Villa Vanilla is a biodynamic farm in Costa Rica. It is located in a small town called Pueblo Nuevo outside of the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area on the central Pacific coast. I have been down there on multiple occasions both to bring friends and family down for the tour. I also like to work with the foods and spices they grow on the farm. The list seems to always be expanding but mainly includes black pepper, turmeric, ginger, Ceylon cinnamon, cacao and of course, vanilla.
Visiting the farm is an amazing experience and one I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in high quality foods and better understand organic / biodynamic farming techniques. There is also a tasting involved where you sample cacao drinks and various items that are created using the spices from the farm. Biodynamic farming is similar to organic but stricter rules apply – its “beyond organic” as some say. The plants are interspersed in a more natural setting and there are no external inputs such as fertilizer, they have to make everything at the farm.
It has been an amazing experience to see all the spices mentioned in this section growing first hand. I was surprised how much learning about the plants and harvesting techniques helped deepen my understanding of how to work with them in the kitchen. For example, here I came to understand how closely related ginger and turmeric are and thus how they can both have similar beneficial properties.
I always enjoy returning to this magical place and feel like there is something new to learn on every visit. It was here where I took a quantum leap forward in my understanding of what it truly meant to be connected to the source of your foods. Many of the photos in the book came from the farm. This gallery also includes some that I didn’t have room to include in the book, thus I am sharing here.
For more information on the farm, please see: rainforestspices.com