HomeFreelancingThis Sustainable Farm in Puerto Rico Lets You Milk Goats

This Sustainable Farm in Puerto Rico Lets You Milk Goats


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Take pleasure in a scrumptious farm-fresh lunch and join with nature, the land and animals on this sustainable Puerto Rico farm tour and agritourism venture at Frutos del Guacabo.

Three goats behind a wooden fence at Frutos del Guacabo a farm in Puerto Rico.
Friendy goats at Frutos del Guacabo in Puerto Rico. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

As a LaMancha dairy goat named Chimbi munches on a mixture of honey-sweetened oats, corn and alfalfa, I place my thumb and forefingers collectively and pinch the highest of her teat the place it meets her udder.

Then, with my different hand, I work the nice and cozy, frothy milk out of the teat and right into a silver jug whereas she’s distracted.

Writer Jennifer Bain milks a goat named Chimbi during a farm tour.
Author Jennifer Bain milks a goat named Chimbi at Frutos del Guacabo. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain).

Whereas I really feel like I’ve a knack for milking, I don’t have the endurance for it. So I flip issues again over to Jezmuel Robles.

He can milk a goat double-handed in simply a few minutes flat at Frutos del Guacabo (Google Map), his household’s farm on the northern coast of Puerto Rico west of San Juan.

Jezmuel Robles milks goat named Chimbi.
Jezmuel Robles milks a goat named Chimbi. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

Native Lunch on the Farm

As an alternative, I wash my fingers and take my place on hay bales for a really farm-to-table lunch starring finger-sized slices of goat’s milk queso fresco.

They’re on a plate surrounded by home made marmalades (tomato and mango), confit tomatoes, candied orange peel and a freshly picked ardour fruit that has been sliced in half.

Alongside this gorgeous plate — which has been garnished with 4 sorts of edible flowers —there’s much more meals.

Pickled lipstick peppers full of goat cheese. Sautéed bok choy. Hen longaniza (a neighborhood sausage) that has been thickly sliced and pan-fried.

Lunch is served on a white plate at Frutos del Guacabo farm.
A farm-fresh feast served at Frutos del Guacabo. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

Blue tortilla chips. Flan brulée topped with lime zest will full the meal.

Every part I’m about to eat is created from components which have been grown proper right here or close by.

It’s all been made within the farm’s tiny kitchen or by small native companies.

I’ve spent greater than 25 years writing about meals, testing recipes and authoring cookbooks. I relish any likelihood to get to the supply of my meals.

Right here in Puerto Rico for a Society of American Journey Writers (SATW) conference, I needed to see this sustainable farm making a reputation for itself.

So I took a 35-minute Uber trip from San Juan to Manatí for a farm tour.

A Farm to Desk Eco-Expertise 

Co-founder Efrén Robles on the entrance gate. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

Frutos del Guacabo runs excursions on daily basis besides Sunday. The excursions price $40 USD, final about 2.5 hours and should be booked upfront.

Visits to what they name the vegetable/herb backyard and hydroponic, microgreen and edible flower “canopies” are interspersed with drinks, treats and a tapas-style lunch and interactions with the livestock.

“We name the expertise a sensory one,” explains Efrén Robles.

“You scent, you style, you perceive.”

Historical past of Frutos de Guacabo Farm 

Stand up near the vegetation rising at Frutos del Guacabo. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

Born and raised in Manatí, Robles is an industrial mechanic. He labored with purified water methods earlier than co-founding the farm in 2010 together with his chemist spouse Angelie Martinez.

Their sons Adrian Rivera and Jezmuel Robles assist them run it. Carlos Prieto handles customer support and excursions.

What started as a small farm to develop hydroponic merchandise is now a licensed sustainable farm and agritourism vacation spot with an academic mission. It provides about 200 of the island’s accommodations and eating places.

Puerto Rico, Robles laments, imports about 85 per cent of its meals.

If there’s one factor that Hurricane Maria, earthquakes and the pandemic have taught him, it’s that “you must be nearer to the meals supply.”

A few of their restaurant shoppers have gone from sourcing eight per cent of components regionally to purchasing nearly 85 per cent right here on the island.

Adrian Rivera makes papaya and passionfruit marmalade in a large pot.
Adrian Rivera makes papaya and passionfruit marmalade. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

Frutos del Guacabo sits on simply half an acre of land. And with the a number of different close by small plots of land all of it provides as much as two acres.

