Farm-to-table. These days, if you’re a gourmet restaurant and you’re not doing farm-to-table, it’s hard to compete. While it has become mainstream to honor real food, we here at Hacienda del Sol have always looked to use the best, ripe, local and fresh ingredients when creating our decadent and delicious dishes in our restaurant. We know that the closer to the field (or tree) we can source, the better the taste and nutrition it will deliver to our clients. We also know that customer demand for sustainably sourced food has never been stronger and we want to offer our readers as much information on the topic that we can, while encouraging everyone to look further into where their food comes from whether at home, or while traveling.
Let’s talk organic. In North America there is no shortage of organic fruits and vegetables available at any supermarket. More and more grocery stores are now stocking a wide variety of organic foods, and this in itself shows a great shift in consumer supply and demand. The same is starting to happen here in Central America, and it is thanks to buyer’s voting with their dollars! The more we buy, the more will be available! Knowledge is key, and the more research we all keep doing as to how we can better the health of our bodies, and the earth, the better we all shall be. That being said, we know it can sometimes be difficult to stay 100% organic, 100% of the time whether due to logistics, the pocketbook, or simple geographics. Thankfully, there are sources out there to assist in making educated decisions when it comes to our food. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) for example, annually reports the list of produce with the highest pesticide loads for its Dirty Dozen™ list, and those with the least amounts for their Clean Fifteen™ list. When circumstances do arise and it is not possible to be totally organic, it helps to adhere to these recommendations to rest assured that health is top priority!
EWG’s 2015 Dirty Dozen & Clean 15
If you have been reading our blog, you will know that we have been working tirelessly over the last 2 years to produce food from our land. Our organic garden is producing ever more fresh food, and we are hoping to be 60% self-sustainable in the next few years. Our garden has been developed literally from the ground up, a transformation from wild jungle to terraced planting beds, but it did not take long for our team to realize that the extreme conditions of Costa Rica’s dry season temperatures and drought, and torrential rains and erosion during green season, that perhaps we would still need to source from outside. That being said we are still able to harvest a plentiful harvest throughout the year (see figure 1.0 & 1.1)!
We believe that good food should come with conscious choices, and a commitment to community and the environment. That’s why we support community food purveyors and farmers whenever possible, whether organic, local or other.
Here a short list of where we get our grub, so that you, our guests, can be informed:
Cacao & Honey – Organic when possible. Our neighbour Asdrubal has a cacao plantation and we purchase sacks of whole cacao pods whenever we can. We have a local honey producer in nearby village of Ostional that we purchase from. When it is unavailable, we do order local Costa Rican honey from a company in San Jose that specializes in Costa Rican chocolate.
Coconut Oil – Organic. Local Raw food aficionado Franklin presses this for many local businesses.
Nuts – Some organic. We have been working to eliminate some of the nut & seed heavy recipes on our menu, but for the few recipes that do call for almonds, sunflower, or cashews, we have begun sourcing from a Costa Rican company named “Sante.”
Vegetables and Fruits – Whatever veggies we can not source from our garden we try and purchase form local organic farmer in Nosara named Ana. She owns a small finca that she works with the help of volunteers. her specialties are tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, and arugula!
If in the end we can not get all that we need for the restaurant from these two sources, we call on our good friend Eliecer, who brings in produce from “mercado de senada”, a farmers market in San Jose.
So there you have it! Interested in learning more about our sustainability practices? Keep an eye on the blog for more articles in the coming months. And if you are excited about the culinary side of things, why not come learn with us!