La Palma y El Tucán Lactic
Pink Grapefruit, Loquat, Salted Caramel
alt: 1600 MASL
farm: Las Mercedes
producer: Doña Rosalbina, La Palma y El Tucán
At 72 years old, Doña Rosalbina is one of the eldest coffee growers in our program. Her farm is in the Anatoli trail, at 1600 meters above sea level. Rosalbina tells us she has grown coffee since she was 20 years old. She attributes her love for coffee to her late husband, a passionate coffee farmer who passed away almost 10 years ago. They started buying parchment coffee 50 years ago; soon after, they began renting out farm lots where they could grow their own coffee. They were able to raise enough money to buy their own farm—Las Mercedes—about 35 years ago.
Doña Rosalbina has 3 children. Currently, she lives on the farm with one of her grandsons and his wife. Her son-in-law, Diositeo (another coffee grower from our program), assists her in maintaining her crops. On her one-hectare farm there are 3000 coffee plants of the Colombia and Castillo variety, planted strategically under the shade. Despite her age, Rosalbina has believed in this project since the beginning. Before she became one of our loyal coffee growers, she used to sell wet parchment coffee to local buyers. She says it was very difficult to dry the coffees because she doesn’t have the infrastructure to do so, and she stresses that the humidity levels in the region are very high. Even though she produced good coffees, she wasn’t able to make reasonable prices because her coffees were never properly processed. Being a part of our Neighbors & Crops program gives Doña Rosalbina more time to dedicate to her home, because our project is in charge of cherry picking and processing—labors that she cannot physically perform anymore. She feels grateful dedicating time to her beautiful home and garden.
Finca La Palma y El Tucán is located in Colombia's Cundinamarca region, on the eastern range of the Colombian Andes. Though it is only about an hour and a half from Bogota, it features a range of micro-climates that allow for great biodiversity and unique ecosystems, with ideal conditions for specialty coffee growing.
In 2013 our friends Carlos, Elisa and Felipe, founders of La Palma y El Tucán, developed a plan to work with their neighbors to create a sustainable relationship model. They named the program Neighbors & Crops and have identified more than 200 coffee producers within a 10-kilometer radius to take part. La Palma y El Tucán buys the coffee cherries from these neighbors, provides training for exceptional harvesting, and experiments with different processing methods in search of the perfect cup.
The plan was to select and train specific pickers in high quality coffee harvesting methods. They would then work with the neighbors to select, pick, and buy the cherry. These families are paid 50% more than the national average for their coffee cherry, as well as given additional coffee trees grown at the La Palma y El Tucán nursery.