“Frutos” means fruit and “Guacabo” was a neighborhood Indigenous chief.

The identify “fruit of the chief” is a nod to the truth that the Taino folks (the
island’s Indigenous folks) had been as soon as farmers. 

I’m welcomed with a bowl of sliced fruit — mango, starfuit and guava — and a glass of recent watermelon juice.

Robles reveals off a mural painted on an out of doors wall.

Impressed by his nephew Sebastian Rodriguez who’s on the autism spectrum, the mural provides an inventive tackle photosynthesis.

The art work demonstrates the method by which vegetation use daylight to make their very own meals and develop.

Get Impressed by Sustainable Farming and Dwelling

Carlos Prieto in the greenhouse at Frutos del Guacabo.
Carlos Prieto within the greenhouse at Frutos del Guacabo. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

Subsequent, Prieto walks me up and down the driveway, mentioning the vegetation that develop on both facet of it and telling tales about every.

This training space “reveals folks issues they’ll do at residence and learn how to truly develop their very own residence gardens.”

There are papaya, pomegranate and acerola (Caribbean cherry) timber, makrut lime vegetation, ginger, amaranth, curry leaves, eggplants, shishito peppers, turmeric, tarragon, oregano, lemongrass, Thai basil and extra.

As Prieto explains, some issues — like lime and curry leaves — aren’t native. However they’re components that cooks need to work with.

Recyling, Repurposing and Innovating

Tires repurposed into planters.
Tires are repurposed into planters. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

Tires that double as plant pots leap out as one thing uncommon.

“We inform folks to make use of previous tires to plant the tree in. Why? As a result of we’ve got an issue recycling tires on the island. We don’t know what to do with previous tires,” explains Prieto.

“On this case, after we know a tree won’t develop for instance as massive as a mango tree and will likely be extra like a bush, a tire can be utilized to guard the tree.”

Tires may also be used as planters to develop issues like ginger. 

In between the soursop tree and the corazon (candy apple) tree, Rivera wanders over with an avocado sorbet paired with goat milk ice cream.

This dish is sprinkled with caramelized passionfruit seeds and offered with a guava cookie.

The serving cup and cutlery are compostable.

A red edible flower in a outstretched hand.
Edible flowers garnish the foods and drinks in eating places in San Juan. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

Discuss turns to the edible flowers grown right here that garnish the cocktails and dessert plates of San Juan.

We admire the showy crimson hibiscus and linger over the top-selling blue butterfly flower (aka blue pea).

Throw this flower in with rice or pasta whereas cooking and your meals will flip a stunning shade of blue!

🌟 Foodie Tip: You can too attempt blue butterfly flowers in Grenada! A prime factor to do in Grenada is to sip blue tea throughout Afternoon Tea at Tower Property.

“This property is simply over half an acre,” Prieto says. “The message to our guests is that you simply don’t want numerous house, you don’t want an enormous yard. Simply determine what you need to develop and arrange your house.”

Store for Native Merchandise on the Farm Retailer

Locally produced honey in the farm store.
Regionally produced honey within the farm retailer. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

The farm’s small retailer sells fruit and veggies, but additionally showcases merchandise made close by.

Small-batch Doña Lola blue tortilla chips are made in Caguas. These guava cookies served with the avocado sorbet are known as palitos de guayaba (guava sticks) and made by Enhorabuena Dulzuras in Bayamón.

Malanga (taro) flour comes from Eco Finca SOREC in Vega Baja. Longaniza comes from Alcor Meals in Bayamón. 

Hydroponic Meals in Demand by Cooks 

Hydroponic greens at Frutos del Guacabo.
Hydroponics at Frutos del Guacabo. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

The following a part of the tour occurs in the back of the lot the place the goats stay and the place the hydroponics operations occur.

It’s right here the place employees start their days snipping flowers, herbs and microgreens and packing them in bins to be delivered to cooks.

We stroll up and down rows of microgreens, admiring all the pieces from arugula and watercress to kale and basil.

Greater than 1,000 folks come on farm excursions every year. Some are despatched by cruise ships and native accommodations. Others, like me, are on their very own.

Locals drop by to buy and calm down with the animals.

There’s one horse, 50 goats and a pen filled with rabbits whose manure is used to make compost.

Every goat, by the way in which, produces about two litres of milk a day.

