A Farm Tour at La Anita Rainforest Ranch in Costa Rica

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We spent three nights on our 10 day Costa Rica trip at La Anita Rainforest Ranch. Although we allowed for plenty of hammock time, we also took advantage of many of the activities they offered – including a 4500 foot climb and descent of Miravalles Volcano, a local cooking class and a farm tour followed by lunch.

Visitors from hotels almost a two hour drive away joined our group in order to see what an organic working farm in Costa Rica looked like.

The farm tour started off with a discussion about the property, how they got into the business and then moved on to a demonstration on harvesting and using hearts of palm. Here in Canada I’ve only ever seen hearts of palm canned. It was a revelation to see it removed from a palm frond and turned into a fresh salad within minutes.

"Pablo demonstrating how to get to the heart of palm"

Pablo demonstrating how to get to the heart of palm

"Notice the heavy duty leather glove with chains so he doesn't cut his arm off !"

Notice the heavy duty leather glove with chains so he doesn’t cut his hand off!!

"The heart of palm"

The heart of palm

"Hearts of palm don't get fresher than this"

Hearts of palm don’t get fresher than this

"Pablo whipping up a hearts of palm ceviche"

Pablo whipping up a hearts of palm ceviche

"The ceviche is prepared and left to marinate for a few hours"

The ceviche is prepared and left to marinate for a few hours

After the hearts of palm demonstration it was time to get in a cart pulled by a tractor for a tour. It’s not that the walking is hard but it’s the end of rainy season so it sure is muddy.

"Downpours are common many times a day but they last for only 5-10 minutes"

Downpours are common many times a day but they last for only 5-10 minutes

"Pablo explains what he grows on the farm"

Pablo explains what he grows on the farm – cacao will be one of the biggest crops in the near future

"Incredibly lush countryside"

Incredibly lush countryside

"We all sip some coconut water"

We all sip some coconut water

"Pablo explains the process of making cacao from these cacao pods"

Pablo explains the process of making cacao from these cacao pods

"Hard to believe this is the precursor to chocolate"

Hard to believe this is the precursor to chocolate

"The vertical leaves are harvested and shipped overseas for flower arrangements"

The vertical leaves are harvested and shipped overseas for flower arrangements

"Pineapple plants are grown on the farm"

Pineapple plants are grown on the farm

After the tour is over its back to the dining room for lunch. Aside from the ever present, though always delicious home grown black beans is the hearts of palm ceviche served with taro chips which are super yummy. There are fresh tortillas along with beef and rice as well and to end we have a cup of organically made hot chocolate.

"Hearts of palm salad with taro chips"

Hearts of palm salad with taro chips

"Taro root takes 9 months to grow"

Taro root takes 9 months to grow

"Organic hot chocolate - from cacao grown on the property"

Organic hot chocolate – from cacao grown on the property

"Family style dining with a view at La Anita Rainforest Lodge"

Family style dining with a view at La Anita Rainforest Lodge

Over the duration of the tour we learn so much, partially because Pablo and his wife Ana are agronomists and they are very curious as to what grows best on their land.

I can’t recommend a stay at La Anita Rainforest Ranch highly enough. I’ll have a full review in a future post but if you’re heading to Costa Rica do try and stay here for a few days. It’s not fancy but you do get five star hospitality!!  Our expectations of our visit were exceeded on all accounts.

I’m  linking this post up with #FoodieTuesday on Inside Journeys.

Leigh McAdam

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