Tuesday, December 8, 2015
New Finca Model
Yesterday we visited a finca, a family owned farm. This land was a small coffee plantation which is now being worked extensively by the third generation to become a diversified finca that can boast of replacing the older coffee plants with the new rust resistant strain.
Diversification includes the introduction of various vegetable plants and many types of fruit trees.
The plantation floor is rich in organic nutrients. Historic trees provide a gentle garden canopy that filters the sun and also the horrific rains that can destroy certain plants like red beans.
The roots of the trees are deep into the topsoil which is approximately 4 feet thick. These deep roots draw water from the ground and drips of water from the leaves keep the garden floor moist, making a great place for plants to grow and for mosquitos to enjoy the visitors (us).
Throughout El Salvador, coffee is grown on 3 zones, the low lands, mid mountain and high mountain zones. The coffee quality is based upon the growing zone with high-mountain being the highest quality. This coffee is grown in the mid zone.
The ripe red coffee cherries are still picked by hand which requires 15 seasonal workers to harvest this family finca crop. Other produce include orange, lemon, papaya, banana, plantain and many more fruit trees which are not familiar to us in the States.
Third photo below is early cacao which will become chocolate!
A goal is for this finca to become a living classroom for families and farmers to learn diversified and sustainable practices. Training in this garden model will help strengthen the lives of their families.
David y Nancy