March 8, 2017

Finca To Table – Sustainable farming near Nosara

By Peter "abuelito" Lewis



When asked to describe the concept of sustainability, likely responses would mention solar panels, reclaimed water irrigation, energy saving light bulbs, etc.

While all of these things certainly are important elements in a sustainable building and execution strategy, the development of “cultural sustainability” accentuates the relevance that authentic local culture brings to the overall tone, style, color and vision of the operation.

Olas Verdes Hotel and its partner businesses, Safari Surf School and El Manglar Restaurant, work in unison to provide a unique “Pura Vida Vibe and Guest Experience”, while behind the scenes adhering to exemplary sustainable operating standards and “best practices”.

In a nutshell, cultural sustainability is defined as nurturing the local customs, traditions, folklore, and spirit through hiring locally and sourcing products and services from the neighboring communities. This dedication fosters pride, commitment, and comradery throughout the entire organization.

A relatively short distance to the east of Nosara’s pristine beaches lie a series of bountiful lush mountains, sparsely inhabited by ranchers and farmers and their families. The soil here is fertile volcanic loam, ideal for the cultivation of crops, especially coffee. In early 2017, when I visited the area along with El Manglar co-owner Maritza, and Ariel from Olas Verdes. Our destination was two local fincas, (farms) in the mountain areas known as Los Angeles and Naranjal. Since it’s opening, the restaurant has endeavored to establish local sources for fish, meats, dairy products, fruit, and vegetables.

Our first stop was Finca Integral Don Juan, a major supplier of eggs. A gallina (adult female chicken) produces one egg per day, and Don Juan has 600 of them working round-the-clock! They deliver twice a week to Nosara which is a relief since the rough mountain road would certainly take its toll if I were driving!

Next stop was Naranjal for fruit and coffee. There we met don Vidal Campos, a sixty-something man who looked to be in his thirties.

Don Vidal learned the coffee business in Alajuela, where he worked on a coffee plantation for fifteen years. When he relocated to Naranjal, he discovered a particular species of coffee, known as ‘Costa Rica 95’, thrived in this region, and is especially hearty and resistant to funguses, parasites, and other diseases. The final product produces a delicious, smooth coffee, available exclusively and complimentary in guests’ suites at Olas Verdes. Don Vidal himself delivers the coffee, once a month, at the Hotel in Playa Guiones, Nosara.

We also stocked up on oranges, limes, and other in-season fruits and veggies. One thing Ariel and I agreed upon: this is Blue Zone country! It is an experience we should all have at one point. Olas Verdes offers tours to these truly unique finca-to-table growing regions. Ready for it?

Don vidal and his products
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