THE HUASTECA REGION
The Huasteca Region is an area that includes the south of Tamaulipas, the southeast of San Luis Potosí, the northeast of Hidalgo, the north of Veracruz and the northeast of Querétaro. It forms a discrete ecosystem in which two major ecological niches are found: mountain and plains areas. Its plant and animal life are the result of a long process of historical evolution and the area boasts some of Mexico’s greatest biodiversity.
With regard to agriculture, two productive systems are the most common: wide ranging plantations given over to orange, grapefruit and mandarin orange citrus production as well as to sugarcane and feed grasses that are sold outside the region; and slash-and-burn agriculture, largely for subsistence consumption, in small gardens, orchards and traditional milpa fields. Animals that complement the local diet are hunted in the countryside.
Xonacate, prickly pear cactus, squash and pumpkins, verdolagas, avocado, chayote, cassava, sweet potato, pemuche, piñon and peanuts are cultivated in the Huasteca; yucca flowers, cocuite, chaca and oak mushrooms are foraged. The region’s best-known fruits are oranges, limes, mandarin oranges, grapefruit, tamarind, melon, chico sapodilla, white sapodilla, bananas and papayas. When corn is scarce, gum palm seeds are eaten which—despite being poisonous in their natural form—can, once processed, be made into tortillas, gorditas or tamales. Doves, armadillos, gophers, tlacuache possums, wild turkeys, deer, shrimp, crawfish, frogs, tortoises, poultry, hogs, cattle and ducks are the region’s game, river catch and farmed animals.
Mining and petroleum exploitation supplement these activities.
Dulce de xoconostle