Annabelle arranged for her neighbour, Pedro, to pick me up, as well as Jeanne & Justin from Boston, 2 other volunteers, from our respective Casas in Havana at 7am.
As soon as we arrived, Annabelle welcomed us to her organic farm with some delicious home-made mango & guava yoghurt, made by a local farmer, grated coconut dessert and a cup of Cuban coffee. Before she set us to work in the farm, Annabelle told us all about her journey to Cuba and what led her to changing her life, buying a house in the countryside and starting an organic farm in Cuba.
Annabelle and her husband Alfredo moved to Cuba from Paris in 2013. Annabelle originally from Nicaragua was working as a chef in Paris when her and her Peruvian husband decided to open an organic farm in Cuba and work as a cooperative within the community. Cuba seemed like a natural choice to them as Alfredo’s parents had settled in Cuba in 1997 and it seemed like the perfect place to build their dream.
The initial year was tough, they had to clear the land free of the Cuban weed maribou to prepare the beginnings of their organic farming project. It took a lot of research and determination to learn about organic farming, however they have learnt from their experiences and have shared their knowledge with the local community in Caimitas, Artemisa.
Their hard work has paid off and now they are growing traditional Cuban fruit and vegetables; papaya, sugar cane, corn, mango. They are trying to revive fruits and vegetables indigenous to Cuba, which have been lost over time, as well as growing pak choi, lemon grass and other produce not commonly found and grown in Cuba.
As well as running the organic farm Annabelle and Alfredo now welcome volunteers to their farm looking to experience something different in Cuba. Our voluntary work at the organic farm in Cuba consisted of re-planting tomato, cauliflower and pack choi plants on a fresh plot of land where they will be nurtured without chemicals to grow into delicious organic vegetables. The experience left the 3 of us even more appreciative of the hard work farmers like Annabelle and her family endure when producing healthy, organic, fresh products for us to eat.
After our hard work, we enjoyed a scrumptious lunch with Annabelle’s family before Pedro took us back to Havana, totally grateful for meeting Annabelle and her family, for welcoming us into their world and for having the opportunity to take part in this wonderful Cuban experience.
Experience the Real Cuba offers cultural activities and programs in Cuba supporting local Cuban private businesses, as well as organising accommodation in Casa Particulares.
To find out more about our courses and programs (Spanish lessons, Dance lessons, Music lessons, Art & Pottery workshops) check out our website: