Villa Vanilla Spice Plantation Offers Tours And Tastings
Villa Vanilla, an organic spice farm near Quepos, Costa Rica, grows a wide variety of spice plants that are made into spices for cooking.
Villa Vanilla spice farm was founded in 1987 by Henry Karczynski. Twelve years prior, Karczynski served in the Peace Corps as a volunteer in agricultural development for non-government organizations. Karczynski’s experience in agricultural development inspired him to start a spice farm.
“I had no experience in operating a spice farm,” said Karczynski. “So I traveled to Madagascar and Mexico to experience vanilla production.”
Madagascar, Costa Rica and Mexico are some of only eight regions in the world that produce vanilla. Vanilla production is the second-most expensive spice flavoring agent due to the intensive labor and time consumption when processing and harvesting crops.
When Karczynski purchased the farm in Quepos, he transformed the farm using biodynamic cultural practices which benefits the environment. The farm is operated without using pesticides or chemical fertilizers and in 2010, Villa Vanilla became a certified biodynamic farm.
“Villa Vanilla is one of the only two places in the world where different varieties of quality organic spices are grown,” said Karcyznski.
Villa Vanilla spice plantation includes 27 acres of agriculture production and 125 acres of the rainforest. Karczynski produces major cash crops such a as vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa, black pepper, exotic fruits and medicinal plants.
Karczynski offers a two and a half hour plantation tour which includes a tasting of pastries and drinks. Ceylon cinnamon tea, vanilla cheesecake and ice cream, ginger cookies and hot chocolate are some of the offerings that tourists taste. After the tour, customers can purchase spices and vanilla extract.
“I enjoy what I do, and I am fortunate that it also affords me and my family a living,” said Karczynski. “Happiness and success are not defined by one’s amount of financial wealth.”
For more information about Villa Vanilla, visit www.rainforestspices.com.