They stay in a big pen the place they’ll keep sheltered or discover a limestone karst panorama often known as “el carso norteño.”

Advantages of Sustainable Tourism 

Adrian Rivera serves avocado sorbet.
Adrian Rivera serves avocado sorbet. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

Whereas I watch for my Uber again to town, Robles returns for a last chat.

He’ll be on a sustainable tourism panel at my convention, however needs to say that he hopes extra folks begin producing meals.

“Persons are travelling to eat, to grasp meals,” he says. “I’m a foodie. I journey to grasp cultures via the meals lens, in order that’s why we’re attempting to supply.”

These caramelized passionfruit seeds that topped my avocado sorbet and goat milk ice cream?

That’s one thing folks sometimes throw away. However a part of being sustainable, Robles proudly factors out, is attempting to make use of 90 to 100 per cent of each product that comes via your door.

Farming is a win/win for everybody, he concludes.

A greenback spent in the neighborhood has a much bigger impression than a greenback spent at Walmart. The island strikes away from importing meals and nearer to meals safety. Individuals get entry to more healthy, extra fascinating components.

Cooking Class in San Juan 

 Chef Stephanie Haddock cooking at Atelier at Cocina Abierta.
Chef Stephanie Haddock cooking at Atelier at Cocina Abierta. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

Talking of fascinating meals, my Uber trip takes me straight to one of many farm’s clients — Cocina Abierta, a sublime restaurant in Previous San Juan.

The SATW journey author’s convention has organized for a Puerto Rican cooking class within the restaurant’s non-public occasion house, Atelier at Cocina Abierta.

Chef Stephanie Haddock demonstrates dishes together with mofongo (created from inexperienced plantain which might be fried and mashed with different components), roast pork (marinated in annatto oil) and rice with pigeon peas.

🌟 Professional Tip: Not like mangu, a conventional dish within the Dominican Republic, mofongo is made with fried, somewhat than boiled plantain.

Throughout our cooking class there isn’t a lot precise cooking. However we perform a little prep work after which calm down over a feast.

Bartender Marco Rodrigez at Atelier Cocina Abierta making a cocktail.
Bartender Marcos Rodríguez makes a specialty cocktail at Atelier at Cocina Abierta. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

To accompany our meal, Bartender Marcos Rodríguez makes an excellent cocktail known as El Recado utilizing native craft white rum, ginger, mango, lime and recao.

Often known as culantro, recao tastes like a cross between cilantro and cumin.

It’s, in fact, grown at Frutos del Guacabo.

When it comes time to garnish my portion of tembleque, a coconut milk pudding that’s often simply dusted with cinnamon, I attain for the edible flowers from Frutos del Guacabo and enjoy a last farm-to-table second.

Planning Assets for this Puerto Rico Farm Tour 

Three goats at the Frutos del Guacabo Farm Tour.
Bond with the lovable goats and different livestock. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

Frutos del Guacabo Farm Tour in Puerto Rico: Excursions should be booked upfront. Make reservations through e-mail: guacabo.excursions@gmail.com or cellphone: (787) 884-4216.

Comply with Frutos del Guacabo Farm on Instagram and Fb.

Getting There: The one-way fare on Uber is approx. $26 USD (excluding gratuity) from Previous San Juan to Frutos del Guacabo (Google Map).

Official Tourism Web site: Uncover Puerto Rico

Automotive Rental: It’s price renting a automobile for those who’re planning on taking extra farm excursions in Puerto Rico or exploring island points of interest corresponding to El Yunque Nationwide Forest.

Discovercars.com is an internet automobile rental reserving website that compares charges from a number of firms to search out one of the best deal.

Verify for one of the best automobile rental charges at Discovercars.com

Different Puerto Rico Agritourism Excursions

Another choice is to take a small-group agritourism tour that features pick-up and drop-off at your resort. You’ll get an intro to farming practices and discover past Puerto Rico’s seashores and historic zone.

This Puerto Rico Agritourism Tour begins with sightseeing via Previous San Juan, adopted by a tour of a farming facility (NOT Frutos del Guacabo), a swim on the pure swimming pools of Charco Frio and a cease for a standard Puerto Rican lunch (meal further price).

Verify costs and availability of an Agritourism Tour on Viator.com.

Extra Caribbean Meals and Journey Inspiration

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Collage of goats and edible flowers in Puerto Rico.



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