Meet Our Farmers
33 | El Mango
Like other farms in the area, Gilberto and El Mango have experienced a couple of challenging years. The extended dry season a year ago diminished the production yield considerably. On top of that, the resurgence of activity among armed illegal groups in the region led to multiple displacements from the farm, including once during the harvest last year.
While these obstacles proved difficult to overcome, Gilberto took them in stride and is still planning for the upcoming years. He has new varietals that will be maturing soon and is excited to experiment with different processing methods (something he had intended to do this year). His unwavering commitment to El Mango is evident and we are equally committed to riding out the ups and downs with him.
34 | Buenavista
Acknowledged many times by the Colombian Coffee Federation for the quality of their beans, Maria Yolanda Gallego and her husband, Gregorio Fajardo, have a lot to be proud of. While they happily boast about the recognition they have received, Maria Yolanda is quick to point out that their efforts deserve more. Our business model really struck a chord with them. At last, a chance for the hard work to pay off. Seeking the ultimate approval from the consumer, Gregorio and Maria have a renewed motivation. The quality of their coffee can now directly affect the quality of their life.
35 | La Quinta
Luz Marina Munera
Nestled in at 2,100 meters above sea level, La Quinta offers the perfect conditions for growing specialty coffee. The owner, Luz Marina, has capitalized on the combination of coffee varietals, fertile soil, elevation, and ideal microclimate to produce outstanding coffee. While this sounds like the perfect equation, her success is a testament to her resilience. After her husband passed away over 20 years ago, she raised their three daughters while also running the farm. As her daughters grew up, they became involved in the daily chores and now the they are an integral part of operations at La Quinta. This family and farm are proof that hard work and attention to detail pay off. We are very excited to offer this coffee and see great potential for the future at La Quinta.
36 | La Mar
Ruben Echevery's background is very different than the majority of coffee growers we work with. Born and raised in Medellin, Antioquia, he is an electrical engineer who has been working in the commercial area of a large company for the last 20 years. Five years ago the family decided to buy a farm and start producing coffee. Ruben's brother, Julio Cesar, manages La Mar while Ruben fulfills his work obligations. The family is in a fortunate situation where they do not depend on the farm for the income to support themselves. Ruben is quick to point out the respect he has for the coffee farmers that are dependent on the income from their farms - they taught him the importance of quality. Current prices are too low to make coffee farming profitable, the only way to survive is to differentiate on quality. Ruben and his family are determined to be successful coffee growers and the attention to detail evident at La Mar suggests that they are well on their way.
41 | La Mina
Ask Henry Martinez to describe the coffee industry and he will tell you, "Coffee is a blessing for all of us" and that he owes everything he has to hard work and coffee. He can recall good years and bad years, but is quick to note that lately the bad years are overwhelming the good ones. Coffee prices have been very low even though the cost of production keeps climbing. After getting married to his wife Ricardina, Henry bought La Mina from his father. Through hard work and carefully managed expenses, he was able to pay off the farm in two years. While he originally planted caturra varietals, he found out after only 5 years how susceptible that variety is to leaf rust.
Now La Mina is planted with castillo varietals and focused on the production of specialty coffee as Henry sees this as an important opportunity to reduce the volatility in coffee prices. He knows that if we can develop strong relationships with customers over time, he can concentrate on his craft without worrying if he is going to break even at the end of the harvest.
42 | La Joya
At only 22 years old, Juan is the youngest producer we work with. He is very proud of his profession as he feels he is following in his father's footsteps. Juan is aware that not many people his age want to keep working with coffee as a majority of them opting to move away from rural areas in search of new opportunities. Juan, on the other hand, asked for his father's blessing to keep growing coffee. Juan's passion for coffee is evident in everything he does. Committed to improving quality year over year, he is already planning the addition of another parabolic drying bed. He also understands the positive affect this will have on his community- the specialty coffee market allows him to pay higher wages to the coffee pickers for carefully selecting only ripe cherries. He is hopeful that this commitment will help to develop long term relationships with roasters which, in turn, will bring a great opportunity for growth and improved profitability.
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