Farm: Los Nogales
Varietal: Tabi, Caturra & Colombia
Processing: 24 hours fermentation, dried on raised beds
Altitude: 2,000 metres above sea level
Owner: Maria Rosa Oidor
Town / City: San Antonio
Finca Los Nogales (Maria Rosa Oidor) - Colombia
Maria Rosa Oidor runs her farm, Los Nogales, with her husband Antonio Pillimué and their four children. The farm is situated a thirty minutes’ walk from the small town of San Antonio, where the couple also have a small shop. Maria Rosa and Antonio saved the money to buy their three-hectare farm from the savings they made from their shop some fifteen years ago.
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 Colombia’s Coffee Growers’ Federation (FNC).
The coffee trees are fertilized three times a year depending on the state and quantity of coffee on the tree, and seeds for new trees are collected and germinated on the farm itself. During the harvest, up to fifteen workers help with picking, and the family employees one permanent worker who helps maintain the crop throughout the year.
In recent years, our export partner, Pergamino, has launched a new project with the Pillimue family, specifically in the region of Cauca. To offer upmarket access more widely in the region and to put more control in the hands of local people, the family (who has long supplied coffee to Pergamino from their various family member farms) has opened a small warehouse and cupping lab with funding from Pergamino. They act as logistics and sourcing partners and can provide quality assessment services for nearly 150 families in the area, which is far more impactful than any other regional association, reaching not just San Antonio, but now also the towns of Belen, La Palmera, Aguablanca, Pedregal, Palmichal, San Jose and Santa Teresa. Most importantly, the Pillimue/Pergamino partnership enables more families than ever before to access higher prices by placing coffee on the specialty market.
Today, Pergamino works with more than 600 smallholder farmers in four Departments (Cauca, Antioquia, Huila and Nariño), and their influence continues to grow. They have developed relationships with the communities over time, providing invaluable feedback on quality and training in quality assessment. They are committed to transparency in their partnerships with these farmers, ensuring that profit margins are clear and that value-added by quality goes directly to the producer. The premiums that Pergamino pays (and that Mercanta pays) range from 30-300% over market prices (depending on cupping score and volume). They also provide technical assistance so that farmers can continue to improve crop quality.
During the harvest season, Pergamino has committed to monthly visits to the group to cup and advice on quality. All coffee produced by the group that cups at 84+ points will be purchased. 84 scoring coffees will be added to the municipality (Inza) lot, 85 scoring to the sub-municipality (San Antonio) lot and higher scoring lots (such as this one) may be held aside as micro-lots to be marketed under the farmer/family’s name.