Our daughter Sara and her beautiful family (husband Drew and our grandkids Elias and Eloise) visited us a few weeks ago, and they brought with them a gang of friends and other family members. It was spring break meets family reunion at Finca Luna Nueva, and the group exchanged photos to share their memories. The adults kindly gave us permission to post these photos and tell about their trip, so this blog will thus answer the question: can three generations of friends and family have the time of their lives at Finca Luna Nueva? As you’ll see, the answer is a resounding yes!
First stop: LET’S EAT TERMITES!
Our amazing nature guide and chocolatier Royvin Gutierrez led the group on the farm tour, and first stop was a termite colony in our oldest cacao field. Roy explained that many primates eat termites and he asked if our “little primates” wanted to try out this ancient food. We were tickled that almost of the kids wanted to eat like chimpanzees, and the food critics raved! “Tastes spicy,” one said. “Tastes like chocolate,” opined another. And of course there were the inevitable “these are yucky” comments, always made with shrieks of surprised delight.
The gentle stroll through the farm took us to our new “syntropic” cacao fields, where Scott Gallant and the Porvenir Design team have led us in new regenerative directions.
The key learning is every farmer, in every climate and habitat, needs to farm in harmony with the personality and desires of that land. Our farm adjoins about 250,000 acres of tropical rainforest, including the famous Children’s Eternal Rainforest. We all recall how our old ginger and turmeric fields, left undisturbed, quickly transitioned back to rainforest – it’s what our ecosystem wants to be. Call it personality, “dharma,” or the laws of nature, but our soils here want to be covered with diverse plant species that occupy all the levels from ground all the way to the top of the canopy.
To explain this to the children, we asked them “do you like to do what you like to do?” And they thought that was a funny “duh” sort of question – of course they liked to do what they liked to do. So too, we explained, does our ecosystem. It likes to produce food like a forest, so we work with that natural tendency and let our fields do what they like to do. There are fancy names for this type of farming, and the way to achieve this can become very nuanced, but it’s really pretty simple: when you’re based in the rainforest then produce food like a rainforest. If you’re up further north in the temperate zone, then produce food like a prairie. How best to do this? Each farmer and rancher should have fun experimenting and figuring out what works best in her or his fields. That celebration of creativity is powering the exciting regenerative agriculture movement that is now helping to produce nutrient-dense food and repair damaged ecosystems around the world.
And the best news is nutrient-dense food tastes great! The kids found this out for themselves, as they sampled fruits from around the farm.
The group moved on to explore the adventures offered in our zone, considered the adventure capital of Costa Rica. White-water rafting was a group favorite, which started out muy tranquilo but it wasn’t always smooth rafting.
Back to the farm, where the group took a thousand-year journey chocolate journey. Once again Royvin took the lead, and the group learned the history of Theobroma cacao. They tasted it the ancient way, which is hot in temperature and spice, but they then recreated the European sweet and milky version that now dominates the world chocolate market.
Some of us went off to a nearby cloud forest for the Nacho Tour birding adventure, led by our birding expert and friend Alberto “Beto” Palma. So sweet to share the day with friends and family – and to witness an endless display of birding beauty.
Quetzals, long-tailed manakins, sunbittern mama and baby, three-wattled bell birds, euphonias, and on and on. This tour delivered, and it was tough. Just ask Farmer D, who blazed the trail for us.
We ended the day chasing down the sunbittern parents with their new arrival, all the time hanging with son-in-law Drew, Daron, grandson Elias, and Magnus, the latter two soon heading off to college! Ah, parenting….
And birding happened for the very young as well, in this case scoping out the Scarlet Macaws circling a pond.
Did we say “FOB” time?
That’s what we at Luna Nueva call relaxing – as in “flat on back” or in a pool somewhere.
Meanwhile, the kids were in tropical bliss, with their own table and game night every evening!
Friends and family gathered, and bonds were deepened and celebrated. One week, one farm, one shared planet, and three generations. Pura Vida!