Another Del Cabo Success Story: The Castro FamilyAn outmoded way of life allows for change, leads to success and an invigorated, sustainable community.
The small, isolated community of Tepentu, was a desolate outpost in the middle of the Baja California desert, near the now defunct “royal highway” or “camino real.” The community eked out a living cutting mesquite trees and making charcoal, until mesquite fell under the protection of new environmental laws.
Outlawing the cutting of mesquite ended a way of life for most in the Tepentu region. Young people left to find work and the community struggled to survive. But where others saw an outmoded way of life, we saw farmers who wanted to continue to farm, and an opportunity to invigorate a struggling community. The farmers of Tepentu were incorporated into Del Cabo’s logistics network, and their specialty crops were made available to consumers who appreciate the flavorful produce for which Del Cabo has become known.
The Castro family of Tepentu, which includes five brothers and a sister, joined Del Cabo in 2005. After five years developing their farming operation with Del Cabo, four of the Castro brothers have moved back to the ranch from the city to dedicate themselves one hundred percent to the farm project. What was once a very small ranch, dependent on a few cattle and small-scale charcoal-production from the mesquite trees, now provides permanent employment to over 30 families, and offers seasonal employment to over 150 families who reside in the area. New houses are being built, the school and medical clinic have been modernized, and the community is considered the jewel of the region, held up by the state government of Baja California Sur as a successful example of sustainable community development. Today, the Tepentu group is one of the best, and most recent, examples of how the Del Cabo cooperative model provides sustainable and economic opportunities to rural communities -- by teaching organic farming practices.