Jared Carlson—Director of Innovation and Business Development— and Ryan Hatt —Business Development Manager—recently returned from a visit to Peru, where they met with some of the coffee farmers who grow our Arbor Day Specialty Coffee. The following is a recap of their adventures, as recorded by Ryan.
After a long journey, we arrived in Moyobamba —a city located in northeastern Peru in the center of the Amazon jungle. This being our first trip to Moyobamba, the first thing we noticed was the lush jungle and oppressive humidity.
Our first morning we met with the member farmers of the up-and-coming Aproeco coffee co-op. Although Aproeco is a newer organization, their passion for growing high-quality coffee and protecting the environment was evident through their efforts in educating farmers on sustainable farming practices, among others.
One of the farmers, Benedigto Montanero Mellan, gave us a tour of his shade-grown coffee farm. A mix of young and mature trees native to the area covered the farm. Protecting the coffee and the land was very important to Benedigto since he, like many other farmers, depend on both for his livelihood.
While touring Benedigto’s farm, we came across mushrooms growing among the coffee called “orejas” because they look like ears. He picked them, welcomed us into his home, started a wood fire and began cooking. As Benedigto prepared a meal of orejas and plantains for dinner, we explained the mission of the Arbor Day Foundation and the importance of farmers growing shade-grown coffee to protect the environment and provide habitat to rare plant and animal species.
Our trip to the rain forest was eye-opening. We realize that in addition to visiting the farms, it is important to thank the farmers in person for their work and to encourage them to continue their sustainable farming practices. In many cases, we were the first people from the U.S. that the farmers had ever met—all because they are growing coffee in the shade. Please tell us what you enjoy about Arbor Day Specialty Coffee.