Our Farm To Table Project
By Andrés Jenkins
Hello, my name is Andrés, I am the oldest son of Leonardo and Beatriz. I was born in 1993 when my parents began La Quinta and I was raised here in Sarapiquí. However, at age 10 I moved to the capital, San José, with the purpose of having access to better educational opportunities. My professional training was completed at EARTH University as an Agricultural Engineer. That stage not only gave me the tools and technical foundation for agricultural production but it ended up instilling in me the importance of sustainability.
At the end of my studies at University I returned to live in Sarapiquí with two main purposes; to give back a little of everything that the Lodge has given me by taking part in its operations and to develop a personal project related to agricultural production which is my passion.
With this in mind, El Patio was born. This is a sustainable integrated farm focused on meat products. The lamb, chicken, pork and eggs produced here are used in the lodge’s restaurant to prepare delicious traditional Costa Rican dishes or the well-known barbecue buffet for dinner. With the creation of this farm we have managed to further develop the concept of “farm to table” which supports a unique experience for our guests. The following are simple descriptions of what is done in El Patio:
Chicken production occurs in a low stress environment. The densities per square meter are lower than those used in commercial farms. In addition, animals do not receive any type of growth hormones or a vaccination plan. The food is based on concentrates and is supplemented with some fodder from the farm.
Pigs are characterized by developing in an environment known as deep bed. The peculiarity of this system is that the floor of the pens is soil covered in wood shavings. This promotes an environment of less stress for the animals and water consumption is reduced because it is not needed for cleaning. The feeding of these animals is based on the waste from the lodge’s dining room, and is supplemented with concentrates to alleviate any remaining deficiencies.
Egg production takes place in a grazing system. The hens receive concentrate supplement but also feed on the flora and micro fauna found in the pastures, as well as the peels of fruits and vegetables from the lodge’s kitchen. Grazing and low density of animals per square meter contributes to an environment of minimal stress. Another interesting fact is that these chickens do not have their beaks cut unlike those in mass productions where, due to the high stress they suffer, they can harm themselves or each other with their beaks.
Lamb production is a complete production unit, unlike the other animals in production. This is a result of the lambs being bred in the farm and then fattened for meat, which completes the entire life cycle of the animal. The production is carried out under the Pastoreo Racional Voisin system, known as PRV. This system has the virtue of dividing the land according to the number of days necessary for the pasture used to be at its optimum point of consumption. This, combined with a deep grazing as well as the limited use of veterinary medicines and the eradication of herbicides, is achieved to balance the ecosystem to allow for it to work hand in hand with nature in animal production. In addition, the system has the peculiarity of sequestering more carbon than it produces. That is, one hectare of this system can capture 365 times more carbon in a day than it produces in a whole year.
La Finca is our self-supply sustainable production unit for the lodge with practices focused on economic, environmental, and social welfare. The production is planned according to the lodge’s occupation in order to meet the demand for supply. This farm produces coco yam (ñampi), cassava, sweet potato, pineapple, heart of palm, and plantain.
Gardens at La Quinta
In La Quinta, a plantation of pepper, vanilla and plantain was established as part of the initiative to have a self-sufficient consumption. There is also a greenhouse for the production of greens that thrive in our weather which include: lettuce, basil, cucumber, cilantro and chives.