Thursday, February 16, 2017

La Fina de Don Roberto

Photo Credits: Bryce Pepin, J. Mauricio Garcia-C.

An experience I will never forget. After learning in lecture about the history and importance of coffee in Costa Rica, we were fortunate enough to go visit a coffee farm only ten minutes away from Las Cruces. As soon as we arrived at the farm, we were instantly welcomed by Don Roberto and his family, including the family’s six dogs. We sat on his porch while he explained the process of growing coffee: from planting the coffee plant, making sure it receives enough sunlight and water, picking the berry, separating the coffee bean from the berry, and breaking the bean shell to get the bean in the right condition to sell it. As someone who can understand some conversational spanish, it was a great experience to listen to Don Roberto describe these processes and try to figure out what he was saying before our professor would translate. He showed us how to separate the coffee bean from the shell by using a large piece of wood that was shaped like a club to smash the shells that were all placed inside a very large bowl made out of a tree. He also showed us how to use a machine to squeeze sugar cane to extract the juices from it. After having the deliciously sweet juice, Don Roberto gave us a tour of the coffee fields, showing us the different areas that he has planted coffee and describing the different techniques that he and other farmers use to farm coffee. He uses a shading technique, where larger trees cover most of the coffee plants, which allows the berries to grow bigger, meaning larger coffee beans, but it takes much longer for the berries to grow than if the coffee plant was receiving direct sunlight. Don Roberto also uses minimal amounts of pesticides, which is not common. He is very ecologically friendly, and he does almost all of the work on the farm by himself to provide the essentials for his family. Don Roberto is very inspiring, and it was an eye-opening experience that I will never forget.  

Andres Ripley, Wheaton College

No comments:

Post a Comment