Featured Farmer: Rosa Ortiz of Santa Clara, Guatemala

 

In October, CoffeeCSA.org featured Rosa Ortiz, a small-scale organic farmer in Guatemala. Her farm is in Santa Clara Laguna in the Solola region of southwestern Guatemala.

Rosa Ortiz

While Arabica coffee is her main source of income, Rosa’s farm also produces a variety of crops for her family and for bartering within her community.

Rosa’s farm is a member of the cooperative Manos Campesinos. This cooperative offers better market alternatives for members as well as support related to commercialization. Manos Campesinas is an umbrella organization that works with 8 grassroots organizations of four different geographic departments: San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu and Sololá. Overall, Manos Campesinas represents 1,073 individual members, all of them small coffee producers.

The coffee we are featuring from her region is of the Arabica Bourbon and Typica varietals and grown at 5,000 ft elevation, which gives it a richer taste. The washed processing method provides a clean taste that reveals fruit, dates, and walnuts.

Get a glimpse of life in Santa Clara with this short video from Traceable Coffee:

Buy a bag of organic Santa Clara coffee or sign up to our Farmer of the Month Coffee CSA and get our featured farmer EVERY month!

Photo by Cruz Conrad

Coffee Recipe: Espresso Tonic with Mint

espresso tm

This month we were excited to introduced a new signature beverage – Espresso Tonic with Mint – to our Davis Cafe.  We’ve heard nothing but great reviews, so we though “Why not share it with our Coffee CSA subscribers so you can make it at home during these hot summer days?” Well, here you go!

The recipe was created by our coffee bar manager Cruz Conrad.  In this post he shares his description of the drink, and how you can prepare it for yourself at home.

espresso tonic with mint sign
Photo by Jasmine Zeboski

Description: This is a carbonated espresso based drink with the carefully balanced levels of acidity, sweetness, and flavor. We use the highest grade tonic is Fever Tree and we accentuate the sweetness with our La Flor de Africa espresso blend, which brings notes of citrus and other fruity flavors. We combine those flavors and textures and top it off with mint, fresh picked from plants in the cafe. This last step completes the drink with added refreshment, aroma and really pulls this creamy carbonated drink together.

Ingredients:

  • Fever Tree Tonic Water
  • La Flor de Africa espresso
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Ice

Steps:

1. Get a 16oz cup (chilled preferred) and fill all the way to the top with ice.
2. Pull 2 shots of La Flor de Africa and while the espresso is filling the shot glasses, open the fresh tonic bottle and pour slowly into the cup – do this slowly  to save as many of those fine bubbles as possible.
3. Once the shots are done pulling, immediately pour the espresso over the tonic. It immediately infuses and creates this wonderful texture of foam that on the first sip is extraordinary.
4. Garnish with two fresh leaves of mint.
5. With the back end of a spoon stir the top layer lightly for added infusion.
6. Drink up and enjoy!

Photo by Cruz ConradPhoto by Cruz Conrad

Come let us make it for you at our Pachamama Davis Coffee Bar:

Located at: 521 First St. Davis, CA 95616 | Open Everyday from 7am – 7pm

COMING SOON

Mid-October – Pachamama East Sacramento Coffee Bar

A Woman Coffee Producer Shares her Story from Guatemala

Coffee producer and Pachamama Coffee Cooperatve member, Caterina Yac, talks about her love of working in the coffee industry and how her production goes directly to Pachamama to “have more income for our family, and to have more work for the organization.”

Caterina’s 3 acre farm is at 4,000+ feet elevation in Santa Clara Laguna, Guatemala. Arabica coffee production is Caterina’s primary source of income. She also produce a variety of crops for personal consumption and bartering between neighbors. Ms. Yac is a member-owner of the Manos Campesinas cooperative, which makes this select coffee harvest available exclusively via Pachamama Coffee Cooperative.

Try Caterina’s delicious coffee and help support her farm, and others like it by ordering her coffee through our Coffee CSA subscription. 

