The La Florida region is located on the Northeastern slopes of the Andes Mountains at elevations of 1150 meters to 1400 meters. The terrain is steep, and four of the five communities that contribute to the La Florida coffee are accessible only by foot, horse or mule. The coffee grown, harvested, and processed by these farmers and their families is carried, in peragamino, on their backs once a week to the central coffee market. The coffees grown throughout this region are of the older Arabica-Typica variety of coffee trees. The coffee trees are grown in the shade of the natural jungle canopy. Six years ago projects were started to train the farmer to prune the overhead canopy for the needed sunlight, instead of cutting down the native forest trees. There are five villages that contribute to the La Florida Coffee Mark.
The People from this region are native farmers that are descendants of the ancient Inca Indian Tribes. These traditional farmers, by heritage, are proud and hardworking people. For generations they have not used agri-chemicals in their coffee production. Only straw and chicken manure were used for compost and fertilizers. Since 1992, they have worked to develop a proactive organic agriculture program. By making long term commitments to the farmers, providing technical assistance, and paying higher prices for this coffee, beneficial community projects that otherwise would not have been possible have been developed. The mutual goals that have been accomplished and are active today through this cooperative program are:
A full time coffee technician, to help instruct the farmers in active organic composting, terracing, and in general helping them to increase their yields and to produce better quality coffee.
Red worm project; for composting.
Small gardening project with introduction of new vegetables such as cabbage, beets, carrots, and lettuce.
Training on how to prepare and eat new vegetables.
A latrine project to build latrines in each of the villages.
Developing a small conference group of women.
Certified organic shade grown coffee is most of what the La Florida farmers produce, and is their only commercial cash crop in this region. During the years of historically low world coffee prices, a number of these farmers dug up acres of coffee trees. For generations, they had fed their families and in some years prospered from their small coffee farms, but these farmers could not survive the volatility of the market that controlled their lives. Today much of this area is growing grains that the community uses internally and the surplus is sold or traded in the local markets. The growth and success of the organic La Florida coffee project has helped to replant some of the coffee, and the project is continuing to grow because of the acceptance and appreciation of this unique, washed, hard bean, Peruvian coffee. The La Florida Coffee is a medium bodied coffee, with mild acidity, and is a good clean cup.
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