Yesterday morning we woke up a little early to walk down to Caribeans for a little breakfast smoothie and to see a CSA-type operation. The program is run by a guy named Carlos who we were introduced to by Jeff [who ran our chocolate tour]. Carlos is a warm, bright, friendly American guy who has crazy stories and could easily be mistaken for a true tico. He was kind enough to talk with Jason and me about his operation, discuss From the Farmer, and chat about his life here in PV with his wife.
Carlos has a great thing going with his produce business– he gets produce from only organic farmers in CR and then puts together a list of that week’s available product for people to request. Apparently, only 4 – 6% of farmers in CR are organic, with the rest being conventional & using heavy pesticides– sometimes more than anywhere else in the world, which just blew my mind. So he’s doing a great service for the conscious consumers in the community. He puts together boxes containing the produce and any other specialty items included that week [i.e. kombucha– which we got & it was delish!!, Cat’s Claw, colloidal silver, etc ] on Friday evening, and then distributes the boxes to his customers who pick it up at the Caribeans Cafe on Saturday. Being there on pick-up day was great fun because we really got a sense of the PV community and were introduced to a few interesting people– one including Ana, whose farm we’re going to stay at this week.
After witnessing this fun program, we walked back to town to see what was left at the farmer’s market. We picked up a couple things and went back to our place to drop our goodies off. We headed back out right away, though, to bring in our laundry at Cafe Rico, grab a giant iced coffee & fruta de pina [which is simply pineapple & water], and do a little research for the next couple weeks of travel. By then it was afternoon and we were pretty hungry, so we got crepes at a French restaurant called Sel et Sucre. They were so yummy.
The next day, Sunday, we woke up early to grab breakfast at a cafe called Bread & Chocolate that has had great reviews on TripAdvisor. We had the best scrambled eggs, ever, with bacon and roasted potatoes, and a cinnamon pancake with honey to share. It was super tasty & a great idea for breakfast. We picked up our laundry and headed back home to pack & clean the place before leaving for our next destination– Finca Tierra.
We called a driver, Freddy, who was recommended to us by our next hosts. Freddy, it turns out, is from DC and lived in Denver for 2 or so years but now, of course, lives in Puerto Viejo. He drove us through town to a driveway off the main road. The driveway is two miles long and consists of loose rocks & random potholes. I kept pushing back thoughts of Freddy’s vintage Land Rover rolling over the drop-off to the side as I held onto the seat for dear life. We eventually made it safely, only stopping once to close the back door that swung open but saving Jason’s backpack that almost flew out with it.
We arrived at Finca Tierra to meet Ian, an American who started the farm with his tica partner, Ana. Ian and their dog, Bruce, brought us up to the kitchen, which is the main gathering place. It was a beautiful setup, with an open-air kitchen, a large community table nearby, with the cabin we’d be staying in down the hill– everything built by hand from the bamboo of the trees on their land and concrete [all of which they carried up the mountain– no machinery could fit down the road at the time because the jungle was so full]. The landscaping is all basically edible, with beans hanging from the vine, edible greens growing along the path, corn growing randomly throughout, and a thousand other things that I have yet to learn about. Everything sustainable.
Ana greeted us with coffee, freshly baked chocolate bread & another bread that had a delicious jam baked inside. We talked at the community table with this charming and extremely interesting couple, learning about their story, their land, and Costa Rica. We later ate a delicious dinner of vegetables in coconut milk, rice, and the most delicious salad while sitting at their bar around the outside of their kitchen and talking more about whatever happened to be on our minds at the moment.
We ended up falling asleep in our bamboo cabina to the sound of howler monkeys and toucans singing in the night, until they woke us up again as the sun was rising.