A slice of rural life with Chile’s ‘Huasos’

Annual fruit and country life festival is a sweet success in the O’Higgins Region, the heartland of rural Chile.

Renowned for its rich, traditional, rural lifestyle, central Chile has never been shy of a good old-fashioned fiesta to round off a successful harvest season. Earlier this month, the O’Higgins region, famed as the home of “huasos” — agricultural workers and horseman of the central valley area — did just that, playing host to the 8th annual festival dedicated to all things relating to the area’s thriving fruit industry.

Located around 70 miles south of the capital in Rosario, the “Festival of the products and people of the fruit industry” is jam full of local culture and local produce.

The event was attended by farmers, fruit producers and other agricultural entrepreneurs keen to take advantage of an event ripe for promotion of products including marmalades, herbal medicine and berry-based cosmetic products.

“With this festival we want to let people know of the culture and tradition of ‘Huaso’ culture in the O’Higgins Region,” said Érica Peñaloza, president of the committee behind the event, “Progress for Rozario.”

Thanking the Agriculture Ministry and the Municipality of Rengo for their support, Peñaloza added how important such as this fruit culture bonanza are for recognizing and promoting Chile’s growing fruit industry and the many jobs the sector creates, especially temporary work during harvesting season.

Guido Carreño, Regional Secretary for Agriculture, also praised the festival and noted its popularity with local families as well as its significance for the industry.

“This festival is already a tradition for Rosario and the province of Rengo, but beyond that it is now a tradition for the entire region, an area known for agriculture and the production and exportation of fruit,” he said. “Without doubt, it’s a great initiative and one we have to continue with year after year.”

The other big topic of the day was exports. Chile is a world-leader in the export of many fruits and hopes to expand this success to new markets, sure to be easy-pickings for the berry-bound farmers of the Andean nation.