Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Provo bros go farming in Nicaragua

   When I was about 9 or 10 years old, I, along with the rest of my classmates had to do a research project on a country in order to move on to the 5th grade. I can't remember if we got to choose which country we wanted to do the report on, but one way or another I ended up with Nicaragua. I don't remember much from my report other than it was good enough for a pass, and Nicaragua was also very good at growing fruit, particularly bananas.
   Fast forward 20 years, and my brothers and I bought an organic fruit farm in none other than the country of Nicaragua. How it all came to be was through a long chain of events, something that my 10 year old self never would have comprehended. But with out passion, dedication, a little bit of luck, and a desire to follow our dreams, we would not be where we are today.
   Lets be honest, we didn't choose to invest in Nicaragua because we wanted to be farmers. We went there because we want to be surfers. Living in Utah, its hard to develop a passion for surfing when you hardly ever get the chance to go. My older brother Justin, who has lived in Hawaii for some time, was the one who had the vision, to bring our family to an emerging scene like Nicaragua where we could practice surfing and embrace a new lifestyle.
   When we found the farm for sale online last year, we knew we had to get it. It was an amazing business opportunity that could not be passed up.  Justin was ready to relocate his whole life down to Nica, and this past April he did just that. Neil and I recently returned from a month down there and I am completely sold. I enjoyed Surfing everyday, disconnecting from the internet and the rest of modern society, a slow paced lifestyle, and of course the bountiful tropical fruits of our farm and the surrounding area...

(click images for viewing)
Quinta Limon is the name of our farm. Its about 3.5 acres, and minimally developed. The old owner did a good job of getting things started, but now it's our turn to really make this place shine. Some of the fruit trees that are established on the farm, but are still young, include: limes, key limes, oranges, 5 varieties of mango, coconuts, pomegranate, avocado, grapefruit, bananas, plantains, and guava. We are planning to expand with more bananas, papaya, dragon fruit, passion fruit, pineapple, and more. We are also going to build out a mean vegetable garden and chicken coop. We plan to supply the local community as well as all of the restaurants and resorts with a sustainable, organic option. 

 Limes soaking up the sun. While not the best cash crop down here, it's what the farm is named after. We must have over 50 lime trees, all still very young, but producing some mega juicy fruits already. In the photo above you can see the rows of limes and valencia oranges. What do you do with all those limes? drink a lot of cervezas, lemonade, and mojitos.
 My brother has been busy with projects on the farm. There's always something to do. We are not at the point where fruit production is crazy, so we're doing things to get ready for the future. Like building this storage bodega/fruit processing area...
 Ariel lives on the farm with his family in a small Nica style house. In the past he has been a caretaker of the farm, but now that my brother is around he's got him doing all kinds of stuff like digging wells, building bodegas, and planting trees. He is an invaluable resource for us and we are so stoked to have him helping us along. Because for the most part we have no idea what we are doing. 

 It would seem like a shitty time to buy a farm, during the 3rd year of a serious drought. But we did anyways. We have faith that the rains will come! Besides, if we have to chop down all the trees, we're still 500 meters from some world class surf at Playa Santana. This year we will get 1000 mangos, if we're lucky. On a normal year we should get over 20,000.
 Some hawaiian style papaya seedlings almost ready to be planted. Down here in Nica they have the mexican variety of Papaya which are much larger, and not as flavorful. These Hawaiian papaya will be amazing. (non GMO of course :)
The view from on top of the water tank looking over the back 40, down towards the beach which is just out of view. The perimeter of the farm is lined with mango trees, which might reach heights of 100' one day. Thats a lot of mangos. 

   It's a really exciting project and I can't wait to see it develop. I never would have guessed we would be doing something like this but such is the case for many of the things we do in our lives. I'll be sharing most of our success and some of our failure along the way through this channel, as well as a new farm website that I need to build out soon. Farming, surfing, and fishing in Nicaragua will be heavy on my mind from here on out. I'll post some photos soon of the fucking miraculous sunsets that occur almost every night.  

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