Day 9 we visited Vida Campesina (Country Life) – an family run organic farm and coffee plantation. The tour allowed us to experience life in the Costa Rican countryside with a farming family that grow typical crops in a traditional way without using sustainable agricultural techniques.
Erasmo Gonzales operates his organic farm with his four children Greivin, José, Andrea and Noyleen. We visited various cultivated sections of the farm where we learned about Costa Rican crops such as coffee, bananas, plantains, sugar cane, red taro, white taro, medicinal plants, ñampi, tropical fruits, yuca, Chinese “potato”, papaya, corn, rice, ñame, annatto, and more. The farms various animals including cattle, chickens, sheep, and rabbits, whose organic waste is converted to biogas and an organic foliar fertilizer. We were educated about the coffee production process and shown how the beans are roasted. So here is a short guide to the common coffee roasts from light to dark…. Lighter roasts have more acidity than darker roasts. Light roasted beans are dry, while darker roasts develop oil on the bean surface. The caffeine level decreases as the roast gets darker.
We enjoyed a cup of fresh coffee, brewed in the traditional way with a “sock” alongside roasted plantains and homemade tortilla.
At the end of the farm tour, we had a go at making tortilla, which we enjoyed alongside a traditional lunch with freshly harvested vegetables. We then sat and enjoyed the stunning views into a tree lined valley from high up in the restaurant, spotting several beautiful birds and large iguana sunning themselves in the tops of the neighbouring trees.
Day 10 was a day of relaxation, which was welcomed as it was so hot and extremely humid. In fact, we were forced into the comfort of our air-conditioned room for a few hours.
We did briefly consider visiting one of the many natural hot springs in the area, but it was so hot and so humid that sitting in hot water was probably the last thing we wanted to do, so we tried the swimming pool instead!