Patrick and Gloria Greene are quite a couple – they are the brains behind Flora Farms lifestyle, a magnet for every connoisseur staying in Los Cabos (if you have not been there, put it on your must-visit list, now, for when you return to one of the area’s beautiful luxury hotels when they finally re-open after Hurricane Odile). Patrick is a contractor, who has built many magnificent resorts throughout Mexico and the Caribbean. Gloria’s background, says the gal, is farming, and founding, with an agricultural legend John Gram, the San Jose Farmers Market. The Greenes have combined their talents and creativity to set up Flora Farms, which includes ten villas called Culinary Cottages.
Typical visitors to the Los Cabos area will have made a reservation via their hotel concierge, for lunch, dinner or a farm tour, and the wise will ask that concierge to provide a four-wheel drive, with chauffeur – the Farm is about 30 minutes from Las Ventanas, and the tracks en route are not exactly Highway One. But oh, is it worth it. We headed straight to the outdoor dining area, where they will serve about 400 tonight. It is marvellously lit, and great atmosphere, enlivened by live music, tonight The Shamans’ classic rock. Plain wood tables (think The Pigs in the UK) are set with A3-sized colour printed paper mats that may have stylised maps of the estate, or guides to the Farm Dog Hall of Fame, including a a lament to Mama Dog, 1997-2014, ‘small, scruffy, leader of the pack’.
The produce is all-organic, mostly from the farm. I started with home-made burrata with tapenade, went on to broccoli rabe fettucini, pesto and an egg atop – next time, it might be a 12-inch made-in-front-of-you pizza, say covered with lemon ricotta and thyme. The olive-studded rustic bread, made here at four (a.m.) is a must. The whole thing is an experience, even seeing our Pagano 2011 San Antonio de las Minar decanted into a Riedel-type captain’s carafe. And then, before we were tired of it all, we headed to the farm shop, to see locals – and visitors staying in self-caterings – choosing their lettuces and tomatoes, and their portioned marinated chicken and pork seasoned many ways.
The clever Greenes – like Koos Bekker and Karen Roos at their Babylonstoren, the farm-hotel I love in Franschhoek – have a cook school here. Of course there is a spa, and a shop selling organic beauty products. I think how much luxury hotels, worldwide, can learn from these farm-hotel complexes. Flora Farm also has a jewellery store, and another shop offering good examples of the many Mexican handicrafts that international visitors love to take home. Unless, like me, they travel hand baggage and have no space …