How to Start an Organic Farm in Ecuador
The Organic Life in Ecuador
Have you ever daydreamed about having a little slice of property? Eating fresh carrots from your garden? Picking fresh mint for your tea? If you are relocating to Ecuador, you are entering one of the most fertile, friendly regions in the world for organically grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Working with an organization like EcuadorHomesandLand™ can help you locate the best property, find workers to help plant, and begin this next step of your life.
The Land, Soil and Climate in Ecuador
If you want to grow crops, the first thing to investigate is the land on the property. What is the soil quality? Ideal farming soil must be rich with nutrients, which we have plenty of here. The land is seeped with local, natural ingredients. If you want extra help preparing the land, you can work with your real estate agent to find a crew of skilled workers. Clearing the plot can be the most difficult part, but it is essential to do this correctly. Whether you’re just making a small greenhouse to protect tomatoes, or you’re clearing a larger area for rows of lettuce, Swiss chard, and Lacinato kale, you will have to tend to the soil first.
After your soil is ready, you can rely on the perfect weather in Ecuador to help grow just about any crop. The environment is one of the best incentives to relocate here. The days rotate between cool, misting rain and warm, sunny afternoons. Being so close to the equator means that Ecuador doesn’t experience extreme temperatures. The entire country also always enjoys 12 hours of daily sunlight. Natural landscapes are full of creeks, rivers, and ponds, and it is relatively simple to divert water to help your crops grow. The rain helps many crops grow well, but just make sure you investigate how much water your crops require and decide whether or not to build a small shelter, like a greenhouse, for some of the more delicate plants like heirloom tomatoes.
Best Plants to Grow in Ecuador
One of the best things about farming in Ecuador is the diversity of vegetables, herbs and fruits you can grow here. Most seeds endemic to North America or Canada can grow well here. Much depends on the region where you live. Ecuador has four distinct regions, each with its own unique climate. Citrus fruits tend to do better in the coastal climates. In the Sierra, tree tomatoes, granadilla, and leafy greens flourish abundantly.
One tip is to look at the growing conditions on the seed packets and determine the best kind of climate in which they thrive. For example, basil can first be grown indoors and then transferred to warm, well-saturated soil outside. It needs ample water to grow. Heirloom tomatoes, however, do better in tall, enclosed spaces, like a greenhouse, where their foliage can stay dry. The drier climate protects the plants from disease. As you get started, you will find lots of planting and farming experts in Ecuador; they can impart their wisdom and share tricks of the trade as you’re deciding what you want to grow.
Ecuador Organic Farming Market
Whether you’re growing vegetables, herbs and fruits for yourself, for family and friends, or for commercial business, there are many opportunities in the agricultural markets of Ecuador. Within the cities and towns, there are lots of commercial markets where local vendors sell their fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and fish. However, most expats tend to set up small business that caters to the expat community; they often become part of a fair or market circuit. One of the keys to commercial success is figuring out what specialty items are missed from the States or Canada. These items typically include heirloom tomatoes, goat cheese, kale or rhubarb. If you have the land, seeds, time (and goats) to cultivate items like these, there is a definite market.
Many vendors advertise on Facebook group pages, websites for expats (like GringoPost in Cuenca), or in online publications. Pricing depends on your demographic, but restaurants as well as individual buyers often purchase specialty items, and so you can price it according to demand. Learn about the market in your area, possibly before even planting your seeds, to better cater to your demographic. Of course, if your crops are just for you and your family, enjoy! You’ll find neighbors coming around more and more to sample your delicious foods.
If this farming dream appeals to you, you can talk to a real estate agent to locate property with fertile soil, water resources, and an excellent climate. John Vollmecke of EcuadorHomesandLand™ has lots of property in the coastal and interior regions. He can help you find a property with land for farming, as well as connect you to his team of workers who have experience with growing crops in Ecuador. It is an amazing thing to watch young seedlings grow from the earth to feed your friends and family. Homegrown, organic vegetables, fruits and herbs are just a few short months away!