Finca Corsicana Organic Pineapple Plantation
Finca Corsicana, Costa Rica
If you’re from Texas, you probably know about Collin Street Bakery. If you know about Collin Street Bakery, you’ve most definitely heard about the world-famous DeLuxe® Fruitcake; and if you’ve ever tried a slice of the DeLuxe® Fruitcake, you understand why it’s world-famous.
However, what you might not know is that each of our DeLuxe® Fruitcakes is made using a very special ingredient. No, it’s not love (although there’s tons of love baked right inside). Instead, this sticky, sweet addition has more exotic origins. To visit the location where this mystery ingredient is grown, we‘ll have to hop on a plane and travel south of the border.
Volcán Arenal (Arenal Volcano) - Alajuela Province, San Carlos, Costa Rica (map)
Located about 135 kilometers northwest of San Jose, Costa Rica and nestled at the base of the Arenal Volcano, a dormant andesitic stratovolcano, lies the beautiful city of La Fortuna. Tropical trees and sprays of brightly-colored flowers paint the low slung surrounding landscape, enhancing the volcano’s impressive majesty. As the most predominant feature for miles, the Arenal Volcano greets tourists and visitors to La Fortuna in impressive fashion.
Among one of the most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica, La Fortuna is a buzzing hive of activity. Beautiful waterfalls, bubbling hot springs, breathtaking vistas, winding trails, tree-top zip line tours, and diverse wildlife attract travel enthusiasts by the droves. Enticed by the opportunity to savor nature’s bounty, vacationers flock to the region year round.
La Paz Waterfall, Alajuela Province, Costa Rica (map)
On the other hand, La Fortuna does more than simply play host to a constant stream of excursionists. The town's surrounding area is an active agricultural community, producing impressive quantities of bananas, yucca, vanilla, cocoa, strawberries, coconut, and pineapple. In fact, many of these communities arrange farm tours in order to showcase the region's bounty. One property not far from this volcano has unique significance to our Bakery; a 60-acre pineapple plantation called Finca Corsicana, or Corsicana Farm.
It Is Here At Finca Corsicana Where We Grow All Our Organic Pineapple For Our Deluxe® Fruitcakes And Texas Pecan Cakes.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Back in the mid-1980s, Collin Street decided to begin growing its own pineapple. After extensive research, two potential locations remained: Hawaii and Costa Rica. The Bakery ultimately decided on an area of mineral-rich, volcanic soil in Costa Rica near Mt. Arenal and La Fortuna.
Collin Street Bakery Owner, Bob McNutt
Finca Corsicana - Organic Pineapple Plantation; Late 80's
While many think of Hawaii when they think of pineapple, Costa Rica’s warmer climate produces better growing conditions for pineapple. This accelerates the growth of tropical fruits; a pineapple in Costa Rica takes only fourteen months to fully mature while it takes twenty-eight months in Hawaii. While this might not seem like a huge achievement today, ‘going organic’ was a massive statement back in the mid-’80s when the trend had not yet gained popularity.
Frequent volcanic activity covers the surrounding areas in nutrient-rich ash. Laden with iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorous, and sulfur, this fertile volcanic ash enriches the earth creating ideal soil composition for sustainable agriculture.
Conscious of the use of chemicals and their negative impacts on surrounding soils and waterways, Collin Street devoted time and effort into developing a viable organic operation. While this might not seem like a huge achievement today, deciding to ‘go organic’ was a massive statement back in the mid-’80s when the trend had not yet gained popularity.
Creating an organic farm is not as simple as disavowing the use of chemicals. It’s about purifying the ground of any built up contaminants prior to planting. To do this, the earth must lay untouched for three whole years before a single seed is planted. This allows the sun, rain, and wind to gradually break down the remnants of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.
BONUS FACT: There are thirty-seven identified varieties of pineapple in the world. The variety of pineapple Collin Street chooses to grow is called the “MD-2” and is considered by experts to be the finest, sweetest pineapple variety on Earth. Key characteristics of the MD-2 include a uniform, bright golden color, a consistently sweeter taste, and a lower acidity level. The MD-2 also contains four times the amount of vitamin C as most other varieties of pineapple.
OUR PLANTATION THEN & NOW
Organic Pineapple Plantation in Costa Rica; 2019
Our organic pineapple plantation currently spans 105-acres. However, at its largest, our plantation encompassed over 3,000-acres and produced an estimated 50 million pineapples annually. This level of production far exceeded our needs. As a result, when the Dole Food Company approached the Bakery with an offer to buy our organic operation, all but a portion of the acreage was sold.
As always, Collin Street Bakery continues to be invested in the long term well-being of our agricultural communities. Motivated by our two greatest passions, the desire to create a sustainable future and the joy of creating high-quality baked goods, our Bakery continues to operate our pineapple plantation organically. Here at the Bakery, we are firmly rooted in the belief that responsibly grown food truly tastes better. We hope you will think so too!