Here at Taino farms we have a great working relationship with the community and our local staff members. It is because of them that we are able to come to Los Brazos to work, learn, live, and integrate and because they mean so much to the success of the operation I wanted to show my appreciation in my own way.

 

Being a cook and food enthusiast I thought it appropriate to cook them an over the top meal.  Of course we are in their culture so the dish I decided to make for them had dominican flare.

 

Upon the farm we have an intricate aquaponics system running to produce certain foods in an organic and sustainable manner and one of the main proponents of that system in Tilapia. Tilapia byproducts become the food for the plants and the plants filter the water for the tilapia. It is an sustainable system that put Taino Farm ahead of others.

 

In celebration of both our staff and the products of this system I created baked tilapia filets, fish head soup with coconut bouillabaisse.

 

 

(for the full recipe please email me at tainofarm@gmail.com)

 

All parts of the tilapia were used and nothing was wasted in the creation of this dish. With any unused parts of the fish I made a simple fish broth in which we used to create future soups.

 

Inspiration for this meal comes from the local people of Los Brazos and the amazing system they help maintain that allows up a fruitful bounty. It is them we thank, them we celebrate and they who inspire things like this.  

What are plantains? This Caribbean staple is a member of the banana family. Green plantains are lower in sugar and starchier (read: not sweet!) than the traditional banana. They are a great source of dense carbohydrates, soluble fiber, vitamins, magnesium and potassium – nutrients that are essential in tropical climates as they help to restore electrolyte balance.

There are many ways to get plantains on your plate – grilled, baked, or fried. At Taino Organic Farm, our favorite combination is to serve garlic mangú topped with spicy scrambled eggs on a bed of freshly picked greens. The best part about this meal is that all of the ingredients can be found within steps of our sustainable farm’s kitchen!


Mangú Recipe

Ingredients- Serves 4

  • Green Plantains (2-3 per person)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 Cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 Cup chopped garlic chives
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 Cup raw milk
  • Salt to taste

Process:

  1. Slit sides of green plantains
  2. Boil plantains with the skin ON for 10 minutes or until skin is tender
  3. Carefully peel skin off plantains and slice into 1/4 inch pieces
  4. Continue to boil until soft
  5. Add garlic, onions, garlic chives, salt, butter, and raw milk
  6. Using a potato masher, blend all ingredients together to a creamy consistency

 Serving Suggestion: Top with local Dominican cheese and crispy onions. Enjoy your meal!

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Our Taino Farm style mangú on a bed of freshly picked greens with farm fresh scrambled eggs on top. Yum!

 

 

You know what’s definitely one of the most exciting things that I experience at the farm?

Breakfast time!

I absolutely LOVE everything about it. Even thinking about it while I’m writing this, I have the biggest smile on my face. I really wish there were more words to describe this feeling of pure happiness that comes from breakfast time here at Taino Farm.

So now imagine…

I wake up with the sound of roosters crowing and chickens clucking just before sunrise. This is also the time when the air is the coolest (for Caribbean standards anyway). The sound is also accompanied by a donkey’s HEE-HAW and the cows’ mooooos and the sheep’s baaaaas. Lying in bed listening to all of these farm noises is the first entertaining moment of the day. It simply makes me laugh to realize where I am. After this I’m ready to go and get ingredients for breakfast. No, not from a market, but right outside from our sustainable farm.

This morning just when I went out from our main house:

Donkeyboy
Now, let’s visit the chicken crib

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Chickens

Yep, looks good enough. Let’s get them eggggsss

Then, let’s pick up some dragon kale (also known as dinosaur kale or tuscan Kale)

Kalebed

aah…. Truly organic

We’ll add two types of mustard greens to spice things up (Tendergreen and Green Wave)

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And arugula

Arugula

 

Aaalright, so …

KalebowlChop, chop, chop it all up, add some onion, chives, and salt. Whisk, stir and vooooooilaaa!

Breakfast egg
Delicious, organic, homegrown scrambled egg & kale breaky

Okay, so the only thing that’s not organic is the bread.  But, hey, finding balance in life is what to strive for (as restricting something will make you crave it!)

Even the cheese is organic and homemade by our vecinos ( neighbours).

All of it is so rich in taste, it’s ridiculous. I mean, I feel like a big part of my life has been a lie (food wise!).

Just one last thing … I need some milk for coffee. So I run down the stairs and catch our staff member Victor who just milked one of his cows.

