How to Live a Self-Sustainable Lifestyle in Costa Rica

Living a more sustainable existence is a growing movement around the world; especially in modern times with so much wasteful pre-packaged goods and food products.  A self-sustainable lifestyle in Costa Rica is not the answer for all, but a select bunch will find their own piece of paradise and be able to virtually live off the land.  Joshua Kanter of United Country – Properties in Dominical discusses this eco-minded trend in the Southern Pacific Zone of Costa Rica.

Playa Dominical, Costa Rica (PRWEB) November 14, 2012

The planet’s population is growing at an alarming rate and there simply will not be enough resources for the future generations.  Therefore there has been a collective shift by many towards sustainability and causing less environmental impact.

-World population reached 7 billion on October 31, 2011 and is estimated to reach 8 billion by 2030 (wikipedia.org)
-Water scarcity affects one in three people on every continent of the globe (World Health Organization)
-The world’s richest countries make up only one-fifth of global population but account for 45% of all meat consumption, 58% of total energy use, 84% of paper use, and 87% of vehicle ownership. (United Nations Development Programme – undp.org)

Joshua Kanter of Dominical Property a local Costa Rica real estate and property management company, shares his perspective of this current and growing market:

Many of our clients today are looking for a home with acreage or large ocean view property with its own water source and land capable of providing fresh organic fruits and vegetables.  If a property can also support chickens or even some livestock, plus has an ample creek to make a Tilapia pond; then it becomes even more desirable among these types of customers.  We have even seen buyers on a budget create a sustainable lifestyle with an affordable home on a couple acres or turning some raw usable land into a personal producing farm

The Southern Pacific Zone of Costa Rica still has pristine rain forest and is teaming with wildlife, therefore eco-minded tourists and investors are logically drawn to this area.  This current trend is driving sustainable development projects such as; Osa Mountain Village which is a residential community that will have sharing of fruit and vegetable crops, as well as, poultry and Tilapia.  This model of development has potential in Costa Rica and around the world as resources become more and more scarce

Although escaping to Costa Rica’s tropical shores may not be for everyone; it is a realistic and viable option for those that seek a simpler life with less of an ecological footprint.

Contact:
Joshua Kanter, Agent
United Country – Properties in Costa Rica.
Website: http://www.DominicalProperty.com
Blog: http://www.DominicalProperty.WordPress.com/
Toll Free: 1-888-679-1227

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Mamones Farm – Field of Dreams

About 40 minutes South of Dominical in San Buenas, Cortes there is a huge Mamones farm we like to visit to pick fresh Mamones.  It is lots of fun to bring the whole family and get as much as you can eat to last a week, not to mention filling up while you are picking them right off the tree.

The Mamone is a golf ball sized fruit with red peal and soft spikes also called Lechies in Asia.  Inside is a grape like substance that is clearish-white in color around a small pit.

We have been going to this particular farm for a few years and they sell us the best Mamones in the entire Southern Zone of Costa Rica, in my opinion.  Most all their trees are grafted (which we discussed in an earlier blog on Planting Fruit Trees) so they fruit while they are still young and low to the ground.

First the local farmer cuts down the fruit for us to gather.

We fill our sacks and bags, all the while stuffing ourselves with all you can eat smorgasbord.

Then we haul our “cosecha” or harvest to where the farmer weighs how much we gathered.  We used to go to a farm that was hilly terrain years ago, but this one is all flat and much better fruit.

He weighs the sacks and bags full of Mamones and we pay by weight.

Then we load up our goody bags and go home to eat Mamones for a week or in our case a weekend!  One of the many perks of living in paradise; fresh exotic fruits year round due to varying seasons for each kind!!

Planting Fruit Trees

Now you have a home and property or even a lot ready to build, and want to plant some flowers and fruit trees.  This is one of the best aspects of living in such a tropical environment, you can usually literally cut off a branch and stick it in the ground and it will grow.  You will notice driving down the road though out the country, some of the fence posts have started growing branches and become trees again!  It really is amazing how easy it is to have a green thumb here and fun to watch your plantings grow.  Everyone wants their own garden and most of all their own fruit trees.

