One of my favorite excursions on our trip to Costa Rica was to Villa Vanilla
, a small farm focused on growing quality spices in a fully sustainable manor. This farm grew a diverse variety of Vanilla, Chocolate, Tulsi, Peppercorns, Tumeric, Ginger, Ceylon Cinnamon, Chili peppers and more.
The drying rack features white peppercorns, turmeric and chili peppers. In the wet season they dry inside on racks heated by a wood fire.
Ceylon cinnamon bark being harvested the outer bark is scraped off and composted, the inner bark is the cinnamon. The left over wood is stacked to burn in the wet season.
Their compost facility, they judge the temperature of the compost pile, with an old machete inserted deep in the pile. If they pull it out and it is too hot to hold, it is ready.
|Hibiscus Blossoms, for tea|
This farm emphasized beauty in farming in addition to organic sustainability. This is a log resting on its side and then planted with epiphytes and bromeliads.
To increase the biodiversity the crops are not planted in rows but mixed up so that if there is disease it can not spread quickly from one plant to another.
The farmers have also found that the ornamentals will show disease first so the farm is interspersed with many lovely flowers both for their beauty and as an early warning signal.