Saturday, March 24, 2012

Coffee- two experiences

Last week we took an afternoon to visit a small family- run cofee farm (finca) south of Antigua and located at the base of Volcan Agua the largest and most prominent of the three volcanoes that ring Antigua .It was a bit of an adventure getting there. We hadn't been that far from Antigua on our own  via "chicken bus' ( see earlier posts on chicken busses).  But we arrived without a hitch at the small village and found our way to the farm.
We had made arrangements to meet an English speaking daughter of the family for our tour.We arrived on time but she didnt (well, that is according to our definition of "on time")  Not to worry, there were two very nice mujeres weaving on hand looms and brewing coffee on an open fire which they shared with us.
Still no Englsih speaker. We were beginning to exhaust the topics that our spanish would  allow(weather, where we lived, the weather there, admiration for their weaving, their dogs, the names of their dogs, the language pun"Linda es linda" cracked them up.). We were fine: beautiful setting, volcano view, coffee. but the mujeres were quite relieved to see the English speaker finally arrive.
The finca is entirely organic with natural fertilizer and pest control. The mayans used these same techniques. The coffee husks are composted and used for fertilizer, the liquid from the compost is  sprayed on the leaves for pest control. Had more coffee on the patio after the tour, played with the dogs, former" perros de calle", that the owners had brought from the street. One was named Crusty by the English speaking daughter for its condition pre- rescue.

A second coffe finca experience happened the next weekend. No photos - sorry. I'm constantly looking for a place to run away from cobblestones and bus fumes. So one of the places Ive found is a coffee finca very close to our house  Its been locked the past couple weeks, because coffe picking is finished. But decided it give it a try and run by the tiny village near it. The formerly locked gate was open!
I had a great run among the coffee plants and trees that serve as canopy for the coffee. There were groups of Guatemalans working to trim trees  and harvest wood. They all smiled broadly and gave friendly "buenos dias" and "como estas". I stopped  to carefully go around a wood pile they had made and an older man asked me  the English words  "wood pile" and " farm'.
That night a conversation with a neighbor who has lived here a long time put a bit of a damper on the experience. Told me a Guatemalan woman who ran in the finca was warned by guards that they would shoot her if they saw her there again.
 Back to cobblestones.

Calla Lillies and Coffee

Coffee beans - red and ready to be picked

Vulcan Agua above the finca

Composting husks with help of special worms

Crusty - the rescued dog

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