Costa Rica’s hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, by the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, produces farm-to-table cuisine with fresh products from its ranch.
Article by Shannon Farley
Farm to table cuisine couldn’t be fresher at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, where most food products are picked, milked or produced daily on Hacienda Guachipelin’s farm – giving it the status of “zero-kilometer” food.
From lettuce, arugula and kale to rosemary, thyme and basil to fresh eggs, milk and cheese – Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin harvests fresh produce every day on their 138-year-old ranch.
The family-owned ranch has horses, cattle, pigs and chickens along with crop fields and fruit orchards on its 3,460 acres. Most of the fruit, vegetables, herbs, eggs, meat, milk and dairy products that guests enjoy in the hotel restaurant are produced onsite, which is why the cuisine tastes so fresh and delicious.
Like a fresh salad? Five varieties of lettuce, arugula, cucumbers, Tuscan kale, celery, green onions, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cilantro and bell peppers are grown in sun-warmed fields. In an aromatic spice garden, you can find dill, parsley, lemongrass, mint, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, ginger, oregano, and two kinds of basil.
Eggs come from 500 free-range chickens in a huge henhouse and yard. There are pigs raised for meat. Twenty milking cows produce 80 to 100 liters of fresh milk per day. Buckets of the steaming, frothy fresh milk are brought to the hotel restaurant kitchen for processing each morning. Kitchen staff makes 10 to 15 kilos of cheese and 2.5 kilos of sour cream every day. The restaurant also keeps almond milk and soy milk for persons with lactose allergies.
Coffee is being grown sustainably on a little less than two acres, mixed with coconut palms, avocadoes, plantains, corn, beans, pumpkins and sugarcane. Coming soon to Hacienda Guachipelin will be a coffee tour showing guests how coffee is grown and processed.
Besides creating freshly-made meals made with locally-sourced ingredients, in Hacienda Guachipelin’s restaurant sauces don’t come from a jar or can, bread is always hot out of the oven, and desserts are lovingly crafted by an on-site pastry chef. Breads and pizzas are baked in wood-burning ovens with wood harvested from the farm. The restaurant even has many gluten-free bread options, including gluten-free pizzas. Corn tortillas are handmade in the traditional Costa Rican style. Juices and marmalade jams are made from fruit grown on the ranch – oranges, lemons, guanabana, cas, and guavas. And drinking water at the hotel is natural spring water flowing on the property.
In addition to producing most of its own food, Hacienda Guachipelin operates sustainably by using solar energy and other high-tech systems to heat water, recycling and reutilizing water and waste, and many other environmental practices.
All liquid waste from the dairy – about 20,000 liters daily – is processed in an anaerobic digester that produces biogas for cooking in the kitchen and to pasteurize the milk. Hacienda Guachipelin composts the solid waste of farm animals, and kitchen scraps go both to compost and to feed the pigs.
Learn about ranch activities and try your hand at milking the cows during the Cowboy for a Day Tour at Hacienda Guachipelin. You can also enjoy eight different horseback riding tours at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin.