SHARON MAEHL

By Staff

Report From Them That’s Doin’

Now that we’re settled on our homestead here in Costa Rica
and have some time for something other than coffee picking
and gardening, I thought I’d drop you folks a line.

It’s the rainy season now so we have all the natural
irrigation we can use . . . and more. Our gardens are
planted and we’ve been eating fresh carrots, peas, lettuce
and garlic for a while now and there’s still much more to
come yet.

A while back we bought an old gray mare for $20 and she
helps us get our main crop–coffee–to market.
It’s a shame that we have to sell all our delicious
organically grown beans to the big-money coffee people.
We’re frantically trying to rustle up a way to sell direct
to folks in the States–perhaps to communes or some
such–and ship them by land or water. (Air freight
costs are about $1.00 a pound . . . obviously impractical.)

Another family is expected to join us soon and by spring
we’ll be farming our 15 1/2, acres cooperatively, It’ll be
wonderful to have a few friends nearby to share all the fun
(and all the work, too).

Since arriving in Costa Rica, we’ve been corresponding and
swapping seeds and warm weather farming information with
some folks we’ve met through CONTACT. They’ve been a great
help to us since the information in most organic gardening
magazines and articles we’ve found is pertinent to
temperate climates only. There is, however, an excellent
book on tropical small farming called THE FARMER’S
S
GUIDE, available through the Jamaica Agricultural
Society. It touches on everything from livestock to cover
crops to good varieties of vegetables for our climate. Best
of all its emphasis is on organic methods and chemicals are
given little mention. We’ve read and researched every book
on tropical agriculture we could get our hands on, and this
one is the best by far. We hope to write about some of our
own experiments and adaptations, and will send them along
once we’re sure they work.

As soon as we can get it together, we’ll send you a sample
of our very own homestead-produced, roasted and packed
coffee beans. Until then, thank you for the help you’ve
been to us. If it hadn’t been for those first few hopeful
issues our family would still be in Boston, thinking the
big move wasn’t practical.