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    Daisies flavored cheeses

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    Quesos con sabor a margaritas

    At 81 years old, Margarita still makes cheese in an artisanal way and ensures the continuity of a centuries-old tradition by sharing the "secrets" of making a distinctive product for its aroma, flavor and texture, recognized as family heritage.

    From the plurality, the name of the octogenarian gives prestige to a local development project (PDL) constituted at the end of 2020 in the municipality of Ciro Redondo, in the province of Ciego de Ávila, where inherited art is preserved and perfected with the scientific knowledge of the new generations.

    In the Cheese Factory "Las Margaritas", they are committed to the production of quality milk and the careful and personalized elaboration of cheeses and other dairy products with high nutritional value (yogurt, cottage cheese, lacto-free drinks and miragurt), some not manufactured by the national industry.

    The initiative solved the difficult situation with ranchers dispersed near the town of Virginia, who provide few volumes of milk and the only way that Agriculture and the Dairy Products Company had to collect it was by delivering Creole cheese for later reprocessing.

    Quesos con sabor a margaritas

    Maité Cruz Hidalgo, representative of the PDL, recalled that the distance made deliveries more complex on Tuesdays and Thursdays - with increasing volumes in spring -, and the farmers had to travel to receive payment, a scenario that was transformed with the new form of economic management.

    Currently, the milk obtained by eight farmers affiliated with the Patricio Sierralta Credit and Services Cooperative (CCS), located in the municipality of Ciro Redondo, is converted into cheese and they use 100 percent of the derivatives, he explained.

    We buy at 25.00 pesos per liter and the farmers are paid upon delivery, which is an incentive, dignifies the work and allows us to gain recognition within a CCS whose main corporate purpose is the harvest of fruit trees, however, "now we have to Count on us," he said.

    Quesos con sabor a margaritas

    The cheese factory also works according to the Program for the Advancement of Women and incorporated five women into food production by delegating to them the responsibility of making cheeses destined, for the time being, to be marketed for social consumption.

    Before they were only the wives of ranchers or housewives, now they feel empowered by ensuring the added value of the productions, some even obtain economic benefits higher than their spouses, taking into account that they earn up to 5,000.00 pesos per month, Maité explained.

    The favorable links with the dairy industry make it possible to acquire the necessary technology and inputs to process and guarantee the safety of manufacturing; access to training programs is even facilitated, so that “we feel like another of their base business units, Cruz Hidalgo held.

    Las Margaritas is committed to sustainable development by reducing dependence on the National Electric System, by taking advantage of renewable energy sources such as sunlight and biogas, for which it ensured the assembly of a photovoltaic park and solar heaters, built a bio-digester and acquired electric means of transport.

    Quesos con sabor a margaritas

    In addition to cattle manure, they plan to use whey to obtain biogas, in their firm goal of achieving energy sovereignty.

    To its multiple values, the project adds attention to vulnerable people in the area (children, the elderly, the disabled and the sick) and to the Home for Children without Family Protection, by guaranteeing the delivery of milk and its derivatives to provide them with adequate nutrition.

    Aware of social obligations and full of satisfaction, Maité remembers the sad days of the COVID-19 pandemic peak in the province of Ciego de Ávila, when they brought food to the isolation center located in Ceballos Ocho, where the children waited anxiously for breakfast with the milk of Las Margaritas.

    Quesos con sabor a margaritas

    Nowadays, the project promotes the comprehensive development of livestock in the area, in four blocks that will guarantee, in a sustained manner, the increase in the number of livestock farms, the number of animals and the production of milk and meat, at the same time as improvement of living and working conditions of families.

    The strategies to progress include the harvest of animal feed and the preparation of organic fertilizers, as well as livestock and logistics services.

    Among the projections are producing at full capacity (up to 5,000 liters of milk per day) and importing the technology required to make ice cream, a food in high demand among the Cuban population.

    They intend to achieve municipal self-sufficiency in dairy products, replace imports, including those intended for the development of tourism in the Jardines del Rey archipelago, and enter the international market with their leading products (cheeses and lactones).

    They seem unattainable goals but the perseverance, determination and work of the ranching families will allow real results to be achieved in a few years, because the ranching and the country need it.

    Quesos con sabor a margaritas