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I really appreciate hearing from the Southern C.R. newsletter readership and last month I was blessed by a request from a couple (Gregg and Cheryl Butler) from Southern California’s on more information on organic coffee farms in our region here in El Valle de El General.

I was already planning to include some articles on organic farms and was not sure if I needed to include several farms in one issue or include a farm in an issue at a time so I asked Mr. Gregg about it and he mentioned that he would appreciate a farm per issue over the next several issues. That suits me perfect as the most difficult thing of this whole newsletter is finding content. I hate reading stuff I sense has been copied and pasted and while sometimes I do use helpful content I try to build my story around it and not just copy and paste. If you haven’t noticed before,J I love pictures and as the old saying goes, “pictures say more than a thousand words” and that is why I use such large pictures in my newsletters. I don’t consider myself a writer much less an editor so I need to let pictures carry the message for me! And thank you so much for your patience in putting up with my grammar and spelling errors!

 

So in this issue we will include the story of Pablo Granados, his farm, family and organic coffee operation. I believe you will agree with me that Mr. Pablo is definitely a coffee revolutionist, especially when you understand the difficulties in raising anything organic within a tropical rainforest! (As my pastor Richard says, “Southern Costa Rica is a Garden of Eden for the growth of everything, including mold, fungus, insects and weeds!”)

With an average yearly rainfall of 230 inches it is nearly hopeless to raise any crops that yield enough to get anywhere close for the farm to become sustainable without any chemical applications, and then on top of that the challenge of finding a market that is willing to pay the markup in price that an organic coffee requires to be sustainable.

As I mentioned in the last article, all this “green” and “eco” and organic is all good and noble, but where is the line between realistic and dream world? Brings up another subject to mind, that of the k-cups, I am sure most of you have been reading all the negative news on k-cups polluting the landfills and yet out of all those k-cup fans who is willing to give up their “morning convenience” to lessen the pollution they are causing? By the statistics of ever growing market share, not a one is willing! That is kind of been my take on organic coffee, lots of folks out there would like it (including myself) but not willing to pay double the regular price for conventional coffees. So what are we saying?

On our own coffee farms here in southern Costa Rica we are doing all we can to eliminate chemicals and if the right sustainable balance (cost/pay) can be found soon between the grower and roaster I have been saying that I will be the first to quit any sort of chemical altogether and go all out organic. Possibly that time has come!

I said all that for you to get a little better glimpse into why I consider Pablo and their whole group of organic coffee growers to be revolutionists in this regions’ coffee industry. They have been willing to stand up against all odds, climate, price, convenience and say, “no more chemicals!” They are willing to forfeit all the above, and juggle the challenge of laying a foundation for their children and future generations, to be able to live a healthier life and be able to build their land back to its original state, while at the same time try and eke out a meager living.

I remember meeting Pablo for the first time about 10 years ago at an SCAA convention in South Carolina and I remember not being too sure about some of his lofty ideas about organic coffee, but he has turned them from simply ideas to the real thing in a real way and who can argue with the facts? And I would be very happy if this newsletter could be the channel to connect Pablo with coffee roasters out there (like Brazuka Coffee Roasters) who need a good Costa Rican organic coffee!

A very interesting fact I discovered as I was visiting with Pablo was what I mentioned earlier about the challenges of getting a good enough price to compensate for less crops by growing organic, Pablo shared with me that they discovered that their organic coffee does well under the shade of banana trees, so now these bananas are also organic and Gerber of Costa Rica (yeah, baby food Gerber!) is buying all their organic bananas and they are making more on the banana crop than the coffee itself! Hmmm, no doubt where there is a will there is a way! They are now shipping around 30,000 pounds of bananas per week. So now you have an organic, shade grown, fair trade and rain forest coffee all in one!

Pablo along with his family is a very busy man. They live right along the Pan American highway leading into San Isidro. They also have a “trapiche” where they press sugar cane and make organic “dulce” (brown sugar blocks). They also have a coffee shop where they can host small tour groups. The price per pound of green organic, fair trade certified coffee from Pablo’s farm is $4.50 Pablo’s coffee mill is also part of a group of organic mills called La Alianza. La Alianza is now the largest group of certified organic and fair trade growers in Costa Rica, producing around 8 containers of coffee per year.

Possibly some of you are familiar with the large white “santo” to the left as you head up out of San Isidro? Well anyways, directly below the “santo” on the left is where you can pick up delicious organic coffee at this family farm to take back home to the U.S. Pablo also roasts and markets a National brand called Madre Tierra, “Mother Earth” which you can buy at different farmer markets and souvenir shops here in the southern region.

Mr. Pablo’s contact information is; 011-506-2772-5919 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

And if I can be of help to anyone for translation or anything else please do not hesitate to contact me at 011-506-8337-4657 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



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