Building beauty, ecology and profitability, one farm at a time.

olive trees

olive trees 150 150 vidacycle

olive trees

The baby olive trees that were planted in 2008 have grown into confident looking young trees with only a bit of pruning and hand watering along the way. So far they have survived multiple late frosts, long drier periods and a few pests here and there – pretty resilient plants.

cool beetroots

cool beetroots 150 150 vidacycle


This year we had an amazing beetroot crop, intensely delicious they left a trail of deep purple around the kitchen. Mid-January the beetroots we pulled up from the garden began to have multiple tunnels through them – the ants had found a feast. So we harvested the worst affected area and kept the crop in the greenhouse next to the potatoes, sadly a few days later we returned and they had all become soft. It turns out that beetroot must be kept chilled once pulled out of the ground…luckily beetroot are also delicious in vegetable smoothies, so we used up the soft ones in our ‘green’ smoothies.




nopales 150 150 vidacycle


There is a huge old cactus in the vegetable garden, which offers beautiful flowers every so often. Its flat paddles are edible as they are juicy and tender in the centre. We made a nopales salsa which had a freshness like cucumbers but with a stronger flavour. The slimy juices given off in the cooking process are kind of unusual but can be reduced by rinsing the nopales a few times.

solar PV – Wincayaren Hostal

solar PV – Wincayaren Hostal 150 150 vidacycle


We worked in collaboration with Jorge, from Parque Educativo Solar, to provide Wincayaren Hostal with a solution for their electricity generation. Jorge installed two solar panels on their roof, along with an inverter to provide AC electricity for the whole building. The two panels mean that that hostel’s electricity bills are zero due to surplus electricity generation being fed back into the grid*.

*the panels generate large amounts of surplus electricity during the day in Summer months, this is fed into the grid and causes the electricity meter to become negative. At night and on cloudier days the hostal does use electricity from the grid, however over time their net usage is negative on the meter, more electricity is being put into the grid than taken out so they aren’t charged anything.



Wincayaren is a lovely eco-hostel located in Linares, a charming city that sits at the base of the Andes. Find out more about staying there on the website:


Parque Educativo Solar Energy

Parque Educativo Solar Energy 150 150 vidacycle

Based nearby in Linares is Parque Educativo Solar, established by Jorge. What started as a backyard project has morphed into a full on Sustainability Education Centre, providing solar energy workshops and products for both local people and international visitors.


The Centre showcases a variety of low-tech uses of the endless sun’s rays, as well as simple installations using PhotoVoltaic (PV) solar panels to generate electricity. Wandering through the Park there are an array of indigenous trees like the Quillay, Peumo, and  Araucana, plus a circle of tree stumps surrounded by lavender for a moment of calm. See below for more info on the dehydrator, on-grid and off-grid solar systems and eco-toilet.


On-grid: This double solar panel installation is connected to an inverter (in the red box) that converts the DC electricity produced by the PV cells into AC for use in the house. Jorge generates all the electricity he needs in this way, and most days has surplus which he supplies back to the grid. This means he has no electricity bill and, after the law changes in the next year, the energy companies will be paying him for the electricity he puts into the grid.


Off-grid: There is a PV solar panel connected to a Dankoff slow pump which pumps the water up from his well into the storage tank above.

Dehydrator & Solar Oven: Jorge has made many of these dehydrators for people in the Maule Region, they effectively retain heat and provide ample ventilation for optimal dehydration.

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The organic seedbank is an invaluable store of seeds from organic plants grown locally.


The eco-toilets use Vetiver grasses to clean the water from the toilet after the solids have been removed.


and of course there are plenty of hammocks for relaxing…


garlic stalks

garlic stalks 150 150 vidacycle


The garlic were harvested a few weeks ago, their cloves securely fastened to their straight white stalks. A plentiful crop that should last through the year safely stored in the greenhouse.


raw beetroot

raw beetroot 150 150 vidacycle


First up in our Agraz series is a raw beetroot salad. Quantities are not exact because this is the kind of taste experience that is very personal, so we encourage you to follow our guidelines and then stray far and wide as your tastebuds tell you – enjoy…this has an incredibly delicious and fresh taste.

Raw beetroot salad

2 raw beets grated
3 units olive oil to 2 units agraz
dollop of honey
a few fresh mint leaves finely chopped
salt & pepper

agraz master

agraz master 150 150 vidacycle


We made quite a bit of Agraz from the green grape harvest in early Summer last year. We have been doing some in depth taste testing trying many different flavours together – and we will post the combinations we loved the most over the next few months to give an idea of how to use Agraz. First one will be our beetroot salad


red breasted birds

red breasted birds 150 150 vidacycle


Last week brought the first proper rain since September, it was greeted with hundreds of birds  swooping and flurrying around in the olive groves. The red-breasted, Loica likes to perch on top of the stakes. No possibility of camouflage amidst the endless green grass and leaves of early Spring. We also came across another friendly red-breasted animal lurking about…



experience 150 150 vidacycle


Andrew came to Chile for a few weeks in September. He spent some time in Santiago, then a few weeks working on a farm in the Andes further North and then 7 days at Fundo Meza. We wanted to give him a good experience of the life here so he helped prune the olives, walked up to Tabontinaja – the highest point around – and gained some knowledge of the wine-making process over at the neighbouring Gillmore winery. Thanks for all your help Andrew!




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