Juan Pablo de la Sota Riva Leal checking on his hydroponic crop at Royal Poinciana Golf Club.
Image by Stephanie Starr.
At Royal Poinciana Golf Club, we were committed to buying locally farmed produce for our Membership. Two years ago, we started a partnership with Jonathan and Isabel Way of Calusa Farms in Naples, Florida. Not only are they dedicated to growing environmentally friendly, sustainable produce, but they maintain Royal Poinciana Golf Club’s hydroponic garden.
Isabel comes from a multi-generational family of farmers who still produce quality products in Colombia. She moved to the United States after earning her degree in environmental sciences. Her expertise in plant science led to Collier County’s Master Gardner and Florida Friendly Landscaping Coordinator position from 2013 until 2018.
Jonathan’s love for building hydroponic gardens started when he was young and became his business after moving to Florida. He worked with local chefs to develop the quality of produce that their high standards required. Calusa Farms does an excellent job of meeting that need.
From Farm to Fork
In addition to Calusa Farms, we have also connected with other great local businesses to ensure we always get the quality ingredients we need to provide our members with healthy, delicious food. One of those business includes Southern Florida’s Farmer Mike’s.
Just a few miles north of Naples in Bonita Springs, Farmer Mike’s started more than 30 years ago as a small roadside produce stand and blossomed into one of the state’s premier growers. They have more than 200 acres. They grow squash, zucchini, beans, corn, strawberries, onions, eggplants, every kind of tomato and pepper you can think of, and even numerous types of ornamental and edible flowers. Many of these items you can pick yourself on the farm or stop in quickly at the farm stand — both of which can be done every day from 9 am to 5 pm.
Recently, our culinary team had the opportunity to visit Farmer Mike’s for a tour given by Farmer Mike himself and his Sales Manager Dustin. They educated us on their growing processes of many different fruits and vegetables, in addition to some of the newer things they have been working on. They are always innovating and learning how to create the best organic products. They don’t use pesticides or any other harsh chemicals. They made a water irrigation system to save water during the rainy season to use during the dry season. They have beehives for pollinating their plants and have developed better vertical growing methods to maximize the use on their farm’s land.
We have built a strong relationship with Farmer Mike’s. We can place an order for products in less than 24 hours, and it comes from the farm’s fields to our hands. Supporting local businesses help to keep our communities prospering during challenging times.
Royal Poinciana Golf Club’s Executive Chef Juan Pablo de la Sota Riva Leal was born in Mexico City and studied at the Ambrosia Culinary Center. He later moved to Madrid, Spain, for an internship in a two-Michelin-Star Restaurant called La Broche. Juan Pablo has worked at many prestigious restaurants before joining “Team RP.”
Some of the veggie rows at Farmer Mike's farm.
Image by Stephanie Starr