Martin Santos Zurita – La Union – (La Coipa – La Lima)
Living just outside of the La Union village, Martin maintains these two farms with his wife and young son at 1,900 meters above sea level. La Piña was inherited from his father whilst El Pedregal was acquired in 2021. La Piña was named after the wonderful wild pineapple growing throughout the area. It is common for locals to use the fruit for hot drinks in the winter and cold drinks in the summer.
In the La Union region, producers typically work in 15-year rotations, focusing on each variety individually. When a plant reaches the end of its 15-year life cycle, it will be dramatically cut back using the ‘Zoca’ practice. This sees the tree cut back to the stem just 30 centimetres from the ground, stimulating the emergence of new growth. In preparation for this event, trees of the same variety are planted two years in advance, meaning there is an uninterrupted supply of mature cherry.
Coffee was introduced to Peru in the mid-18th century via neighbouring Ecuador but was not commercially exported until the late 19th century. Production was only increased significantly after the turn of the 20th century, when Peru’s default on a loan owed to the British Government saw over two million hectares of land transferred to Britain (under the name of ‘The Peruvian Country’) as a repayment. A full quarter of this was put under agricultural production, including coffee, and it was at this point that export trade began in earnest.