Coffee CSA Subscription

Suzie's Farm sign

Farm-to-Table Summer Feast

This past weekend we had a great time serving post-dinner coffee and cold brew at Farm Fresh to You’s Summer Feast.  Tickets from this farm to table charity dinner supported the San Diego Food Bank.Suzie's Farm sign

The feast kicked off at 2:30pm amidst the trees and beautiful setting of Suzie’s Farm in San Diego. Guests enjoyed chilled bee from Ballast Point Brewery and wine from Vesper Vineyards and Stehleon Winery. Servers from Common Sense Events served incredible farm-fresh appetizers prepared by Terra American Bistro.

IMG_3663

Post cocktail hour, guests strolled the pathways for a tour of the farm. Suzie’s Farm guides led the way, exploring and discussing all the benefits, challenges, and life lessons from organic farming in San Diego

.IMG_3677

As guests sat down for the delicious dinner, they got to hear from Farm Fresh to You, Suzie’s Farm, Ballast Point Brewery, Vesper Vineyards, Stehleon Winery, and the chef at Terra American Bistro.  Our Community Outreach Director, Mollie Moisan, also spoke about Pachamama Coffee and our unique, 100% farmer-owned business model.

IMG_3636

As servers brought out the dessert, we served post-dinner pour over coffees and cold brew.  The coffees we chose to serve were our Santa Clara, Guatemala, for guests preferring a balanced, rich taste, and Ethiopia Sidamo, for those preferring a livelier, fruity coffee. The cold brew was prepared from La Flor de Africa, a blend from Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and Mexico.

IMG_3664

We were so pleased with the turnout and positive feedback on all of our coffees.

If you receive a Farm Fresh to You box, don’t forget to add-on farmer-direct coffee to your next order.

And if you don’t get the box, check out our Coffee CSA program, where you can sign up and get coffee delivered straight to your doorstep on a regular basis. There’s no more direct way to get your coffee straight from the farmer.

Pachamama Milestone: Now Roasting!

This weekend we are celebrating a huge milestone for Pachamama as we have just acquired our first coffee roaster so we can start roasting coffee in-house at our headquarters in Sacramento! This is a celebration of our successful Kickstarter campaign where YOU helped make this dream a reality.

Since 2001, we’ve been working on tightening the gap between the farmers and the consumers.  By owning 100% of the Pachamama brand, farmers are receiving 100% of the profit, and able to reinvest it back into their farms and community to produce better coffee for you and better lifestyles for them, year after year.

Acquiring a roaster will further realize the mission of Pachamama.  By roasting in-house, we’ll be saving our farmers’ money, increasing our quality control, and gaining more capacity to continue the strong growth of Pachamama.

in honor of our late co-founder Raul del Aguila, we are naming our new roaster “El Compadre.” Raul often called his friends by “El compadre,” or comrade.

Here is a message from Raul himself, explaining the history and importance of Pachamama to the coffee industry.

As a thank you for your support, we want to invite you to come celebrate with us! We’ll have a full day schedule of education, food, fun, and celebration.

11:00am – 12:00pm | Coffee Roasting Course // Ed Alagozian, Director of Coffee
12:00pm – 1:00pm | Coffee Farming, Export and Import // Thaleon Tremain, CEO
1:00pm – 2:00pm | Coffee Cupping 101 // Mollie Moisan, Director of Outreach
2:00pm – 3:00pm | Home Brewing – pourovers // Jake Sockolov, Farmer Rep.
7:00pm – Midnight | Fiesta El Compadre // Free Tacos, Beer, Wine and Live Music
9:00pm | Roaster Dedication to Sr. Raúl del Aguila, El Compadre

 
Roaster Launch Poster 1

RSVP here and bring your friends, family, and fun attitudes. We’re looking forward to celebrating with you!

 

Farmer Owned Brands on the Rise

FarmerOwned

From the Ground Up

Farmer-Owned Brands on the Rise!

By Thaleon Tremain

What do the following have in common:

Divine Chocolate, Ocean Spray, Tillamook, Organic Valley and Florida’s Natural? They are all “Farmer-Owned” brands and actively promoting it.

Farmer ownership is nothing new, of course. But only recently has farmer-ownership emerged to become a focal point of product differentiation and it’s beginning to change the way we view our food.

As you walk through your local natural foods grocery, you are likely to find several brands promoting their unique ownership structure. You might notice more products from independent local farms. You might also notice more products from farmers who have pooled their resources and, in a democratic way, organized themselves into marketing cooperatives. A prime example of a farmer-owned marketing cooperative is CROPP, best known for their Organic Valley brand of dairy products that emphasize “Farmer-Owned” on the packaging. Other popular farmer-owned brands include Cabot Creamery, Ocean Spray, Welch’s and Divine Chocolate, a company 45% owned by a cooperative of cocoa farmers in Ghana.

