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  • Behind-the-Scenes at Isla Palenque’s Organic Farm

    Fresh, locally-grown, sustainable food actually tastes better. Recognizing this, we decided to grow our own organic produce on Isla Palenque by cultivating an organic farm right on the island! Besides, Isla Palenque is so conducive to growing things (and needs no help from sprays or pesticides) that it would be crazy not to do some organic farming on Isla Palenque.

    Organic farm, Isla Palenque

    Photo by pretendtious on Flickr

    And since we want ultra-fresh ingredients to be readily available for guests of the resort, an on-island organic farm makes perfect sense while also reducing the number of things we need to periodically have transported to Isla Palenque. Basically, the more we are able to grow for ourselves, the greener – and fresher – Isla Palenque dining experiences will be.

    After doing extensive research on the principles of permaculture, as well as consulting experts such as John Douglas (aka “The Lazy Farmer”), we’re firming up our plans for the organic farm, meanwhile keeping an eye out for the person who will take the reins on this project. While we’re not expressly setting out to create a “permaculture farm” per se, we like the principles of permaculture and will be applying them where we can. In a lot of ways, permaculture principles are just plain common sense. If you’ve got a plant that produces shade, plant things that want shade next to it. Other plants work symbiotically, and when you understand this, all you need to do is plant them strategically to make use of these symbiotic relationships.

    Simultaneously planning both the organic farm and the resort’s culinary offerings, we’re going to grow a sufficient variety of produce and herbs to allow for each menu item to incorporate ingredients from our own garden. The island naturally yields a number of delicious fruit varieties, and we’re also augmenting Isla Palenque’s native fruit offerings with help from the orchard we planted roughly three years ago. We’ll be repositioning these young fruit trees between buildings and adjacent to dwellings, allowing guests the luxury of convenient fruit-picking for an impromptu island snack whenever they feel like it.

    The farm will start out as about a half-acre, to eventually become as large as 3 acres. Peppers, tomatoes, squash, melons, cucumbers, bananas, and papayas are among some of the things we’re thinking would be good to grow – with plenty of room for that list to expand.

    The key crops will be the ones where that kind of off-the-vine freshness is important — tomatoes, for instance – as well as those with great yield, such as herbs. For our reinterpretations of local dishes, we’ll be picking our own fresh culantro and basil to augment our island cuisine in the way most authentic to the region.

    Chilis, organic produce

    Photo by Nick Saltmarsh on Flickr

    We anticipate that guests of The Resort at Isla Palenque will appreciate knowing that their fresh fruits and vegetables came directly from the island that hosts them. Spending time on the island, exploring it, gives rise to a feeling of being intimately connected to your exotic surroundings – and continuing that feeling at mealtime seems a natural part of the experience we hope our guests will have on Isla Palenque.

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    Post by Benjamin Loomis

    Ben is the Founder and President of Amble Resorts. Meet Ben >>

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    6 Responses

    1. Benjamin Loomis Ben says:

      Thanks, Jacki — as far as herbs are concerned, we’ll be growing mint, basil, culantro (cilantro, too), and oregano on the island, as well as broccoli, spinach, and romaine. Other leafy lettuces need a cooler climate than we have on Isla Palenque, so we’ll be getting additional greens from local farmers in Cerro Punta. When you visit the island, you can make up for lost time and get the greens you’ve been missing in Panama.

    2. Ben: Couldn’t agree more on the margs! But what a fabulous idea to grow your own produce on the island!! As someone who lives in Panama, I can tell you that, although there is an abundance of fresh produce, there are certain fresh culinary items that are hard to find and that I sorely miss. I’m thinking in particular of fresh herbs for cooking, and a variety of lettuces. Way to go Amble!

    3. Benjamin Loomis Ben says:

      Thanks, Carole. And yes, I think the guests will greatly appreciate getting incredibly fresh produce in most of their dishes; and without a doubt, a margarita (on the rocks, of course) is so much better when you’ve grabbed the lime off the tree just minutes before making the drink…

    4. Carole Arszman says:

      An Organic Garden on the Island is so interesting! Yes, guests would love having fresh vegetables and fruits from the Island. What a neat idea!

    5. Benjamin Loomis Ben says:

      Rebecca — We’d love to get your take on what we’re doing. I’m sure you could offer some insight into our organic farm as it comes to life in the months ahead. We’re looking to begin planting next month, so by the end of the year, we should have a lot of vegetables for you to chomp on, fresh from the vine, so to speak.

    6. Rebecca Barria Rebecca Barria says:

      I love the idea of fruit trees around the resort so that guests can pick their own! Next time I’m in Panama, I’m going to have to check this out.

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        [post_content] => Fresh, locally-grown, sustainable food actually tastes better. Recognizing this, we decided to grow our own organic produce on Isla Palenque by cultivating an organic farm right on the island! Besides, Isla Palenque is so conducive to growing things (and needs no help from sprays or pesticides) that it would be crazy not to do some organic farming on Isla Palenque.
    
