Our visit to the Naranjo River Ranch and Organic Farm
Unique Learning Experience in the Tropics
A beautiful warm tropical day in Costa Rica’s Central Pacific as we head out to a farm in the small town of Londres, about 25 minutes away from Manuel Antonio – Quepos. The owners of the farm and our hosts for the day are the Fallas Family, and the matriarch Doña Nuria is proudly showing us around. An organic garden, stable full of beautiful horses, petting zoo, large outdoor kitchen & dining area and a trail leading down to the river are just a few of the features we enjoy during our day.
Organic Garden – Jardin Organica
The organic garden was full of fresh green lettuce, cucumber, spicy chilis, sweet peppers, coriander, spring onions and more. It was easily some of the most mouth watering produce I’ve ever seen. We listen intently as we are provided an explanation of how their soil is prepared and managed; even more interesting to us is how they repel insects using all natural ingredients.
“Is this something we could recreate at home on a smaller scale we ask?”
“Of course and you totally should!”
Nowadays everyone is looking to eat healthier and staying away from pesticides can be challenging. Our hosts happily share some tips that we eagerly make notes on and plan to test upon our return home.
“Shall we explore the farm by horseback?” Our host Christian asks. I feel a bit nervous as I haven’t been on a horse in many years, yet excited at the prospect. My boyfriend Michael and I saddle up and we’re off to the river’s edge. The ranch has many trails, one of which, leads down to Naranjo River’s edge, where we see a group of rafters returning from exploring the class III/IV rapids known as “El Chorro”. You could tell their adrenaline was pumping after dominating such a challenging trip. They were happily frolicking in the water of the river before getting ready to come up for their post tour snack.
Costa Rican Gastronomy
Our horses gently do an about-face and head the opposite direction across the ranch towards an area in which the Fallas family calls the plantation. There they’ve planted Coffee, cacao and vanilla soon to be available for export but for now; serves as an excellent learning opportunity. Coffee and cacao are incredibly important agricultural products and are part of the very fabric of Costa Rican culture. As soon as next year, visitors to the ranch will be able to view these crops and experience the delicious creations prepared with their ingredients.
Farm to Table
The farm to table concept here couldn’t be any clearer. I’m grateful to my lovely horse “Indio” for bringing me back safely to the main gathering area at the farm. What awaits is a beautifully prepared meal: you can’t get any more “organic” or “farm to table” than this. A chicken from the coop cooked in a beautiful broth, accompanied by a salad picked just a few steps away. GMO is NOT a thing on this property thank goodness.
Local Flavors Tour
While we didn’t actually participate in the “Local Flavors Tour” which include cooking classes on this particular trip. Naranjo River Ranch also offers a this unique and special family friendly experience. Your group is shuttled to a farmers market where you can pick out some of your favorite ingredients. They then set you up at the outdoor kitchen in a cooking class environment and guide through preparing some of Costa Ricas most classic and culturally rich dishes. If you’re a foodie like me then this sounds like a slice of Costa Rican heaven right?!
Why visit Naranjo River Ranch and Organic Farm
The Naranjo River Ranch has the makings of the perfect day for the entire family. Beautifully kept horses at the stable, a petting zoo filled with kind and loving animals including goats, rabbits, a pony, puppies, and of course chickens. The highlight for me was the organic garden, the easy access to the Naranjo River, and the opportunity to learn about Costa Rican culture, gastronomy and crops. In summary, Naranjo River Ranch is a unique and memorable learning experience in the tropics.