 

An Emerging Product Category

You can easily find Farmer-Owned brands in your local food co-op today, but this has not always been the case. Kevin Edberg, the executive director of Cooperative Development Services, observes, “What is interesting is the emergence of farmer-owned branding outside of dairy, with products like orange juice and coffee. Ocean Spray and Florida’s Natural now differentiate their brands by farmer-ownership. And note that this is not just an added feature – it truly drives to the core identity of the brand. Now that is interesting.”

I am the CEO of Pachamama Coffee, a US-based marketing cooperative 100% owned by thousands of small-scale coffee farmers around the world. In my role, I pay close attention to the marketing and promotion of “Farmer-Owned” brands. “Natural”, “Organic”, “Fair Trade” and “Eco-Friendly” are all movements that took root in the food cooperative community in the United States. Like those before it, the burgeoning Farmer-Owned movement finds its roots firmly in the cooperative community and is poised for growth.

 

Price Taker or Price Maker?

I worked for a small farmers’ cooperative in rural Bolivia while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the 1990’s. I helped to finance and market our members’ corn, peppers, beans and citrus to wholesalers in Santa Cruz – 12 hours away – through challenging mountain roads. It was not a good business. I learned first-hand that the person who often works the hardest (the farmer) is paid the least. She earns less (and faces greater risk) than the processor, who earns less than the distributor, who earns less than the marketer, who earns less than the retailer.

At that point, it became apparent to me that a great deal of the risk, and hardship, faced by small-scale farmers could be alleviated by communicating directly with end consumers via a high-quality, branded product. More than 15 years following my experiences in Bolivia, the success of cooperatives like Organic Valley only reinforce this belief.

But why does brand ownership matter to the farmer? Let’s compare the business of a rice brand to that of a rice farmer. The brand owner sets the price of his rice to include profit margins that he is willing to accept in exchange for the finished product. Most brands name a price that covers costs and provides a sustainable return on capital. On the flip side of this equation, the rice farmer has no say in the price he is offered, because no single producer can influence the market. As a result, the farmer must accept the price that is available in the market and he will do so even if it does not cover his cost of production. The difference is that the brand owner has a differentiated product that the consumer values as unique, while the farmer is selling an undifferentiated commodity on a global market, far removed from the end-consumer.

From the farmer’s point of view, Raul del Aguila, the president of Pachamama Coffee, and the general manager of the COCLA farmers’ cooperative in Quillabamba, Peru, states: “We only want a good, stable price for our coffee harvest. It’s difficult to run a business when you don’t know what the market price will be next week. To gain greater independence, our farmers need to sell more value-added products and fewer raw commodities.”

Farmers who own successful brands set their own prices and capture the benefit associated with product improvements, because they have the economic incentive to pay close attention to detail. After all, it’s their name and – in some cases – their picture on the package.

 

Know Your Farmer

Brands promoting themselves as Farmer-Owned are finding new ways to introduce the customer to the farmer. Organic Valley is perhaps the leader in this respect. The “Who’s Your Farmer” feature on their website “aims to align the independent, farmer-owned brand with consumers who share its values, spirit and dedication to local organic food. To deepen the connection between Organic Valley farmers and consumers.”

“It’s clear that the community wants to know where their milk comes from, and we want to create easy and fun ways to get to know our farmers,” said Theresa Marquez, chief marketing executive for Organic Valley.

Edberg believes that “Farmer-owned brands are making a difference and adding value by connecting with people in a more direct, visceral way. “ As you might guess, this movement is consumer-driven as much as it’s farmer-driven. There is a growing consumer demand to support small-scale family farmers of high-quality products. Whether at the farmers’ market, the food co-op or the local farm C.S.A., more people today want to know about the people and places that produce their food.

And who better to deliver this information than the farmer herself? Purchasing Farmer-Owned brands puts more power and more income into the hands of the farmer, and that is an appealing alternative for many consumers.

“It’s not just a nice thing to do,” concludes Kevin Edberg, “it’s voting for democratic control of capital in a cooperative economy.”

