The owners of the local farms have turned every visit into something special, as they show their neat crops and tell stories about the pioneers.
Some farms at Los Antiguos open their gates for visitors to make contact with their neat sown fields, the quietness of the countryside and the lifestyle of the owners. A guided tour revives the stories of this town on the border that arose from the ashes.
Family businesses are aimed at growing fine fruit and delicacies used to produce jam, liqueur and tinned food that characterize this region through various techniques and infrastructure.
1991 will remain in the memory of this town due to the eruption of the Chilean volcano named Hudson, whose ashes covered the area next to Lake Buenos Aires and the towns of Los Antiguos and Perito Moreno on the Argentinian side. Over one meter of volatile material forced the local denizens to be evacuated, destroyed plantations and terminated a large portion of the sheep that grazed in the fields.
As a result of the work done by the farmers, adversity was left behind and today Los Antiguos is the Argentinian cherry capital. Every year in January, a great festival gathers all these people to compete with their best jams.
Open their gates
In contact with nature
Jams, tinned food and fine fruit
Walk in the woods
The farm owned
The access to El Paraíso (Paradise) is lined by poplars that protect the plantations. As we reached the main house, we were welcomed by some members of the Mendieta family, who invited us to go for a walk.
We were told that: “In 1951, alfalfa and some apple trees were grown in the venue for family consumption. They began to grow cherry trees as a business in 1975. When alfalfa stopped being profitable due to desertification, fine fruit became the main support of the farm”.
At present, the cultivated area is very large. Bird cherries, apples, pears and apricots as well as hazelnuts and vegetables -used to produce tinned food- are grown there. As we toured around the field, we learned that it reaches the border and that there is access to a viewpoint over the Jeinimeni River. The summertime and early fall are the best moments to see the farm in all splendor.
Myriam Mendieta was in charge of the jam factory. This product was based on her mother's recipe. Some of them have been awarded national and international prizes. We were tempted to buy some jam and tinned food after observing the painstaking work with which they had been made.
Don Neno's Jam
Without leaving the urban area, we entered the farm owned by Walter Treffinger's family. He is the heir of an old Bulgarian man nicknamed Neno. Walter still remains in charge of this estate with the help of his wife, Malu, and their daughters, María Soledad and Camila.
Used to welcoming visitors, we were soon invited to see the plantations where a variety of strawberries is grown. Likewise, vegetables and mushrooms have their space in the farm owned by the Treffingers. They are used to make pickled products and season tinned food.
It was Soledad who told us: “We lost the sheep because of the Hudson eruption. We left Los Antiguos and returned in 1997 to bet on the production of the farm once again”.
At the beautiful tea house in the garden, we tasted the delicious homemade pies and liqueur (the almond liqueur is a must), green tomato jam with nuts and home made dulce de leche. We understood the reason for the unquestionable fame of this venue in the region and we promised to return.
The micro climate of Los Antiguos today has left the steppe and the volcanic ash behind and has caused its dwellers to far regain trust as a result of their own effort.
Mónica Pons Karina Jozami
Contact of the excursion or tour
Chacra 110 (9041) Los Antiguos, Santa CruzCel: +54 297 56241903
San Martín y Tehuelches (9041) Los Antiguos, Santa CruzTel: +54 2963 491403
See more points of interest in Los Antiguos