How Finca La Caldera Is Revolutionising Farming in Tenerife
Tenerife may not be considered a top farming destination but don’t let the rugged volcanic landscapes fool you. The lava sculpted, sun-baked earth is rich in nutrients and the gentle sea breeze makes this island an ideal place to grow all sorts of produce. One of the main crops grown on the island is grapes and it is not uncommon to find mini vineyards in people’s back gardens. But, as we are all aware, global warming is causing the climate to change and the growing conditions have become more and more challenging as the years pass by. This calls for innovation and who better to step up to the challenge than Elisa and Isabelle Castro from Finca La Caldera? In their fight to encourage people to eat local food, these sisters have taken their family farm and modernised it to produce enough food to feed the island. Well, via their vegan café at least!
More About the Eco Farm Finca La Caldera
Located just up the hill from Tierra Café in Puerto Colon, Adeje, this green oasis has been passed down through the Castro family for the last 200 years. It has seen civil war, dictatorship, famine and now, a climate crisis. But, when faced with adversity what does this family do? Innovate. So it may come as no surprise that Elisa and Isabelle have decided to step up to the challenge armed with their weapon of choice – hydroponics. In the south of the island, there is always a shortage of water which makes Finca life problematic, especially when trying to keep crops alive. Hydroponics allows plants to grow without soil in a closed-circuit system which means that a reduced water supply is needed.
What is Hydroponics?
This space-age style of farming is nothing new. In fact, it has been around since the 1600s when it was only possible to eat local produce. Some even argue that this method of growing food has been around since ancient times. But since water is our most valuable resource, today greater interest has been taken in protecting it, leading to a rise in hydroponic farming. Typically it is only used for crops such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce and other leafy greens since these grow well when their roots are exposed. But, here are some interesting facts about this alternative eco-farming technique:
- Plants grown with hydroponics grow 30-50% faster than those grown in the ground.
- 90% less water is needed to grow plants using hydroponics
- The word hydroponics comes from the Greek ‘hydra’ meaning water and ‘ponos’ meaning labour.
- Zero soil is used to grow plants using hydroponics
How are hydroponics used to create local produce at Finca La Caldera?
Hydroponic setups come in all shapes and sizes to fit both indoor spaces as well as outdoor. But, at Finca La Caldera Elisa and Isabelle have opted for flatbeds and vertical towers so that they can optimize their space for growing. There is one main water tank that provides the water and nutrients for these crops and this water gets recycled through the closed-circuit system of the beds and towers creating a controlled environment for the plants to flourish. The harvests are bountiful and since there is no contact with the soil there is a lower risk of the plants becoming damaged from poor nutrition or insects. The result? More tasty Tenerife food for people who want to eat local.
Is it a Pick Your Own? How Can I Taste The Food From the Farm?
For those wanting to visit a farm in Tenerife, you are in luck. Finca La Caldera is open to the public and they have a farm shop for those who want to take something delicious home to eat. Of course, it comes as no surprise that Elisa and Isabelle are big supporters of the ‘Eat Local’ movement. So much so that their crops are used to supply their Tierra Cafe as well as nearby hotels and other vegan cafes Tenerife has to offer. In addition to their farm shop and cafe, the sisters have decided to create a subscription box of veggies from their farm which can be ordered and delivered to your door. Their focus on ethical eating offers a refreshing change from the typical foodie scene that is available in Tenerife right now. And, with such a positive approach to sustainability, these sisters are trailblazing the way forward for organic farming in Tenerife.
How to Support Finca La Caldera?
Pay a visit to the farm to see hydroponics in action
Order a veggie box and taste the freshness of locally grown food
Eat at Tierra Café and enjoy a vegetarian Tenerife cafe experience
Take a photo at the farm and post it to Instagram using the hashtag #ILoveCanarias and tagging @canaryislandsgreen and @fincalacaldera
Finca La Caldera
Sustainable & Hydroponics Farming in Tenerife South
Thank you to everyone involved in this Canary Green project where our aim is to help promote sustainable tourism in the Canary Islands.
Do you want us to find you more sustainable choices? Please support us and donate today.
- Castro Family; Owners of Finca La Caldera
- John Beckley; Founder of Canary Green non profit
- Canary Green non profit:
- Project Coordinator; Andrea Endres
- Photographer & Videographer; Marcin Bilski and Eliana Pelaggi
- Social Medias; Nicole Arango Lang
- Copywriter; Grace Molan
- Our amazing Sponsors:
-Organic veggies and fruit from Finca La Caldera
- In cooperation with Canary PR, Tenerife Magazine