We spent the next couple of days visiting a few farms in Nueva Segovia. This was my first origin trip and I was chomping at the bit to get there. Most of the farms were within an hour from Ocotal. The first farm we visited was called La Bendicion. One thing I noticed was that the farmers and mill were very religious and a lot of their success is credited to their faith in God. La Bendicion – the blessing from God – was one such farm.
We travelled to the farms on the back of ute’s and were accompanied by Nicaraguan armed guard. I sat in the back of the tray with three soldiers as we drove through the mountains to the farms. It didn’t feel like we were in any danger, but we were close to the border and I’m sure Luis wanted to ensure that his guests were safe.
La Bendicion is located in Las Manos, Nueva Segovia nestled in an area of pine forests amongst the mountains , at an altitude of 1300m above sea level. The main varietal on the farm was maracaturra (think as big as peanuts), but they also had caturra, , maragogype and villa sarchi. It was here we also saw a new variety the farmers were excited about. They had discovered a yellow maracaturra which was a natural cross. Often the yellow varieties would be sweeter so they were looking forward to seeing how these plants would develop.
It was hard to get a gauge on the area of the farm. The measurements in Nicaragua are manzanas, and we were told the farm size was 11 manzanas, which converts to around 20 acres.
The next farm we visited was La Picona which is owned by Olga Marina Gonzalez Cuadra. We would be back again over the next couple of days visiting La Esperanza – Olga’s husbands farm. La Picona was located right on the border of Honduras – only its fence line would separate the two countries. They joked that it was not uncommon to catch people crossing the border illegally across their farm. It was a small farm covering six acres of land amidst a nature reserve. Olga bought the farm in 1990 with through the assistance of coffee sold by her husband. Olga’s farm has been a Cup of Excellence winner in 2012, 2011 and 2009 (4th).
It was a beautiful farm with lots of birdlife, natural springs and lots of natural shade, predominantly provided by banana trees. Olga has obviously been very successful combining this ideal coffee producing climate with her own processing skills and those of her husband. A beautiful lady and we’re really looking forward to trying her coffee again next year.