Finca Santa Marta – An Organic Finca in Panama

Organic farming in Panama

Sweet Potatoes November 16, 2011

Filed under: Sweet Potatoes — Ron Miller @ 12:58 pm

Chu Harvesting Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are very high in beta-carotene which is  converted in the body to Vitamin A. Since this is a  fat-soluble vitamin, a small amount of fat, such as butter, helps the body absorb this vitamin.

Potassium is very high in sweet potatoes and it’s the third most abundant mineral in the body. Used in maintaining good health in the heart, muscles, kidneys, brain and more. Stress uses this mineral up so continued replacement is very important.

Be sure and eat the skins, when possible. Most of the healing properties are in the skin and just under the skin.

The glycemic index (how quickly the body converts the food to glucose) is almost half of white potatoes. It is 17 as opposed to 29. This makes it a much better choice for diabetics.

So the bottom line is, eat more sweet potatoes. They taste great and are really good for you! Baked or boiled, they are a great addition to your diet.


Lemon Dijon Mustard Kale Salad June 19, 2011

Filed under: Greens — kimlmiller @ 11:35 am

This salad has become one of my favorites because it tastes great and it allows me to eat kale raw, which retains many of it’s nutrients.  The dressing for this salad is very flavorful and can also be used as a salad dressing on lettuce salads.  For this reason, when I make this dressing, I have started tripling the quantities and keeping the extra in the refrigerator.  Other greens, such as spinach can be added or substituted and some shredded carrots or diced red pepper would be an attractive addition to this salad as well.  Enjoy eating your greens!

1 Bunch Kale – Dinasour or other                           1 1/2 Tbsp pine nuts

Mustard Lemongrette

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil                                     1 Tbsp light miso

2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice                        2 tsp minced red onion or scallion

2 tsp agave syrup                                                       1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp salt                                                                   Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Combine all of these ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Remove the stem that runs down the center of the kale stem.   Then tear the kale into pieces in a large bowl.  Pour the dressing over and massage it into the kale with your hands for a few minutes.  After a short time, the kale will take on a “cooked” appearance and will reduce in volume.

To serve, mound each serving onto a plate and  garnish with pine nuts.

This recipe comes from the book “The Raw Food Revolution Diet” by Cherie Soria, Brenda Davis, and Vesanto Melina.


Sprouting at the Farm December 6, 2010

Filed under: Sprouts — Ron Miller @ 11:31 am

Kim proudly displaying the 4 different varieties of seed she has sprouted to sell at the “Tuesday  Market” in Boquete, Panama.  Happy customers grabbed them all up and the sprout division of Finca Santa Marta was born.  Look forward to growing other varieties like sunflower seed and bigger quantities.

The blend on the platter I’m holding is red clover, fenugreek and radish sptouts (It’s my favorite, the seeds are larger and I just enjoy watching it grow); then there are 2 plates of alfalfa, radish and broccoli blend; 1 plate of spicy mustard sprouts; and  2 platters of mung bean sprouts.

I enjoy growing sprouts.  Soaking them and then watching them grow day by day and you can even watch them grow from morning to night and night to the next morning.  And they grow inside the house with you.

Ron and I are back in the states for the month of Dec. to spend the holidays with our children and grandchildren.  We return to Panama the first part of January and let the sprouting begin.

Starting the 2nd week of January, fresh sprouts will be available on a weekly basis at the “Tuesday Market” in Boquete and also in Volcan on Saturday morning.

What is your favorite sprout?  What other types would you recommend that we grow?

Any comments from customers that purchased sprouts from the farm in December?


Harvesting Malibar Spinach November 18, 2010

Filed under: Malabar Spinach — kimlmiller @ 1:33 am

Malabar is very similar to spinach in appearance, however, it      is not technically a spinach.

We grow it here at the farm and most of our customers enjoy it.  High in vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium. It is low in calories by volume, but high in protein per calorie. The succulent mucilage is a particularly rich source of soluble fiber.

Since it grows on a vine, it can get to tall to harvest, however, Irvin came up with a great idea to get to the tasty leaves.  He tied a knife onto the end of a bamboo pole.

