Profile of Finca San Juan
No one, it is safe to say, travels to an exotic, remote volcanic island in the world´s most beautiful tropical lake to see cows. That said, the farming being done at our Finca San Juan is unique in many ways to most farms in North America and Europe. Some of this is just old school farming, but much is a result of a great effort in time and effort by farm owners to diversify production and make it as friendly as possible to the local environment. So, you don’t need to be an aggie to enjoy a closer look at what we are doing.
The first thing that visitors notice at San Juan are 45,000 banana trees. These are actually 5 unique species of bananas and plantain (larger blander bananas that are oft-used more like potatoes in tropical kitchens). The October to March harvest usually produces more than 900,000 bananas. We use both traditional planting techniques and accelerated (TRAS) which makes our farm a model for many family banana businesses that dot Ometepe Island. PHOTO
FRUITS & VEGGIES
Fruit trees go way beyond the banana species that are most obvious to the eye. There are numerous citrus trees in the farm, with several species of orange, lemon and lime. Tropical plums, passion fruit, star fruit and some of the biggest avocado and mango trees you can see anywhere complement massive rows of coconut trees. We also harvest our own cantaloupe, watermelon, sweet peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and exotic roots, native to the tropics, like malanga, quequisque and yuca (cassava). When you add native fruits like Zapote and Níspero, you can see that our farm is producing a great deal of what is eaten in our restaurant every day, lowering our carbon footprint and also supplying the freshest, in-season, vine ripened fruits and veggies you can find anywhere.
MEATS, POULTRY, DAIRY & HONEY
The Finca San Juan is much more than just fruits and veggies, we also raise 100% grass fed beef, poultry, pork and they are all range animals, free from steroids or antibiotics. We produce our own eggs and even a special vinegar made from plantain bananas. We are very proud of our milk production, which a part goes to local families who make ice cream and the rest is consumed on-site with our home-made yogurts and cheeses. All the cows are milked by hand to the tune of 600 liters per month. We also produce our own bees honey, with our bees pollinating our crops and fruit trees in season and giving us fresh bees honey for our guests.
RECIPES FOR GROWTH
Nothing goes to waste at the Finca San Juan and we take advantage of our pristine ecosystem to fertilize and protect or fruit trees. One of our favorite fertilizers is a great mixture of by products that our farm produces. We mix cow dung with sour milk and natural root fungus and then mix that with ashes from a cooking fire, rice shells with corn or wheat and we have an excellent fertilizer. We also use cow dung collected fresh and let that age for 15 days with no sunlight. We then feed that to captive California and African earthworms. The excrement from these worms makes an excellent organic fertilizer for both crops and trees, rich in many nutrients. We invite you to take a guided tour of our farm to learn much more about our different projects and practices. PHOTO