Meet the Peterson Family of Hacienda La Esmeralda

In 1964, a Swedish-born Californian banker by the name of Rudolph A. Peterson (1904-2003) purchased Hacienda La Esmeralda, which at the time comprised several hundred hectares in the area of Palmira. He had the intention of retiring there, but at the time he was the president of the Bank of America.

For the first few years following the purchase, Rudolph would visit the Hacienda every couple of months. In 1970 he became the director of Development for the United Nations and his obligations abroad grew, leaving him less time to visit the farm. Years earlier he had met and married Patricia Price. They had two children: Linnea and Price.

In 1973, Price Peterson absorbed the role of management of the Hacienda from his father. Price had moved to Panama a few years earlier and began to play a much bigger role at the farm. He had studied neurochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and received his doctorate in 1961. His background in science has been a major benefit to the farm since absorbing the management responsibility. In 1987, large sections of their property were planted with coffee trees. They installed a beneficio to process coffee directly on the farm.

Coffee cherries growing at Hacienda La Esmeralda

In 1996 the Petersons came together to purchase another farm in the area, Esmeralda Jaramillo. It was on a section of this farm that they discovered the famous Esmeralda Special, Geisha trees. Their discovery of this rare varietal was groundbreaking in the coffee world. In 2006, the farm won the Best of Panama competition. Following that competition, they set a world record for the price paid for coffee at auction. That price has been shattered several times as they have garnered a reputation as one of the world's elite coffee producers.

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