It is a good idea to plant your fruit trees as soon as possible, as they can take years to fruit.  Planting a seed or cutting it can take over 2 years for a pineapple, 5 years for a mango tree, and 6 years or more for an avocado tree.  However, there are grafted trees of almost everything you can buy for $3 to $10 depending on type and size and they can fruit in 3 years and sometimes less.  I have even seen mini orange and lemon trees with fruit already on them!  Also have seen a mango tree with 3 different types of mangos grafted on the same tree!!  This is the way to go to guarantee the quality of fruit and shorter time period for your first harvest or “cosecha”.

Grafted Orange Tree with Fruit Already!!

The best time to plant in the Southern Zone is May through August.  May is when the rains start and you want plenty of water for the trees to grow string healthy roots.  August is not too late, but still best to plant earlier in the rainy season.  If you can easily water the trees, then you can even plant in the dry season.  Make sure you pick a spot with plenty of sunshine and space for them to grow.  It is recommended at least 5 meters or 15 feet apart so they can grow unobstructed and do not fight for the sun light.  Sometimes the grafted trees do not grow as tall or wide as trees from seed, but if you have enough land it is best to give each tree its proper space.

There is basically every kind of tropical fruit here available and even some exotic fruits not so common in the States, Canada, or Europe.  The common fruits of mangos, avocados, oranges, lemons, bananas, platanos, papaya, pineapple, watermelon, and cantaloupe are everywhere and readily available.

Mango Trees are Common Everywhere

Some more exotic fruits you can find at “viveros” or nurseries are:

Guanabana – Big green fruit with little soft spikes and white fleshy fruit inside that is really sweet and great for smoothies.

Guava – What they call guava here grows in a pod on a tree and has a hard husk, inside are black seeds covered in a white fruit that tastes like a cotton ball dipped in sugar water.

Guayaba – This is what we call guava in the States and is the fruit they make jellies and jams out of and here locals eat it like an apple straight off the tree.

Mangostien – This is th slowest growing tree of all and can take 15 years to fruit for the first time.  The fruit turns dark purple when ripe and is a white snotty looking fruit inside, but is actually sweet and tasty.

Mature Mangostein Tree

Momones – Red and yellow golf ball size fruits with soft spiked peel and inside is a white/clearish fruit with the consistency of a grape around a small pit.  These are some of my favorites and they sell them in bags along the road when in season from July to October.

Grafted Momone Tree 3 years old and Fruiting

Zapote – This one I have not tried, but it is an orange fruit inside and some people really like it.  Will have to try it next time it is in season.

Cashews – I had never seen a cashew on a tree until moving here and they grow on top of an apple looking fruit and you have to roast the seed and then crack it and get out the part out you eat.  The seed shell secretes oil that can chemically burn your skin.  It is very hard to get even a bag full and now I know why this nut is so expensive around the World!

If you do not have a place to plant, we can help you find the right home or property to plant your fruit orchard.  If you already have a home or land, we can even recommend where to purchase the best grafted fruit trees and help you get them planted as one of our property management services.  Get started planting your favorite trees and enjoy the satisfying feeling of eating your own freshly picked fruit!!

Local Farmer’s Markets

The local farmer’s market is a weekly event that most residents and locals alike look forward to.  Every Thursday and Friday in San Isidro and every Saturday in Uvita, one can stock up of fresh fruits and vegetables from an assortment of local area farmers.  There is everything imaginable and even an organic fruit section; which is very popular and best to go on Thursday morning for more selection.   At the San Isidro market or “Feria” there is even fresh meats, cheeses, yogurts, plus jellies and jams.  Farmers bring their fresh harvest or “cosecha” from all over the surrounding countryside and are very proud to offer some of the best tasting and freshest fruits and veggies you can find anywhere.   The prices are also very affordable with some common items listed below:

Pineapples – $2.00 for 3 or 4 (depending on size)
Mangos – $0.90 per pound
Papayas – $0.36 per pound
Apples – $0.20 each
Mandarin – $0.10 each
Lettuce – $0.50 each
Sweet Chiles – $0.30 each
Potatoes – $1.00 per pound
Onions – $1.20 per pound
Tomatoes – $0.75 per pound

Weekly Farmer’s Market in San Isidro

Fresh Local Fruit and Vegetables

The weekly Farmer’s Market is one of the many perks to living in Costa Rica and not matter where you are in Costa Rica you should be able to find a similar open air weekly market.  The price and quality of the produce is not the only draw because spending time experiencing the local community and atmosphere also adds to the pleasure of visiting the “Feria”.