Matanza with the Star


Olmedo Saenz, former Big League star, chats with Bob Fister

It never occurred to me is I might meet celebs in Panama. Certainly, I never expected to spend half an hour chatting about ecology with one when I attended an event scheduled to begin with a composting lecture and demonstration.

But there he was, big as life, wonderfully friendly, and very well-informed about Panama’s ecological challenges: Olmedo Sáenz, former big league baseball star who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Oakland Athletics, the Chicago White Sox and the New York Mets.

Olmedo was our host for this matanza, this very Panamanian super-barbeque. When he retired, he told us, he followed his second dream and bought 500 acres of rolling farmland on the Azuero Pennisula, which now enjoys the lovely name Finca Doña Carmen. Eventually, Olmedo plans it to become a showcase for ecological farming methods, as his dream is to help his countrymen – especially the youth – learn how to care for the land. “If we don’t,” he says, “soon it will not continue to sustain us.”


Jairo Batista explains how to make Bocashi, a composted tropical fertilizer

To that end, the matanza featured a charla (literally, “chat,” but more like a presentation) near the beginning. Jairo Batista, of the Azuero Earth Project, led an interactive presentation on how to make a composted tropical fertilizer called “bocashi.”

NOTE: Because this is such valuable information – composting is DIFFERENT in the tropics – the process is detailed, in English, on a permanent page on this site, with pictures – see Tropical Composting, under our new menu item, Resources.


After the presentation, the matanza really got rolling and an excellent time and wonderful food was had by all.jsw_cooking_at_matanza

If you want to learn more about the Azuero Earth Project, click here to watch a terrific video. Or, if you prefer to read or want to get on their mailing list, click here.