Garrett Harris 10:11 p.m., May 23
Not far from the seaside lobster village of Puerto Nuevo, beyond the mounds of sweeping sand dunes that lie just to the south, a colorful oasis sits nestled between the chaparral covered foothills and pounding surf. Yet, even though nature may be responsible for crafting the scenic terrain that surrounds it, this picturesque haven is completely manmade. It is the work of Augustin Torres and his wife, Berta Munoz. Together, they have invested over 30 years of their lives in developing and expanding what has become one of the region’s most valued and respected nurseries, Vivera La Central.
In the beginning, Augustin embarked upon the fledgling endeavor with a partner. But after a few years, his associate became disenchanted with the considerable investment of time and effort that was necessary to maintain the business, and when Augustin offered to buy out the remaining inventory, his bid was quickly accepted.
At that point, Augustin and Berta, along with a number of immediate and extended family members that has grown exponentially over time, began a journey that evolved into a fulltime commitment that now keeps them both extremely busy throughout the entire year. But one of the first hurdles that had to be overcome was the extremely poor quality of the local water supply, which was far too saline for most of their plants to tolerate. In fact, this was one of the primary factors that had previously kept much of their shrubbery from reaching its optimum growth potential. It quickly became obvious that they would have to drastically improve the quality of water that was used at the nursery if they expected to have even a chance for their new venture to survive. The only remaining question was how to accomplish the task.
Because the nursery was situated so close to the beach, almost every well that was dug in the area yielded only a grade of water that was too high in salt content to meet their needs. Luckily, however, the rugged hills only a few miles to the east provided access to artesian springs protected by solid granite, which offered waters of such exceptional superiority that they could probably even pass the strict German Rheinheitsgebot, the classic brewer’s purity law that was established centuries ago in 1516.
After finding a rural resource that was capable of supplying them with the quality and quantity of water that was needed, Augustin contracted a local water tanker to make regular trips between the well and Vivera La Central. From that day forward, their business literally began growing into full bloom. The pure spring water, along with the Mediterranean-like microclimate where their nursery was located, proved to offer the ideal combination of elements that, along with Augustin and Berta’s loving care and husbandry, produced some of the most vibrant foliage available anywhere in the vicinity. During the warm summer months, their nursery now soaks up nearly 60 tankers full of spring water each week; more than enough to supply the population of a small poblado.
Years of nurturing the hundreds of cuttings taken from their original inventory has allowed them to build up a backlog of plants, trees and cactus that easily supplies the needs of both old and new clientele. And, as more and more people begin to arrive and set up residences along Baja Norte’s azure Pacific coast, their business continues to increase dramatically, as well as the demand for more exotic landscaping. This turn of events has prompted them to begin importing an even wider variety of colorful species from states throughout the Republic of Mexico. Today, along with a plethora of shrubs and greenhouse plants, they sell a full compliment of fruit trees, over a dozen varieties of palms and nearly a hundred types of cacti.
And, although the stock market may fluctuate from day to day, just as sure as the sun rises every morning, the hard work and dedication to the success of Vivera La Central that has been caringly invested over the decades has virtually guaranteed that Augustin and Berta will always be the owners of a truly growing enterprise.