Get Inspired by these Belize Resorts’ Organic Gardens

by Carolee Chanona

As people picked up new hobbies while in self-quarantine, interest in gardening and farming experienced a boom. Developing a green thumb is a way to pass the time for some people, but others are using it as a comforting and sustainable way to provide easy access to fresh food. A personal garden can be a satisfying experience, with delicious perks. We challenge your green thumb to get inspired by these Belize resorts’ organic on-site gardens for your own fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and more!

Blancaneux Lodge

At Blancaneaux Lodge, the produce is truly local. Despite the challenges presented by gardening in Belize’s jungle, Francis and Eleanor Coppola feel that fresh, flavorful produce is worth the effort. “We want to offer our guests the best there is, and by growing it ourselves we can guarantee the quality,” says Francis. “Besides, what’s a good brick oven pizza without fresh basil?” Blancaneaux’s elevation and cool evening temperatures make it possible to grow a myriad of leaf lettuces, radishes, beans, carrots, and beets as well as fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, cilantro, and dill. The year-round growing season and careful crop rotation means there are always fresh tomatoes for salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and pastas.

Itz’ana Resort & Residences

Blue seas combine with green thumbs at Itz’ana Resort. Here, the distance from farm to table is just a few steps away!  Itz’ana aims to have most of the produce used in their kitchen harvested on-site. Additionally, organic produce is sourced from nearby local farmers as well as from the gardens of Ka’ana Resort, their sister property. This gardening system allows the chefs to create each meal lovingly, locally, seasonally, and sustainably.

Ka’ana Resort

It doesn’t get more local than homegrown. Delicious food and a healthy relationship with the environment are top priorities at Ka’ana Resort. Fusing a love for food and sustainability, their gorgeous two-acre organic resort garden inspires chefs with Belize’s organic produce. After all, fresh is best. While on-site, take a walk and explore the chicken coop, or meet sister goats Rhea and Ceres.

Ray Caye 

Damiano at Ray Caye

Self-sufficiency is a necessity at Ray Caye, a private island resort. And, its guests have managed to enjoy the fruits of its labor. With the help of their gardener, Damiano, and his green thumb, their organic garden boasts an impressive array. Their onsite restaurant, the Lionfish Grill, prepares tasty meals mostly using the local produce grown on the island. A three-bed expansion to the garden features cucumbers, cilantro, mint, sweet basil, African basil, tomatoes, and cabbage. Bok Choy, a favorite, continues to be grown from seeds donated by friends of the resort. Many repeat guests have not only brought seeds, but also useful tips to help Damiano along the way.

The Lodge at Chaa Creek 

With The Lodge at Chaa Creek, guided and self-guided tours wind gently above the bank of the Macal River past medicinal plants and fresh produce. Here, their 33-acre organic resort garden utilizes indigenous techniques within the Chaa Creek Reserve. Specifically, the farm integrates traditional Maya farming with more advanced systems of irrigated raised beds of composted soil, fed with nutrients derived from nature’s storehouse. Their method, a five-year rotation plan using Makuna beans and Lucina as nitrogen enrichers, focuses on subsistence farming for home use – like the Mayas – without costly chemicals.

All images courtesy of respective properties.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on April 28, 2020

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