“Do not expect to see acres of monoculture when you visit our farm.”
In 2001, disaster struck the area. Hurricane Iris destroyed the village of San Miguel including the farm...In 2004, the farm was still a mess but many trees were recovering. It is fascinating to see how resilient nature is! Knocked down trees sprouted new trees from their branches, broken trees had grown a new crown. Vine covered trees came back to life after pruning.
There are permanent crops and sustainable annual crops. It's an edible forest, all jambled together.
Farm tours are free for guests.
After five years of cleaning up, pruning and planting, most of the trees are bearing well now. The old overgrown fields were cleared and planted. As soon as the trees were big enough, the horse was introduced so she can keep the grounds low, while fertilizing at the same time.
Many of the old plants and trees are still here. And so I got to know a lot of the traditional plants the Kek’chi use. Jack ass Bitters and Sorosi and wild grape vine and Fire Bush and Strong Back all grow naturally. The picture is Chaya, a green leafy tree vegetable known to the ancient Mayans as an excellent remedy for anemia for its high iron and proteine content.
There is callaloo, a spinach-like plant and chicay, a flower bud that tastes amazingly similar to artichoke and jippi-jappa, which tastes like bell mushrooms. Coco yam, sweet potato, string beans, hot peppers, chives, bananas, plantains, nopal, limes, annona, pineapple, guava, mango, papaya, avocado, allspice (pictured), ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, breadfruit and much, much more. There's a little bit of everything for every season :)
Aside from edibles and timber there is loofa to scrub, cohunes for the roof and aloe vera as medicine for insect bites infections and burns. Nitrogen fixing plants and trees keep the soil rich and healthy.
Cacao harvest peaks in May and November, but the trees are bearing year round.
The local shade trees in the cacao and coffee fields, grown for firewood, are slowly being replaced by hardwood trees, such as teak, cedar, rosewood and mahogany.
For meat, eggs and entertainment there are ducks and chickens. They also provide us with manure for the vegetable garden.
The coffee harvest is from October till December (Arabica) . First you pick and crush the berries, ferment them for a day and then wash them and separate the beans from the berries. After at least a week of drying in the sun the beans need to be shelled and fanned. Then it is time to roast on the fire and grind. Everything is done by hand. You are welcome to take a look or join when it's harvest time!