Finca Los Nogales (Maria Rosa Oidor)
Today, Maria Rosa´s family is dedicated entirely to coffee. Her eldest son, Robinson, has previously worked as a leader of the local growers’ association, as well as being a well-known coffee producer in his own right. Her younger, Nilson, has also inherited part of the family farm and is working to learn all about coffee. Doña Maria, even at the age of 58, still takes a hike up the mountain every day to organize pickers and schedule the work for the day. She is an impressive woman, a symbol of the female coffee farmer in Colombia, who often does not received as much recognition as their “Juan Valdez” counterpart.
Despite the small size of the farm, Maria and Antonio decided to plant three different varietals in the high hills upon which their land lies: Tabi, Typica and Caturra. The high altitude of their farm (2,000 metres above sea level) makes it possible to continue growing these more susceptible cultivars despite the dangers of coffee leaf rust. Nonetheless, preparing for the future, two years ago they replanted areas of old trees with the Castillo varietal, following incentives from the Colombia’s Coffee Growers’ Federation (FNC).
Colombia is the third largest coffee-producing country in the world, and thanks to its vast array of unique microclimate, are able to have harvests throughout the year.
Commercial coffee cultivation began in the mid-1830s and spread so rapidly that throughout the twentieth century coffee already became the country’s leading export. A mountainous topography and many tropical micro-climates contribute greatly to Colombia’s reputation for ideal growing conditions, which – in turn – have helped Colombia establish itself as a recognisable origin around the world.
The diversity of coffee and profiles found across Colombia is enormous and coffee is harvested practically year-round depending on the region. The main harvest takes place from October to February with November and December being the peak months. There is also a second fly (or ‘mitaca’) crop several months later, again varying by region and microclimate.