Explore more from this unique farm!
The Saenz Family
From heliconia to ginger, anthurium to green banana, meet the family behind the richest varieties of rescued tropical plants and flowers in the world.
A surprise discovery and a new mission
Sitting on the west bank of the Guayas River, just 45 miles from the Pacific Ocean, is the coastal city of Guayaquil. Known as a gateway to the Galapagos Islands, Guayaquil is also considered the center of Ecuador’s economy. The city is home to sugar refineries, coffee plantations and fabricating plants, and is responsible for over half of the country’s imports and exports.
In 1990, newlyweds Maria and Esteban Saenz moved to Guayaquil to help Maria’s parents meet the challenges of maintaining their cacao farm. But it didn’t take long before the couple came across strange plants growing underneath the cacao trees. Originally mistaken for weeds, one of the plants turned out to be heliconia Wagneriana – a brilliantly colored species with bright pink and red bracts that can grow up to fifteen feet tall. The couple wondered if there was a market for the rare and beautiful tropical flora growing natively on their family farm.
Long story short, it turns out there was. Big time. And what began as an endeavor to sustain the family farm evolved into a mission to protect and preserve endangered plant material from the Amazon and rainforests around the world.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
We’re paying attention to something no one pays attention to. These plants are often mistaken for weeds and destroyed.
— Maria Saenz, Founder & Head of Sales & Exports
Protecting Amazonian flora, one species at a time
As the Saenzes will tell you, every year an area of rainforest the size of New Jersey is cut down and destroyed. The animals and plants living in these forests either die or must find a new forest to call their home. With rising rates of deforestation, rainforests around the world are under serious threat. According to the WWF, 17% of the Amazonian rainforest has been cut down in just the last 50 years – and it’s of particular concern because rainforests house much of the world’s biodiversity.
A family proyect
Over the decades, Maria, Esteban and eventually, their two children, have continued to travel to the Amazon and other countries around the world to rescue endangered flora and reproduce it at the farm.
Today, over 113 tropical plant and flower species – native to countries like Colombia, Honduras, Guyana, and Jamaica – grow on their 180 acres of farmland.
A certified process
And in 2002, the Saenzes’ farm became one of the very first in Ecuador to earn the coveted Rainforest Alliance certification.
Non toxic products
No toxic pesticides or herbicides are used at the family’s farm. Instead, its organic waste is used to produce compost that becomes the farm’s fertilizer.
The Saenzes provide housing to over 70 single workers and families on their farm
Along with health, life and accident insurance and even a loan program, the farm’s communal kitchen provides three meals to over 100 people a day.
At the farm, biodiversity is embraced as a way of life
Farm inhabitants include iguanas, sloth, insects, birds, deer, monkeys and squirrels. No fishing and hunting rules mean that farm workers and wildlife live in harmony.
Future generations should have a chance to see, experience, and hopefully, study these plants before they’re destroyed. If we don’t preserve them and make people aware of their value, who will?
— Maria Saenz, Founder and Head of Sales & Exports
Meet the Farmer
Family owned and operated
We’re proud to share in the Saenzes’ mission of delivering the enchantment of tropical flora to the rest of the world. Every time you purchase a tropical plant or bouquet of flowers from BloomsyBox, you are supporting a family-owned farm that has dedicated itself to the preservation of Amazonian flora for generations to come.