A few weeks ago, Mikkel came across an article on FaceBook about Moringa trees. I had never heard of it until Mikkel shared a video about the tree. Some call it the “Tree of Life” or the “Miracle” tree. Every part of the tree is usable and has significant nutritional potency, rich in multi-vitamin content and antioxidants, contains all 9 of the essential amino acids plus 9 more, low in calories and sodium, and high in vegetable protein. If eaten, one seems to have more energy; and it is also used for water purification as well as disease control & prevention. My friend Jacqui has written a much better description of the benefits of the Moringa tree on her blog at www.panamadaze.com/moringa.
Last Friday, we were invited to our friends Bob and Pat’s home in Albina Sebana to see and talk about the Moringa trees they have planted and have started harvesting. It is amazing how fast they grow and how easily they can be maintained for harvesting. Basically the small leaves can be picked, crushed, and dried; then sprinkled on food or stirred in a drink. Once the tree grows to about 6-8 feet, you can pick off all the leaves and cut down the branches to about 6 inches to a foot from the ground and you can watch it grow rapidly; sometimes about a foot or more a week.
Then on Monday, Mikkel, our friend Tim, and I went on a day trip to Finca La Maya near San Carlos, about 3-4 hours drive from Pedasí near Cornado just outside the town of El Nance. This is where Bob and Pat had purchased Moringa seedlings. There we were enthusiastically welcomed by Starr and Steve, owners of this beautiful 40-acre retreat. We first sat at the poolside bar drinking water and eating the moringa seeds from a pod. The taste, although a little strange, was bitter-sweet and similar to rugula. Starr shared about the wonderful nutritional value of moringa and how it gives her so much energy. She has been testing the qualities of moringa on certain diseases using even herself as a guinea pig for her fiber myalgia, stating that she no longer takes any prescription medication and feels great. We then took a tour of the finca in our car, first being shown the teak forest and eventually coming to the Moringa tree grove. We got out and walked through the trees, asking many questions about planting and harvesting which Starr was more than happy to answer.
Afterwards we continued the tour by visiting the community center they have built on their property to benefit the local children and adults. They offer free classes to enhance education in art, computer skills, and English language. We were amazed by the children’s art displayed throughout the building along with the cement sculptures throughout the grounds. You can find more information about their programs offered at www.fincalamaya.org.
The Nursery & House
Continuing the tour, we drove by their duck farm, worm farm, and ended back at the house where we walked up to the nursery, next to the horse stables. Mikkel and Tim then transported 20 Moringa tree seedlings to the car. Mikkel wants to plant about 5 trees in our garden and Tim is planting some in his also. The rest they promised to some friends along with some seeds. Starr gave them a great price with the idea that she just wanted to spread the wealth of the nutritional health value to others. We said our goodbyes after taking a final tour of their lovely house, but not without sharing our desire to return for one of their fundraisers or workshops (or more trees). On our way home, we took a side trip off the Panamerican Highway between Penenome and Aguadulce to some land that Tim had previously visited. A group has invested in a Mango tree farm project where now the land has been cleared for planting. We drove up the dirt road on the property to a bluff over the clearing. The 360 degree view of the surrounding hills and mountains was spectacular. There is always something new to see in Panama and more adventures.
Now back home in Pedasí,I look forward to getting these trees planted so we and others can benefit from them. For more information about the Moringa tree, just google it. Also, here is a link to a great short video about the tree: