The Puerto Rico Tourism Company welcomed San Juan Artisan Distillers in Vega Alta, HydrOrganic in Río Grande and Siempre Verde in Cayey to its Agritourism Certification program, pushing the number of operations in its green facilities portfolio to 24 on the island.
The program also includes 11 hotels and nine ecotourism companies.
Tourism Co. Executive Director Carla Campos, along with the Agriculture Secretary Carlos Flores-Ortega, participated in an exchange with the owners and representatives of the companies during the certification ceremony, which also included a tour of the San Juan Distillers facilities.
“Their effort and perseverance contribute to the diversity of our destination’s offers, offering a high quality educational and agritourism experience, and contributing to the island’s economic development by generating jobs and products in the tourism and agriculture sectors,” she said.
San Juan Artisan Distillers is dedicated to the production of artisan rum under the brands of Tres Clavos, and beginning this summer, Ron Pepón. The agritourism project offers tours by appointment, through the sugarcane field and the processing plant, as well as a tasting session for its products.
The company’s president, José “Pepe” Álvarez and José Álvarez Jr., vice president of operations and master rum maker, use fruit from local producers in towns such as Barranquitas, San Sebastián, Manatí and Lajas to make their variety of rums in different flavors, including Bili Quenepa, Coco Loco, Rumba Mango, Passion Parcha, Ginger Spice, Sweet Pineapple and Tutti Fruits.
Cristina González, co-owner of the HydrOrganic agroecological farm said her facilities focus on the cultivation and sale of products among which are legumes, fruits, lettuce, tobacco, and agroecological sprouts among others.
The tour includes visits to the different crop areas carried out under agroecology guidelines, visit to tobacco cultivation, tobacco leaf drying house, free butterfly garden, a cigar making workshop under the Turro brand and tasting fresh juices made with farm products.
Meanwhile, Siempre Verde in the Beatriz neighborhood of Cayey is an educational farm committed to protecting the planet and conserving the environment. The facility educates about the best practices to achieve sustainability, whether through the collection and use of rainwater, solar panels, food sustainability and economic sustainability.
Owner Donna Durán said visitors can appreciate the complete process of agroecology and permaculture techniques, from the seed to the harvest during their 1-hour tour. After that, participants can take part in a hot chocolate tasting at La Chocolatera, the small restaurant on the farm.
Siempre Verde is a nonprofit organization that focuses on offering agroecology workshops to children with special needs.