Pumpkin Coconut Curry

Coconut Pumpkin Curry Recipe

Coconut Pumpkin Curry Recipe

It’s that time of year again – pumpkin season! There are so many hanging off vines around Taino Farm that I literally tripped over the rock solid, basketball-sized-landmind while i was wandering through the food forest the other day. The plant is used throughout the property as a living mulch and ground cover to keep the invasive African grass at bay. The best part about this nutrient rich gourd is that it offers a fast growing, energy rich source of food for our farmers.

We’re starting to get pretty creative with our pumpkin recipes. Everything from dips and salsas, to home made pumpkin pie in our sun oven. The most recent creation by Charlie and Ada is this beautiful pumpkin curry.

Pumpkin Coconut Curry:

Cook up one basketball sized pumpkin, stir in coconut milk, onions, garlic, curry powder, and tomatoes. Spice with chocolate habeneros and sea salt to taste. Serve with farm fresh eggs, arugula salad, and local bread!

Coconut Pumpkin Curry Recipe

Coconut Pumpkin Curry Recipe

Home Made Pumpkin Pie

Home Made Pumpkin Pie in our sun oven


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Organic Homemade Pesto from our Aquaponics Soilless Garden

Organic Homemade Pesto from our Aquaponics Soilless Garden

fresh basil

fresh basil in our aquaponics system


Basil pesto is one of those great tricks to have in your fridge at all times. Throw it on some quinoa, over a salad, or spread it on rice crackers with slices of turkey and cheese for a quick high protein snack. It packs so much flavor, it’s a great way to turn any bland meal into something amazing!

Right now we have heaps of basil growing in our aquaponics system. Stu showed me how to harvest it so that each basil plant will continue to produce optimal amounts of tasty little leaves. You cut the basil right above a two branch growth. You can cut two sections at a time. See photos below:

how to trim basil

trim basil above two sprouting branches

trimming basil from our aquaponics system

take 1 to 2 sections of growth

Once I harvested the basil I decided I would grab some mint to throw in a little extra flavor depth and keep it fresh. From there I took a look at what I had in my cupboard. I’m not a traditional recipe user, so I like to keep things simple by going off a basic “sauce” formula and applying what I know about traditional basil pesto.

Here is my basic sauce formula that I use for transforming any abundance of herbs into a something nice to have in the fridge that will last longer than the fresh leaves.

  • Raw garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar
  • Raw white onion
  • Herbs of choice
  • A touch of soya sauce
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Salt
  • A little spice

Traditional pesto ingredients:

  • Pine nuts
  • Basil
  • Sharp cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic

With these things in mind, I raided my cupboards and found the following ingredients:

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Sea salt
  • Hot sauce
  • Soya sauce
  • Walnuts
  • And of course Basil and mint
fresh basil at taino farms

LOTS of fresh basil 

fresh mint from taino farms

just a bit of fresh mint to add a little freshness

I threw it all into a blender and bam! Beautiful, healthy, green food!

organic pesto

Organic homemade pesto tastes better, is better for you, and is less expensive than store bought varieties

This recipe is slightly more economical and better for you than the traditional pesto that you buy in a grocery store. For starters the basil and mint are grown in a soilless aquaponics bed with absolutely 100{f2973bc577a195c35cdcad3730db5f6ced97ed67eb120151c538413472fe3d08} organic nutrients in the water. There is no cheese or large amounts of oil and salt. By adding vinegar, soya sauce and nutritional yeast, the flavors are accentuated and balanced. Instead of pine nuts which contain 85{f2973bc577a195c35cdcad3730db5f6ced97ed67eb120151c538413472fe3d08} fat, and 7{f2973bc577a195c35cdcad3730db5f6ced97ed67eb120151c538413472fe3d08} protein, I opted for walnuts which are slightly higher in protein at 8{f2973bc577a195c35cdcad3730db5f6ced97ed67eb120151c538413472fe3d08} and are not as pricey.

I hope you enjoy your new basil pesto ‘recipe’ and hopefully you will be inspired to get creative with other influxes of garden herbs.



How to Build a Slug Trap With Beer

1. Purchase beer.

2. Pour three glasses and distribute amongst your friends.

3. Drink the beer.

4. Grab a few plastic cups, the remainder of the beer, a spade or shovel, and a big smile and head outside

5. Dig a small hole and insert empty cup.

6. Fill cup to 2/3 with beer.

7. Repeat steps 5-7 in a variety of slug ridden areas to test.

beer slug trap

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The Creation of Place

It’s strange how a place can hold such strong meanings and possess a kind of personality for those that inhabit it or visit it. Or how a place that you’ve known for a mere fraction of your life can become seeped in nostalgia before you even realize that it had grown strings that are attached to your heart. What is it that makes these places stand out? What makes a place so special and so real in our minds? How does a place become one that cultivates love, nurturing, sharing, and growth? I read an interesting article recently about human beings’ search for meaning in life, and how those who possess a healthy curiosity for meaning live fuller lives than those who seek just happiness. So don’t listen to Kid Kudi when he goes on about that Persuit of Happiness shit. We all know it’s shallow.


When people come to the farm, it’s for a purpose greater than an afternoon thrill, or a night on the town. They generally want to find some intention in their work, their learning, and their experience on earth. There is a strong connection that you can feel in the air there and I got to spend my last visit enjoying the Finca for what it really is. Taking a note of my First Impressions for the fourth or fifth time, I was able to reconnect with the land and find new truth for the project and myself.

With so many people passing through in the last six months, it felt necessary to use this permaculture technique of simply observing my impressions free from judgment or immediate solution.

It’s undeniable; Finca Taina is a grounded place, one that dictates its wishes stronger even than those that are working it. Rain will be fickle and refuse to come, or the river will rise so high that it engulfs our riverside patio and denies access to tired farmers. This place can be challenging, unpredictable, and cranky, just like a kid that’s going through puberty.

taino farms

Over the last six months there have been a lot of people pouring their energy into the land. We have seen the establishment of an amazing food forest on the west side of the property. It is currently swallowing up our kitchen waste and pumping out lettuce greens, cerezas (a type of cherrie), hot peppers, and moringa and is promising to feed us yucca, black beans, and mangos in the near future. Across the roadway on the east side in the lower part of the property where water used to pool and stagnate in the rainy season, we’ve dug trenches and built raised garden beds and the beginnings of a utility structure that will be the host of much more great work to come. When I really chilled out and looked closely I saw dozens of little bees foraging all over the flowering cherrie bushes. Happy bees = lots of honey.


Cerezas growing in the food forest

It’s hard to express all the improvements at the farm, but lets just say that for each meal that I’ve eaten in the last month, probably 30{f2973bc577a195c35cdcad3730db5f6ced97ed67eb120151c538413472fe3d08} of the food has come from the Finca. In the three days that I was on the farm, probably 80{f2973bc577a195c35cdcad3730db5f6ced97ed67eb120151c538413472fe3d08} came from the land. Our quick trips to the colmado next store, are now only to stock up on onions, garlic, beer, and cheese. Not bad.

Taino Salad

A healthy salad made with fresh green peppers, tomatoes, onion, papaya, radishes, and cilantro. Serve with a vinaigrette dressing and enjoy with a cold glass of beer.

What really resonated with me was the immeasurable amount of energy and love that have gone into this piece of land. This is what gives it a strong sense of place and what makes the food grow. In just one afternoon, we harvested red leaf lettuce, fresh cilantro, green beans, green peppers, habenero peppers, and eggplant.

Taino Farms Annual Garden


The farmer’s footstep is the best fertilizer they say and I know it’s true. No matter what day I go there, I’m always greeted by the smiling faces and the steady pace of Victor, Juan, and Nao, our local team of full time farmers. These guys are awesome.


Thanks to all the hands that have put themselves into  energy a positive path for Finca Taina. The project has grown amazingly and is starting to find itself as it matures. It’s clearly a product of the quest for a stronger meaning in life. Those that visit the farm and have given a part of themselves to it will never loose that experience. It is sown in the earth and will continue to nurture life that is full of love, health, and intention.






“Sometimes you hear a voice through
the door calling you, as fish out of
water hear the waves, or a hunting
falcon hears the drum’s come back.
This turning toward what you deeply
love saves you.”
— Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

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How to Make Compost Tea

I’m a rooky when it comes to composting. I was brought up in a rural area in western Canada and I always understood that orange peels and paper towels went in the compost bin, but other than that basic knowledge, I never really understood what happened in that mountain of old food out back by the swing.

In recent years, I’ve started my own compost piles and plugged my nose in earnest as I did the bi-monthly compost container empty. A smelly compost bin? Sounds normal. But now that I’ve had the pleasure of studying under Tara, the resident soil food web expert and farm manager at Taino Farms, I understand that smelly compost means that the pile is turning ‘anaerobic’. I’m not going to over complicate my description of compost tea, because I’m not the expert. What I will do is present Tara’s expert description in the video below, and supplement the post with questions and answers that I’ve gotten from friends and family about the logistics of actually making this happen in your own back yard.

Q: What type of compost do you use in compost tea?

A: Healthy, cooked, aerobic compost. This means that it’s not just manure from cows or other animals that have been fed hormones or steroids. It is compost from a hot compost pile, which is broken down organic material that has been heated and turned according to regulations (5 times in 10-15 days).

Q: What is an anaerobic compost?

Anaerobic means that there’s non enough oxygen in the compost pile, so the beneficial air loving microbes are starting to die off. This most commonly happens if the material is cut up too fine, or there is too much high nitrogen material (food scraps, manure, and legumes) and not enough carbon material (brown and dry).

Q: So what is humic acid, and what is the difference between humic acid and compost tea?

A: basically when you pour water through compost passively, without agitating the water or compost mixture, humic acid is created. When you agitate the compost mixture and the water – that makes compost tea. Basically, the humic acid is the ‘food’ for microbes to feed on. While compost tea is the extracted microbes feeding on the humic acid and repopulating. When you agitate the bag you are pulling the microbes out of the compost, when not agitating you are pulling the humic acid out of the compost.

Not too sure how that magic works, but I believe it has something to do with a thing called science. All you need to remember, is to pour a little water passively through your compost mixture to make humic acid and to then add that to your bucket of water. Once you’ve done that, you can agitate your bags of compost into the bucket of water to make the compost tea. The humic acid is simply a preper.

Q: Can I make compost tea if I don’t have a bubbler?

A1: You can make your own bubbler out of a fish tank pump. Stay tuned on an instructional post on this topic in the future.

A2: If you don’t want to make your own bubbler, you can just massage/ agitate 3 – 6 bags of compost into your water, and immediately spray it on your garden. No need to wait. The biology of the compost tea wont be quite as primo when using this method, but it is still the most efficient way of spreading good microbes all over your garden beds.

That’s all for now, if you have any questions, please ask them below, or shoot us an email! We’ll get you connected with Tara for some awesome advice! Stay tuned for a blog from our expert titled “My Garden Bed is Better Than Yours”.