Use fresh or cooked.  Great in stir-fries, omelets, and added to salads if cut into small pieces.  It does have more of a gooey texture than regular spinach but when sauteed for a short time the goo decreases.


Rotisserie Chicken Injected With Marinade November 14, 2010

Filed under: Free-Range Chickens — kimlmiller @ 7:48 pm

Today was the first time I injected a marinade into one of our free-range chickens and it turned out very moist and flavorful.  Then I proceeded to cook it in a Cuisinart Rotisserie.  I forgot to take a picture of it until it was already cut apart.  It was dark brown and beautiful.  Here is the marinade recipe that I used.

Marinade Recipe

1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine, 1 Tbsp banana vinegar (could use balsamic), 1/4 cup butter, melted, 1 tsp honey, zest of 1 orange, 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, 1 Tbsp smoked paprika (could use regular paprika), 1 Tbsp salt, 1 Tbsp black pepper, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp chipotle pepper (could use cayenne), 1 tsp fresh oregano, 1 tsp fresh sage, and 1 tsp fresh thyme.

Combine all liquid ingredients.  In a coffee grinder or little food processor, combine all remaining ingredients and grind until ground small.  Then add to the liquid ingredients and whisk together.  Fill the injector syringe and Inject into the chicken.   Let it stand in the refrigerator for 1-3 hours before cooking.

What is your favorite marinade recipe?


Cucumbers and Cilantro are Amigos October 8, 2010

Filed under: Cilantro,Companion Planting,Cucumbers — kimlmiller @ 3:42 pm


Cucumbers Growing Up


We have found a great companion herb crop to grow with cucumbers.

First you plant cilantro very thick in long rows on each side of where you will grow cucumbers, then when the cilantro is 1 1/2 – 2 inches tall, plant your cucumber seeds down the center of the row.  The essential oils in the cilantro help keep the nematodes, stink bugs, aphids, etc. away from the cucumbers.   Then as the cilantro grows, you harvest out some of the plants to thin and enjoy in your kitchen always leaving some to do their protecting duties.

We now have three different crops of cucumbers growing at the farm in the greenhouses with the help of cilantro.  These are the healthiest plants we have had in a while.  (Knock on wood.)  Not all are producing right now.

The sweet 12 or so inch long Asian cucumbers are coming on slowly right now, grab one at the market or pre-order one to make sure you get to try this sweet, burpless variety.  We also have another variety cucumber called “Mona Lisa”  which is about 8 inches long.  Not as sweet as the Asian variety hybrid, but a nice cucumber in it’s own right.

We also utilize space by growing all of our cucumbers up netting instead of allowing them to sprawl all over the ground.  This makes the fruit easier to pick too.  Also they get less mildew problems then when laying on the ground.   (There are pole beans growing up netting in the background.)

Cucumbers has an element in them that is cooling to the body.  In Panama this is an important vegetable to eat often, maybe even every day!

My question to you is, “What is your favorite varieties of cucumbers and which new ones do you want to see us grow?”  There are so many varieties to choose from – little white ones, yellow lemon shaped ones, picking cukes, so many……


Colorful Assortment of Cherry Tomatoes September 3, 2010

Filed under: Tomatoes — kimlmiller @ 8:27 pm

Cherry Tomatoes of All Colors

We now have around 180 cherry tomato plants growing inside our new 140’x32′ greenhouse.  We also have about the same amount of peppers growing in there as well.

The exciting colors that are available makes eating a real feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.  Each variety not only is a different color but has a different flavor.  Some are sweeter, some have a stronger tomato flavor,  some have more juice, it’s amazing.

Varieties include: white cherry, black cherry, Hartman’s gooseberry (yellow), large cherry roma, and an orange variety called sun gold.  The yellow pear tomatoes are just setting fruit so they will be a little while before they can join the mix.

I love harvesting these treasures because about every 10th one, I eat.  Yum!

One of my favorite dishes is to cut tomatoes (cherry or larger ones) in a bowl and add a small amount of pesto.  Top with freshly toasted pinenuts.

Anyone want to share your favorite tomato dish?