Passion Fruit Farmer Painstakingly Rebuilds His Beloved Orchard

Find out how we've helped Daniel Manuel Estrada Pagán and take an in-depth tour of his passion fruit farm in San Sebastián before it was destroyed by Hurricane Maria.

Daniel is a man devoted to the exotic passion fruit — a highly versatile and nutritious fruit, but one that's expensive and difficult to grow. While many would be daunted by the mere thought of establishing a passion fruit orchard, Daniel was motivated by its challenges and in 2010 started a farm he christened Pura Parcha (or Pure Passion Fruit). The farm is located in the municipality of San Sebastián in the northwest region of Puerto Rico.

Daniel working Pura Parcha in January 2017, eight months before Hurricane Maria

Over the course of seven years, Daniel grew his fledgling farm into a thriving 25-acre orchard and became a success story of Puerto Rico's local food movement. But the movement, which has been gaining ground over the past decade, and the farms associated with it took a devastating hit with the onslaught of Hurricane Maria in September 2017.

In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, Daniel couldn't even access Pura Parcha. With government assistance nowhere in sight, he and many other volunteers spent weeks clearing debris from the roads. The island was also thrown into total blackout and, as of June 1, 2018, is still without full power. But this didn't stop the tight-knit community of San Sebastián, who restored its own power just one month after the hurricane by leveraging the knowledge of retired electrical company workers. San Sebastián was the first of Puerto Rico's 78 municipalities to regain electricity.

Felled trees and growing structures at Pura Parcha after Hurricane Maria

Like the resilient community of San Sebastián into which he was born, Daniel possesses a fierce determination. Even though the hurricane decimated his farm, he refuses to give up on the dream of locally and sustainably grown food to nourish the people, culture, and economy of Puerto Rico.

Daniel began the painstaking work of clearing Pura Parcha and rebuilding his farming operations in October 2017. He then began replanting his beloved passion fruit orchard in March of this year, which will produce its first crop in October 2018.

"It's curious to see how this not-for-profit has been able to give us a hand before any of the government agencies, whose job is to help us in these situations. Thanks to your funds, we will be able to plant new passion fruit trees and re-construct what used to be our packing area. We are very happy there are still good people left who are willing to help. God bless you, Paloma del Carmen Fund, for helping the agricultural community of Puerto Rico." – Daniel Manuel Estrada Pagán

Our friends at Informe Agricola in Puerto Rico shot the following video of Daniel at beautiful Pura Parcha in January 2017, just eight months before the hurricane struck. Watch the video to learn more about Daniel, how passion fruit is cultivated, and the specific markets he targets to deliver the highest quality passion fruit at reasonable prices to customers in Puerto Rico and the United States.