Tuesday, May 24, 2016

May 23rd

We boarded the bus at 8:30 after a delicious continental breakfast and headed on our way to get on the sky rail. We rode the sky rail for about an hour through the very wet and rainy rainforest.  We made one stop to take a look around at a natural waterfall coming off the mountain side.  We had beautiful views of exotic trees and plants.  The heights, unfortunately, got to some people and they had a minor freak out and nearly cacked.

Part of the group in front of Barron Falls

Barron Falls

Next we had an hour drive up the rainforest mountains to an avocado producer’s orchard.  The Orchard was located 2,000 feet above Cairns and much cooler.  Most of us wish we would have worn more clothing.  He has 10,000 avocado trees.  The avocado can stay on the tree and not ripen for around 2 months after the growth.  They harvest the avocados from March to June.  They hand pick all the avocados and after they are picked is when they start to ripen.  They ripen due to an enzyme breaking down the fruit.  They are one of the oldest non-domesticated trees because they have not been modified, for example an apple tree has been modified.  They are pollinated from Asian bees.  He said the reason why is because Asian bees aren’t lazy.  They bring the bees in when need be and remove them when they have done their duty.  They have a specific grading scale that gets measured out through a machine.  The avocados then get separated into their grades and put into their specific boxes to be shipped to their destination.  He showed us a very cool citrus tree that had lemons, limes, grapefruit, and blood oranges.  This is possible by grafting other citrus fruits to a lemon tree.  He also grew a small forest of banana trees.
Avocado tree loaded with fruit
Students in front of a banana tree.  A first for many students.
Colored bags on banana bunches, color coding allows managers to tell workers which bananas to harvest by bag color.
Our next visit was to Mungalli Creek Dairy operation, where they served us lunch.  They ran a bio-dynamic dairy.  Bio-dynamic is a step above organic with only a few differences between them, making it more strict.  They made their own yogurt, cheese, ice cream, and used their own milk products.  They also had their own free range egg producing chickens, which they used in products and for sale.  Their pastures are fertilized by a product called 500.  This is created from cow pies buried in the ground for 6 months and then dug up.  A golf ball size clump is stirred with water to activate it and is then spread on an acre.  This makes for sturdier grasses in their pastures.  They utilize rotational grazing in their paddocks as well.  They keep their dairy cattle out on pastures and feed them a bio dynamic approved grain ration when they are milked.  They have five farms and the parlor we saw had 120 head of cattle. 
Dairy cows at the Mungalli Creek Dairy.
As we end the day and come to the end of our amazing trip we had our farewell dinner.  We went to a place called Dundee’s located on the harbor next to the ocean and had a very delicious meal.  We said good bye to Bryan who helped plan the trip and toured with us.  He was very helpful and informational and will be missed.

SDSU group by Bryan Johnston, our tour guide.  He was a great tour!

Raquel and Crystal

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