No, it’s not a mirage. There are genuine farm-to-table dining options in the desert terrain of Los Cabos. Best known for its Instagram-worthy beaches and mountainous landscape, this region, located at the tip of the southern half of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, also has mineral-rich soil and a crop-friendly microclimate, thanks to a long growing season and mild winters without freezing temperatures. It’s the land where margaritas grow from the ground -- literally. To get a taste of this true local fare, dig into these area farms and restaurants:
Agua by Larbi at One&Only Palmilla
This popular (and celeb-preferred) resort features farm-to-table dining from chef Larbi Dahrouch. His restaurant’s menu changes seasonally -- sometimes daily -- depending on the fresh catch and the produce sprouting in the on-site organic garden. Featuring a variety of crops and an outdoor kitchen with a wood-fired oven, the garden area allows guests to get up close and personal with their ingredients with cooking demonstrations and lessons on home-grown chilis like habanero and poblano, and herbs such as cilantro, sweet basil, and hibiscus tea plant.
Located in San José del Cabo, at the foothills of the Sierra Laguna mountains, Flora Farms consists of a 10-acre organic farm, which services the open-air restaurant and bar, an on-site grocery store stocked with fresh-baked bread and produce, as well as the privately-owned “culinary cottages” that are for rent on the property. The farm-fresh veggies and herbs are also incorporated into the seasonal cocktails, such as the “Farmrita” -- a margarita made with heirloom carrot juice and tequila. Plus, all the meats on the menu come from a nearby ranch where the animals are raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics.
Named after the region’s abundant tamarind trees, this U.S.D.A.-certified organic farm, located a mile from the Sea of Cortez in San José del Cabo, offers cooking classes ($85 for 4 hours), farm tours, and restaurant dining in a restored 1888 brick building. The 17-acre farm features a variety of crops, including tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, zucchinis, beets, kale, chard, arugula, lettuce, and herbs. With this cornucopia, owner and chef Enrique Silva (a former agricultural engineer) is able to provide produce to some of the nearby resort properties, as well as his own restaurant Tequila in downtown San José del Cabo.
“Last year we grew the most amazing iceberg lettuce ever. Yes! Iceberg,” exclaimed the executive chef team of Jeff and Susan Mall at Rancho Pescadero, found near Todos Santos on the coast of Baja. The leafy green was a surprising discovery because, as a water-heavy veggie, it usually thrives in cool and moist environments, not desert temps. The chefs explain that crops suited for sandy soil, such as carrots, beets, and radish, work best though. The resort’s Garden Kitchen Restaurant features a seasonal menu that highlights the fresh produce, plus locally sourced items, such as cheeses made in the nearby Sierra Laguna mountains, chorizo, fresh eggs, and Baja-grown Medjool dates. In addition, cooking classes are available for $65 per person, and include some hands-on harvesting and lunch with the chefs.