Freshmilk

Fresh as it gets, people!

You see how breakfast is not just breakfast anymore? So much excitement, appreciation and gratitude is involved. Since arriving here I’ve noticed being more present – I feel that connection with nature (and specifically food) that I missed so much. It’s this that is making me feel more alive every moment I’m here and getting me into the swing of farm life.

A beach paradise, a tropical bliss, an oceanfront eco hotel with an open air gym, circus and flying trapeze, tikihut yoga loft, kiteboarding, surfing plus nutritious, organic grown food from our Taino Farm in the mountains … river floats in crystal clear water between rolling green hills … simply endless possibilities of adventures. This place has everything that an active and health conscious person could wish for. Everything. It’s all here and I’m here.

Hey, I’m Sintija and I’m doing The Caribbean Internship where I live and work at The Extreme Hotel half the week and the other half here at Taino Organic Farm.

Our previous interns and guests have written beautiful articles about The Extreme Hotel on Kite Beach, Cabarete and Taino Organic Farm and have given an idea of how amazing these places are. But the thing is, there simply aren’t enough words to describe them. The REALITY is way cooler.

View of Kite Beach from the Extreme Hotel

View of a beautiful, tropical garden and Kite Beach from the Extreme Hotel

See what I’m sayin’…?

But it’s not only about the beautiful views.

To live in harmony with nature, to grow and eat REAL food from a sustainable farm, to combine your work with your passion – it’s pretty much a luxury these days!

Sweet Retreats circus camp practicing at Kaiceitos Circus at the Extreme Hotel

Sweet Retreats circus camp practicing at Kaiceitos Circus at the Extreme Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me taking a breather while working in the garden

Me taking a breather while working in the garden

I arrived here recently and everything is new and fascinating to me, so I’ll be posting weekly blogs with photos of what I see, learn and do.

Follow me on this exciting journey on and around the farm and hotel, discover eco-tourism activities with me, learn from step-by-step DIY photo guides about sustainable farming, find simple nutrition facts about our produce, read about my eye opening realizations that come from interesting conversations with the farm community, look into our everyday farm and beach life and endless adventures!

One of the cabañas in the trees at Taino Organic Farm

One of the cabañas in the trees at Taino Organic Farm

Get inspired, don’t be afraid of change, find your way back to nature and let’s make this off the grid lifestyle mainstream 🙂

Life on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic is pretty good. There is a little bit of everything for everyone here. The countryside is lush and the beaches are beautiful. I personally love going from our little tropical sustainable farm to the tourist haven of Cabarete. Here at the farm, we tend to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.  It’s sort of like back to the basics – farm, harvest, read, learn, share meals and enjoy communal living. The stress level couldn’t be any lower, really. When need be, a quick trip across to the other side and we have it all; good waves, wind almost any given day, parties, fancy restaurants, tons of good people and loud noises.

It’s in our human nature to pick and choose what we enjoy in life.  Different people make for different lifestyles. I personally enjoy a balance in between these two environments and love observing how it affects my personal well-being and the people around me.

Me harvesting arugula

Me harvesting arugula

View from Extreme Hotel on a beautiful windy day. Only one person on the water.

View from Extreme Hotel on a beautiful windy day. Only one person on the water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other day as I came back to the farm after spending a few days at the Extreme Hotel on Kite Beach, Cabarete, I was doing some catching up on the farm life with our lovely and down to earth Farm Coordinator Rhianna. Rhi spends most of her time here at the farm because she truly enjoys every minute of it. It doesn’t mean that you won’t find her out occasionally dancing bachata till 4 in the morning, but the farm is where she calls home.

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Kale seeds and Rhi watering the garden

People that have chosen the farm lifestyle are not by any mean different than others but let’s say that they do tend to enjoy different things in life …  As we were chatting about what needed to be done for the next few days all of a sudden Rhi got really excited and announced that we had just received brand new cow manure for our garden beds and food forest. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing. It was adorable. Rhi was talking about cow poo the way some girls would talk about a new shoe collection or fancy handbags. Yup, the simple pleasures of life, I said. And then she laughed, not even realizing how excited she sounded speaking about this natural fertilizer.

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Look at all that beautiful cow manure!

Times are good at the farm and so are the fruits of our labours.  Life breathes here in its most simple form. Every moment is perfect. Thanks for the reminder Rhi.

-written by J-S L’Heureux, farm/hotel intern