An initiative of

Andres Nuñez

La Virgen

Hi, I'm Andres Nuñez and I grow organic pineapples for Nature & More in Costa Rica. Our company is called Finca La Virgen, after the nearest village. Thank you for buying our fruit!

We are located in the valley next to Volcano Poas, an active volcano. This area is characterized by tropical cloud forests interlaced with streams and waterfalls. This region is ideal for organic pineapple production. With an average temperature of 23 degree Celsius and no extreme fluctuations, we could not be in a better location. With regular rainfalls throughout the year totaling more than 5 meters we have no need for irrigation. Our deep volcanic soils are also an important asset, particular as the top layer is of a sandy clay, which allows water to drain easily. This is very important when growing pineapple, because the root system is very susceptible to decay when waterlogged.

Finca La Virgen is part of Dole Organic. It was founded in 1991 and comprises of more than 1,200 hectares. About 700 hectares are primarily planted with pineapples and few papayas, which are laid out in geometric patterns throughout the valley. About 450 hectares are set aside as a conservation area and 30 hectares along the riverbanks have recently been re-forested with native trees. The aim is to set an example in sustainable agriculture by demonstrating that organic pineapple production can be applied on a commercial scale without compromising the local flora and fauna.

 

Interview with Andres Nuñez

N&M: Converting 700 hectares to organic is quite an ambitious undertaking. What motivated you to do so?
Andres Nuñez: The conversion process has taken 19 years and has been quite exciting. A lot of trial and error has been involved as we tried to apply organic principles and techniques on a large scale. It was not easy, but with the pineapple industry in Costa Rica having such a bad reputation of being accused of causing erosion, deforestation and the destruction of wildlife habitat, we wanted to demonstrate that pineapple can be grown successfully in a sustainable manner. 

N&M: We understand that the soil conditions and the climate in this part of Costa Rica are indeed in favor of organic agriculture.  What are your most serious challenges? 
Andres Nuñez Our greatest challenge is to make sure that our fields contain sufficient drainage ditches to make sure that any excess water can run off easily.  This is particularly important as we experience more freak weather conditions due to climate change. 

N&M: In addition to growing organic pineapple in a responsible manner La Virgen offers tourists to visit their farm. 

Andres NuñezYes, these tours have become increasingly popular.  Visitors have an opportunity to learn about the history of pineapple and see for themselves how we cultivate it in a sustainable manner.  For many it is the first time to taste ripe pineapple.  We also let them know how to select the best pineapple in their local store. For us these tours are important because they provide our workers with valuable feedback about the work they are doing and they meet the people who consume our fruit.  Consumers learn about the work involved in organic pineapple production and they appreciate what we are trying to achieve here.  Last year we had over 20,000 people visit our farm.  We trust that they purchase our fruit wherever they are and that they tell their friends about it too. 

Recent comments

  • 5 months 2 weeks ago

    Your pineapple brightens the dark Irish winter!

  • 5 months 2 weeks ago

    We are grateful for your hard work. Sadly, the two pineapples from Nature and More that I bought from Denns in Germany were hard and underripe, not juicy and had no taste. We hope they will sell ripe pineapples in the future.

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1 Cent for the future

I’d like to thank you because besides providing you with a beautiful tropical fruit, your purchase is also contributing to the construction and support of a community center that benefits our employees. At the center they are enabled to do sports, work with computers and develop new skills which help them in both at work and at home. Through the Nature & More 1 cent for the future project you are directly supporting the center. That’s why you, the consumer, have our deepest appreciation. Muchas Gracias and Pura Vida (Pure Life)! Andres.

 

What am I growing?

Geolocation is 9.234797, -83.59346800000003

Sustainability flower

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Comments

Country: 
Germany

We are grateful for your hard work. Sadly, the two pineapples from Nature and More that I bought from Denns in Germany were hard and underripe, not juicy and had no taste. We hope they will sell ripe pineapples in the future.

Country: 
Ireland

Your pineapple brightens the dark Irish winter!

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