrel. (Rumex spp)
Read about those in the Love of Dirt blog by Nicki McKay. Before you click to buy seeds, know that she is in Australia.
Click here to read what Tom Carey has to say about some of these:
- Nor is it Callaloo (amaranthus spp), bayam, Chinese spinach.
- Nor Okinawa spinach (Gynura crepioides, Hong Tsoi, Longevity Spinach);
- Nor Malabar spinach (Basella alba, Basella rubra),
- Nor water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica), Kangkong). Watch out, that can be invasive.
- Maybe Suriname spinach (Talinum fruticosum, (Talinum triangulare) Talinum Spinach, Philippine spinach, Waterleaf, Ceylon spinach, Surinam purslane, Florida spinach)? Florida is geographically very close to Cuba. Similar pink flowers.
Learning about these hot weather greens may be useful as our summers get hotter.
I have a bit more information about the Cuban oregano, Plectranthus amboinicus, I saw at several farms, including Alamar Urban Organic Farm . Cuban oregano is a member of the mint or deadnettle family. It has characteristic thick, fuzzy leaves with a strong pleasant odor. The flavor of Cuban oregano is said to be much stronger than Greek oregano.
I also saw meprobromato, a herb drunk as a tea or cold drink to treat anxiety. Meprobromate was manufactured and marketed in the US as Miltown and Equanil. They were best-selling sedatives/minor tranquilizers for a time, until replaced by benzodiazepines. Nowadays, meprobromate is known to be addictive at doses not much higher than the medication dosages.
We saw many outdoor mosaics, including walkways, steps and pieces embedded in the walls.
Inside the galleries we saw pottery, dolls and paintings. I bought a painting of an old man for $25.
There was a big porch with a mural and greetings from groups who had visited from all over the world.
They have received international support for some of their farming (irrigation) and their farm buildings.