Fazenda Santo Antonio
On June 16th, 1927, Goro Minami (Nicolau’s father), age 11 years, arrived in Brazil with his family. They had left Japan through Kobe seaport on the Kanagawa-maru ship, and after two months at sea they had arrived. Their dream of cultivating their own land would become a reality a few years later.
Along with 250,000 other Japanese immigrants, they disembarked in Brazilian lands in search of a dream: a better life to be harvested fruit by fruit in coffee plantations, which were considered at that time a golden opportunity. In Japan, people had heard that coffee was more valuable than gold and, like many of the previous settlers; the Minamis arrived in hopes of making a fortune and eventually going back to Japan.
The first land acquired by Nicolau was Fazenda Olhos d’Água, also then called Lote 71. Much later, at the beginning of 2000, other farms were acquired: Lots 41 and,Lot 42 became Fazenda Santo Antonio. The family has worked together to establish coffee and other crops (potato, carrot, garlic, soybean, corn and wheat). Today they own a total area of 1,790 hectares among various crop areas. More than 20% of the land is protected Cerrado biome.
Today, Nicolau runs his farms with the help of his daughter, Yuki, who has taken a great interest in specialty coffee production and who’s help has been instrumental in helping get the other family business, Aequitas Coffee Exporters, off the ground (see further down). His son, Walter, and other daughter are also intrinsically involved in the farms’ activities.
Coffee was introduced to the country back in the early 18th century, which rapidly spread throughout Brazil, making it the leading producer of coffee worldwide.
Additionally, Brazil is the only country to utilize mechanized harvesting tools to assist with the extensive coffee fields. The flat topography of the country allows for the ease of machines to slowly comb through the coffee trees and remove ripe cherries. Advanced agricultural technology has allowed for the even harvesting of cherries and prevents uneven harvesting.
Today, the well-known coffee producing regions are Espirito Santo, São Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Bahia.