By Ellen Zoe Golden .Photo by Ellen Zoe Golden
Fans of the organic fruits and vegetables brought to Tamarindo Feria by Rodolfo and Gustavo Jiménez every Saturday will be thrilled to learn that the brothers have partnered up with businessman Marco Alfaro and his Special Ed teacher turned animal rescuer wife Evelyn Rodríguez so that produce will be available fresh every day at their new Pimienta Verde store in Pacific Park.
This is Tamarindo’s first, all-organic fruit and vegetable supermarket, open daily; the store has many other purchase options to round out a healthy lifestyle. “I have known Rodolfo and his brother Gustavo since we started buying their organic produce at the Tamarindo and Flamingo Ferias,” explained Alfaro, about moving here four years ago with the intention of living as healthily as possible.
“After four years of buying from them, and talking about ideas, we decided we wanted to make a corner store with their produce, and include natural medicine, super foods, and smart-packaged home goods, everything healthy, mostly plant-based products. The goal is to provide everything you need to live and eat in balance with our Earth and with less harm and cruelty to all living things.”
Added Gustavo: “Our idea was to join forces, start the venture of the supermarket, and bring better quality food to the community. We wanted to go as organic as possible to help people make a habit to use less chemicals. We were bringing our fruits and vegetables to town twice a week for the Ferias, and making deliveries as well. That was the beginning of something that needed more shape. Pimienta Verde is the result.”
The Jiménez brothers began this journey six years ago with a 1,000-square meter farm in San José de Pinilla. Although a small plot, Rodolfo had a wealth of knowledge, having earned his education on Organic Agriculture at INA, a program started there by Fabián Pacheco, known nationally for, among other good works, fighting Monsanto’s desire to bring into Costa Rica their engineered seeds. Originally, the Jiménez’s planted leafy vegetables such as lettuce and bokchoy, but then rotated crops in order to have production year round for their Ferias and personal clients.
When people started coming out to the farm asking for more variety, they made an alliance with five other organic farms to contribute more goods. Their Gustavo Jiménez and MarcoAlfaro are part of the team that have opened the health and environment conscientious supermarket in Pacific Park called Pimienta Verde.
Gustavo Jiménez y Marco Alfaro son parte del equipo que ha abierto el supermercado Piminienta Verde en Pacific Park donde se encuentran productos orgánicos cuyo cultivo protege el medio ambiente y resguarda la salud. Organic fruits, vegetables every day at PimientA Verde Frutas y verduras orgánicas todos los días en Pimienta Verde business was called Vida de Salud.
“We are ingesting chemicals in fruits and vegetables,” said Gustavo. “Something so delicious with lots of nutrients and at the same time, we are putting chemicals in our bodies that could cause cancer. It’s a little more risky for the farmers who don’t have a prefab seed that fights disease.”
“Our produce is completely organic. Our farm is open to the public for anyone to see how we work. The other farms have been working this way for 10 to 15 years. We can show all our certifications. We want to show people how to use our fruits and vegetables in order to increase the health of the body.”
Meanwhile, Alfaro had been transitioning his public service work from the radio stations he owns in San José. Years ago, he decided to do his part to help the planet by donating air time to organizations that promoted health, as well as on-air programs that endorsed his philosophy.
“When I moved here four years ago, I was transitioning out of the day-today work at the radio stations. We had already adapted a very healthy, and vegan lifestyle, but I felt there was a lack of offerings of the products Eve and I needed. At the same time, I got to see people ready for a mind and habit change, especially as they gained concern for the earth and their own health.”
Pimienta Verde also has some health practitioners that can help the store’s customers. Dr. Amada Robles, who has a medical practice in Tamarindo, is consulting, and has started sending her clients to the store for natural products that when used can heal ailments, and contribute to overall health.
There is also a holistic nutritionist, Marcia Siles, advising the proprietors of the store and its clients. The configuration of the Pimienta Verde store is 50% fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. “Its agriculture that is organic and chemical free, also respects the animals who would be injured by chemicals on traditional plants,” said Alfaro.
“I’m not going to say we are out of sin here, but our snacks are much healthier. And we have less bulk and packaging as possible. We ask our suppliers to send in bulk so we can dispense in less packaging fromour bins. Soon we will be accepting glass jars from customers that we will fill up with nuts, grains and superfoods to be distributed in that manner.” Pimienta Verde is selling desserts, juices and kombucha from locals, collaborating with the Tamrindo area people, as well as the countryside farmers.