Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Sugar is Sweet!

Hi everyone. I hope all is well.

Today (April 3) Kristin woke me up early and told me we were going on a long van ride. Yuck! It seems like it takes FOREVER to get anywhere in Brazil. Kristin must have seen the look on my face because she told me that the van ride would be worth it. I'm not sure how she can top Embraer, but I decided not to complain.

In the end, the day was pretty cool! I got to visit a sugar farm. I LOVE sugar!

At first I was very confused about the sugar farm. I didn't know sugar came from a farm. I told Kristin I thought sugar came from bags at the grocery store.

That's when Kristin told me to look closely at the tall, green leafy plants growing in the fields. It is a plant called "sugar cane" and it was everywhere!

Kristin told me that sugar comes from "sugar cane." Who knew? But I quickly learned it isn't easy to make the sugar that my Aunt Lynn buys at the store.

Kristin says when the sugar cane is ready to harvest, each stalk (like the one in the photo below) is taken from the field.

Here I am with Keith "tasting" a stalk that was cut down in the field. It does NOT taste like sugar. It tasted more like dirt than anything else!

Once the stalks are harvested at this farm, they are taken to a processing facility like this one.

The stalks then get put into big machines that squeeze the stalks so all of the liquid comes out. Kristin says this sugar liquid can then be turned into many different things including the sugar that my Aunt Lynn makes cakes with.

I really wanted to see this process but Kristin says it isn't the right time of year for harvesting the sugar cane. :( At least I got to see one of the sugar processing facilities.

I really liked visiting the sugar farm, but I wasn't really sure why we were there. That's when Keith told me that one of the things made from sugar cane is something people in Brazil call "alcool." He says "alcool" is called "ethanol" in the United States. He also told me that most "ethanol" in the United States is made from corn (not sugar cane). I had no idea!

I also didn't realize that "ethanol" can be used as a fuel in cars. Keith says many cars in Brazil run on ethanol made from sugar cane instead of gasoline. Very interesting. Kristin says the gasoline she puts in her car at home is a mix of gasoline and corn ethanol. I'll have to ask Aunt Lynn if she uses this ethanol stuff in her gasoline.

That's all for now. Bye!