Walks and talks

The Farm Tour
Not only do we grow, process and serve some of the best-tasting coffee in the world, but our reserve/farm is a good example of ecological farming techniques. In fact, one of our most popular guided walks, especially for the University students that visit us, is the Farm Tour.

On this tour, we talk about ecological farming, also known sustainable farming; a way to farm taking into account basic ecological principles. One of the first things we do on this walk is visit the shade-grown coffee bushes (that are more like trees), discuss the advantages of growing coffee under the shade of native trees, and the whole process from planting to harvesting, processing and roasting the coffee. The coffee’s role in enhancing biological diversity is also discussed, as we sit under ripening coffee beans watching the flycatchers and bright tanagers dart in and out of the bromeliads, orchids and trees shading the plants.

Since shade-grown coffee using native trees species is a good example of sustainability in action, this is also one of the topics we cover. Here we also delve into the issue of Fair Trade, and its power to right some of the world’s social inequality.

We also talk about fertilization using native leguminous trees, worm culture, chicken poop, and composting toilets. Using, in summary, all available resources at our disposable to enrich our soil in as sustainable was as possible.

On with the walk, we stop to look and taste some of the stuff we grow, including the organic vegetables that go into our salads, banana trees, pineapple plants, onions, the humongous lemons, chirimoya, yuca (manioc); white carrots (zanahoria blanca), and so on. We usually finish by the orchidarium, to admire and smell whatever’s in flower, and talk about our attitude towards conservation tourism, and the need to keep it as simple as possible to encourage others to use the forest as sustainably as possible.

 

This is the closest to paradise as I will ever come and have ever come.

Dorsey Norwood