I’ve been in beautiful St. Croix for the fabulous food & wine experience and finally a spare moment to log in! Not to mention 3 photo shoots and an unexpected invitation to be featured in a music video all last week and the latter thanks to my rocking’ curly hair!
But, later for all that–it’s just part of the crazy, under pressure life I live which I complain not a bit about!
For now, this trip inspired me to finally write a 3rd installment on my trip to Cabo, San Lucas and San Jose from about 18 months ago. I initially talked about it here and here. To date that trip has been one of the most exhilarating and culinarily tantalizing media tours I’ve been on. Everything about it was perfect. From a 3-hour sail boat ride, which I’ll recap soon (for realsies), art strolls in nearby town Cabo, San Jose, 5-star resort visits and torch-lit beach dinners, to 90-minute seaside stone massages. It was four days of pure bliss, no work, no stress and plenty of gluttony.
On the hottest day there, reaching about 105F, we hopped in a minivan and were taken 45 minutes out to a remote dessert in San Jose where Cabos only certified organic farm resides. El Tamarindo, or The Tamarind (a deliciously sweet & sour fibrous pod) is owned by Enrique Silva, a middle-aged but vibrant Mexican character. He greeted us with all the charm and lightness he had in order to keep us cool. It was only 8:30 in the morning and it was already scorching with no signs of a forgiving breeze.
Thank God breakfast was waiting for us. The set up this staff prepared gave new definitions to what an “al fresco” desañuno should look like. The rustic farm table was laced with emerald-green local glassware and lots of that handmade adobe stoneware I love. While we all made visual beelines for the table, Enrique stood under a casual wooden beam frame that will eventually be used for growing grapes, and told of us he came to own the property and what interested him to begin with. At the time its sole purpose was to offer shade. Standing there and looking out toward over 100 acres of young and immature soil was so refreshing and remindful of how beautiful earth is.
The purpose of our visit to the farm was to get a quick, yet very delicious singular view of Mexico’s agriculture, growing indie farming and a movement towards sustainability–something I’m personally striving to achieve in my life. Enrique explained that becoming certified organic was not an easy feat as there is much government red tape and microscopic regulation to satisfy or circumvent. His demeanor gave me the impression he plays by the rules and has ensured everything is in right order. I was surprised at the minutest details like having to maintain a certain number of farmers on the land at once in order to qualify for certification.
After a good 30-minute spiel on farming, we finally sat at the table and were invited to devour. Everything on the table was made fresh using ingredients grown on the farm, including the beautiful chorizo, which you know I just stared at. My friends, especially those of you that love and appreciate some good ol’ swine, this half-moon piece of meat here is what you would have considered the best thing ever. So, I’m using descriptives my colleagues used while eating their portions. I just stared and giggled. I was pretty and I even entertained conversation on how the farm employees and cooks make the casing. So much goes into producing high-quality foods. And that was evident in everything we ate. From the fresh tortillas with perfect charring in the right places to the trio of salsas to suit our palate to the basket of colorful pastries sprinkled with glittery powder on some.
Do you see this chocolate muffin? I had about three. Hey, I figured, since I did forgo the sausage, I could rightfully indulge in the sweets. The hot refried black beans with coteja cheese was perfect even in the steamy weather. And, while I was eating, I couldn’t help but notice several large banana trees in front of me. They were still growing, but it’s always fascinating to see how trees bear fruit. I finished off my breakfast with fresh melon and sandier and the best cup of non-Cuban espresso!
Oh, and the fresh squeezed jugo de toronja was tart, sweet and refreshing to the point of causing coquettish conversations with the bar server.
The day progressively hotter but we couldn’t visit the farm without going into the field, so alone we went. I wasn’t the brightest bulb in the bunch and had heesl on! Yeah, heels! I’m thinking for the rest of the days’ activities… here I go.. I had no choice but to leave my pumps at the breakfast area and bare the hot grass slash gravel.
It was well worth it, though. I saw and bit purple basil, rubbed and also bit off growing arugula (which is 10x better than fully matured variety we end up buying). He also grows lemongrass, tomatoes and what seemed to and endless list of agriculture.
At the time, a few farmers, beautifully exhibiting their passion and awareness for their countries’ agriculture, were clad in khakis and white cotton shirts, donning a big-brimmed straw hats, kneeling and hand-picking the weeds. One.By.One. Impressive, but too much work for the low, low wage they’re paid.
In the middle of the field we were schooled on the the intricate methods of irrigation and watering process during harvest. I spent a few minutes speaking with Enrique about his decision to harvest and other projects in hand. He explains his humble beginnings in farming with his family and his natural interest in assisting local farmers maintain integrity in growing and preserving the land.
El Tamarindo supplies most of their crop to restaurants and luxury resorts in Cabo. In addition to the farm, Enrique owns a swanky and earthy posh restaurant called Tequila. Not only does he manage the farm, but he’s got his hands in tequila distillery. The agave plant below is one of many lined up in perfect rows which are the very ones that make fancy drinks at his spot.
3 hours later, we mosied our way out of the farm with full belly’s of utterly delicious food, a tour of the yet to harvest field, and a sneak peak of the upcoming cooking school Tamarindo is building.
Our exit was halted by a friendly farm horse and my mind was still on the chunky salsa which was the best I had the entire trip!
If you visit Cabo, this farm (and the sister restaurant) is a must-see and experience while you’re there!