Gary’s Blog: Who grows your imported tomatoes?

Beto, Victor, Gary and Paul in front of Whistler

Beto, Victor, Gary and Paul in front of Whistler

Annie likes Suni

Annie likes Suni

April 19, 2015

From: Gary 


Some work in the garden, we have things coming up after a rain yesterday. Also plenty of things not coming up, likely due to the old seed problem.

We enjoyed our guest Paul’s visit, it was nice for me to connect with him after so long just knowing him on line.

He stopped by after going to a seminar on retirement in Panama, in Panama City.

We were able to begin working together on the vacuum dryer project, to assist the local co-ops with their surplus production now going to waste. Paul got to meet and talk to Victor the co-op president, and to meet our neighbor Beto and his son Yovany who is Tami’s shadow when he isn’t in school.

Paul was kind enough to help us get a vacuum gauge and other stuff to begin the process of experimentation leading to the falling water powered vacuum dryer, and at this point we have what it takes to find out what is necessary to design and construct the first co-op sized dryer, for our little hidden valley.  Beto and Victor will be assisting in the experimentation, so that they will know what it takes, that way the information will be unstoppable.  It is my desire to boot this up, and then to make the proprietary unit and sell through the co-op to other co-ops. It should be affordable, and change the paradigm here on the wasted tomatoes and other spoilable products.

If I did nothing else, that would be enough if it catches on.

So, I will be working to assist them towards export products.

Paul and I traveled together some, a trip to David, and also up to Boquete, my first time there. It was just a regular Latin town, with a bit of tourism, and really nothing special enough to warrant $200,000 to half a million per hectare land prices in the surrounding area. Basically the game has been run up the prices on the new arrivals to insane levels, knowing they don’t know any better.

Paul’s comment when he was leaving for Panama City was that he couldn’t believe how much we got accomplished in such a short time.  What he knew from the seminar was that he was way ahead of the curve.  I was really glad to be of service to him. And we had a lot of fun together. With plenty of adventure vignettes.  He quickly realized how nice it is, and how easy the mass transit system works, and that we can get anything we need in David. Also Paul is really making a difference here, and the whole valley is very appreciative.

What I have known for years, is that Central America is best described as “insurmountable opportunity”, the problem is that the majority of the investors all get herded into the city, or the same investments.  All sound good on paper, but none of them as advertised is the real potential…  How many more hotels and cabinas do we need?  And why invest in reforestation using trees only good for toilet paper, when if you were in the know, there are dozens of extremely valuable types to plant.

Ignorance plus greed equals stupidity…  

The bottom line really is that 99% of the investors are more like herd animals than original thinkers, and that you need an on the ground person who knows the ropes, to have even a prayer.  And there are plenty of sharks in the wading pool for the business in Central America kindergarten.



Our neighbor Beto’s sister Jasmine came to visit with her little girl, named Annie. Cute kid, looks like a pretty little fairy tale pixie.  Tami got to practice some of her Spanish, and took a couple photos before the camera battery ran out. (Gotta keep those charged up, or they always go dead invariably at the exact wrong time.)

We talked about the project, growing things organic, and cooperating with the co-op etc. while Annie played with Suni.  She was a bit rough, but Suni tried to be on good behavior, but still not relaxed enough due to lack of playing with kids experience.

I asked Jasmine to help me with a piece of paper work we need to write up, my street Spanish is a bit less than formal.  I need a native speaker for official type documents. Jasmine seems nice, as do most of the neighbors, and little Annie was all energy and fun.  But I have seen Annie in upset mode before too.  I like kids, generally better than adults….as my son once pointed out when he was little: “Dad, you are just a big kid!”

I also asked Jasmine what the average tomato farm made here in a year. Talking small acreage, she estimated $2000 per year gain after expenses… That’s not much money for a lot of work, and then market games on a regular basis where they make nothing and the crop rots.

This is why I do the things I do. I would like to see kids and their folks have better lives than that,  $2000 is like what the average American upper middle class couple spends at Starbucks if they both are working.

Not knowing is different than willful ignorance…  no compassion, no future.

It’s like I said way back in this blog, we need an army of common people working to make a better world. The government is not going to do it.

They are too busy blasting out people’s guts, so corporations can steal resources and control markets.

Sad but true.

Meanwhile America buys brand names from those corporations. From the gas into your car, to the cereal on your breakfast table, most of those names should come with a skull and cross bones label. 

Trying counts…

Without trying, nothing is achieved.

Anyway, the rains have come, a nice shower as I write.  Tami is whipping up some concoction on the stove, and I am happy the garden is sprouting. Now to cycle through the seeds from old to newest.  We did some weeding in the garden, and Tami started planting more Manicillo. Soon to have a garden full of it, and boggle the locals. It was nice to show Jasmine the garden, like no garden she has ever seen.  Hopefully people can learn from it…the struggle now is getting ahead of the weeds and planting until we get everything going.


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