__

Thaleon Tremain is the Co-founder and CEO of Pachamama Coffee

Originally published in 2011 in the Cooperative Grocer

__

 

Some Leading Farmer-Owned Brands:

Chabot Creamery, http://www.cabotcheese.coop

Divine Chocolate, http://www.divinechocolateusa.com

Farmer-Direct Cooperative, http://farmerdirect.coop

Florida’s Natural, http://www.floridasnatural.com

Milk Thistle Farm, http://www.milkthistlefarm.com

Musselman’s, http://musselmans.com

Ocean Spray, http://www.oceanspray.com

Organic Prairie, http://www.organicprairie.com

Organic Valley, http://www.organicvalley.coop

Pachamama Coffee, http://www.pacha.coop

Prairie Farms, http://pficecream.com

Tillamook Cheese, http://www.tillamook.com

Welch’s, http://www.welchs.com

Westby Creamery, http://www.westbycreamery.com

 

Nicaraguan Coffee Farmer Alexa Marin’s Visit

Alexa_1

We are happy to have Alexa Marin, a small-scale coffee farmer in Nicaragua, visiting with us in Sacramento this week!

Alexa Marin — like many coffee farmers in Central America — suffered a great blow from Coffee Rust, a fungus that destroys coffee plants. The Coffee Rust arrived on Alexa’s small organic farm in 2012. Our first visit trip to her farm in Dipilto was depressing. It looked like a stick farm — plenty of coffee trees, but few leaves and no cherries, as the fungus got the better part of the farm.

Last year, Alexa came to visit us in California, as well. At the time, her coffee harvest had fallen by 90% and she was contemplating selling the farm. With encouragement and support from her cooperative, PRODECOOP, and coffee companies ETICO Imports, Thanksgiving Coffee and Pachamama Coffee Cooperative, this year Alexa was able to invest in 8,000 new coffee plants! 

Your support has created a positive impact for Alexa and her community. Thank you! Alexa is doing great and her farm is well on the way to recovery. Here is a video message from Alexa, with transcription below:

“Hello, my name is Alexa Marin and I live in Nicaragua. My cooperative is called Ramon Savilla and I am very grateful to all of you for your support in re-planting my farm. As you can see, we have made our investment! Part of this investment came from your support — thank you — this helps us to improve our quality of life. Now my sons can continue to attend high school and I am going to continue to work! We very happy and very grateful.”

Coffee Break with Sofia Vanegas in Nicaragua

How do you brew your coffee every morning? Pour-over, french press, standard coffee machine?

It’s probably quite different than how Sofia Vanegas, small-scale coffee farmer in northern Nicaragua, prepares her coffee.  Coffee culture in Nicaragua is a beautiful, meticulous process.

Watch the video below and join Sophia as she goes through her usual process of preparing coffee for herself, family, and guests. The process starts with raw, green coffee beans, and involves roasting, cooling, grinding, brewing, and finally enjoying the fresh coffee.

Sofia Vanegas is a small-scale coffee farmer in northern Nicaragua and a member-owner of PRODECOOP Cooperative.Sohpia Vanegas - Nicaragua

Want to try some for yourself? You can actually get coffee straight from Sophia’s farm here!

Let us know what you think! How do you brew your coffee? Would you want to try preparing coffee like this at home?

California Cooperative Conference

Happy Wednesday!

Are you starting to plan your weekend activities?

We sure are!

Here at Pachamama Coffee Cooperative we are excited to kick off the weekend at the 2015 California Co-op Conference .

CCoop

This conference for cooperatives is a celebration of the past years’ successes and will be packed with workshops, lectures, and events that will encourage growth and development for the cooperative movement.

We are looking forward to engaging with other cooperatives to help grow the community as well as Pachamama Coffee Cooperative

Are you a cooperative or interested in learning more about cooperatives? Feel free to check out the event website here and join us!

 

 

 

 

Why We are Proud to be a .COOP Cooperative

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”  William Shakespeare

Check out this video to see why we chose the site name Pacha.coop and are proud to be a “.coop”

 

Want to get your coffee straight from the farmers? Check out Pachamama beans here

Or try out our coffee subscription and get it shipped straight to your door every month!

We want to hear from you! What other “.coop’s” do you support?