    [caption id="attachment_17418" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Photo by pretendtious on Flickr"]Organic farm, Isla Palenque[/caption]
    
    And since we want ultra-fresh ingredients to be readily available for guests of the resort, an on-island organic farm makes perfect sense while also reducing the number of things we need to periodically have transported to Isla Palenque. Basically, the more we are able to grow for ourselves, the greener – and fresher – Isla Palenque dining experiences will be.
    
    After doing extensive research on the principles of permaculture, as well as consulting experts such as John Douglas (aka “The Lazy Farmer”), we’re firming up our plans for the organic farm, meanwhile keeping an eye out for the person who will take the reins on this project. While we’re not expressly setting out to create a “permaculture farm” per se, we like the principles of permaculture and will be applying them where we can. In a lot of ways, permaculture principles are just plain common sense. If you’ve got a plant that produces shade, plant things that want shade next to it. Other plants work symbiotically, and when you understand this, all you need to do is plant them strategically to make use of these symbiotic relationships.
    
    Simultaneously planning both the organic farm and the resort’s culinary offerings, we’re going to grow a sufficient variety of produce and herbs to allow for each menu item to incorporate ingredients from our own garden. The island naturally yields a number of delicious fruit varieties, and we’re also augmenting Isla Palenque’s native fruit offerings with help from the orchard we planted roughly three years ago. We’ll be repositioning these young fruit trees between buildings and adjacent to dwellings, allowing guests the luxury of convenient fruit-picking for an impromptu island snack whenever they feel like it.
    
    The farm will start out as about a half-acre, to eventually become as large as 3 acres. Peppers, tomatoes, squash, melons, cucumbers, bananas, and papayas are among some of the things we’re thinking would be good to grow – with plenty of room for that list to expand.
    
    The key crops will be the ones where that kind of off-the-vine freshness is important -- tomatoes, for instance – as well as those with great yield, such as herbs. For our reinterpretations of local dishes, we’ll be picking our own fresh culantro and basil to augment our island cuisine in the way most authentic to the region.
    
    [caption id="attachment_17420" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Photo by Nick Saltmarsh on Flickr"]Chilis, organic produce[/caption]
    
    We anticipate that guests of The Resort at Isla Palenque will appreciate knowing that their fresh fruits and vegetables came directly from the island that hosts them. Spending time on the island, exploring it, gives rise to a feeling of being intimately connected to your exotic surroundings – and continuing that feeling at mealtime seems a natural part of the experience we hope our guests will have on Isla Palenque.
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    [post_content] => Fresh, locally-grown, sustainable food actually tastes better. Recognizing this, we decided to grow our own organic produce on Isla Palenque by cultivating an organic farm right on the island! Besides, Isla Palenque is so conducive to growing things (and needs no help from sprays or pesticides) that it would be crazy not to do some organic farming on Isla Palenque.

[caption id="attachment_17418" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Photo by pretendtious on Flickr"]Organic farm, Isla Palenque[/caption]

And since we want ultra-fresh ingredients to be readily available for guests of the resort, an on-island organic farm makes perfect sense while also reducing the number of things we need to periodically have transported to Isla Palenque. Basically, the more we are able to grow for ourselves, the greener – and fresher – Isla Palenque dining experiences will be.

After doing extensive research on the principles of permaculture, as well as consulting experts such as John Douglas (aka “The Lazy Farmer”), we’re firming up our plans for the organic farm, meanwhile keeping an eye out for the person who will take the reins on this project. While we’re not expressly setting out to create a “permaculture farm” per se, we like the principles of permaculture and will be applying them where we can. In a lot of ways, permaculture principles are just plain common sense. If you’ve got a plant that produces shade, plant things that want shade next to it. Other plants work symbiotically, and when you understand this, all you need to do is plant them strategically to make use of these symbiotic relationships.

Simultaneously planning both the organic farm and the resort’s culinary offerings, we’re going to grow a sufficient variety of produce and herbs to allow for each menu item to incorporate ingredients from our own garden. The island naturally yields a number of delicious fruit varieties, and we’re also augmenting Isla Palenque’s native fruit offerings with help from the orchard we planted roughly three years ago. We’ll be repositioning these young fruit trees between buildings and adjacent to dwellings, allowing guests the luxury of convenient fruit-picking for an impromptu island snack whenever they feel like it.

The farm will start out as about a half-acre, to eventually become as large as 3 acres. Peppers, tomatoes, squash, melons, cucumbers, bananas, and papayas are among some of the things we’re thinking would be good to grow – with plenty of room for that list to expand.

The key crops will be the ones where that kind of off-the-vine freshness is important -- tomatoes, for instance – as well as those with great yield, such as herbs. For our reinterpretations of local dishes, we’ll be picking our own fresh culantro and basil to augment our island cuisine in the way most authentic to the region.

[caption id="attachment_17420" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Photo by Nick Saltmarsh on Flickr"]Chilis, organic produce[/caption]

We anticipate that guests of The Resort at Isla Palenque will appreciate knowing that their fresh fruits and vegetables came directly from the island that hosts them. Spending time on the island, exploring it, gives rise to a feeling of being intimately connected to your exotic surroundings – and continuing that feeling at mealtime seems a natural part of the experience we hope our guests will have on Isla Palenque.
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