As its name describes it, this farm is a jewel in the heart of the coffee republic, in the western part of El Salvador. In the city of Apaneca, 189 Hectars of pure Bourbon is 100% grown under native shade trees, in full harmony with the environment and high degree of social responsibility. All activities at the farm are in accordance to the Rainforest Certification.
The most impressive thing with coffees from Salaverria is the overall quality of picking: deep blood red and uniform color. Considering the volumes they are doing in total it is pretty amazing!
The coffees are for the most part processed based on trials and adjustments we made at the wet mill. They are using eco pulpers called Jotagallo that are doing about 80% mechanical demucilaging. Their standard procedure is to take the parchment from the pulpers directly to the patio for drying.
Agronomy and plant treatment
Leaf rust has been one of the major challenges for farmers in El Salvador the last years. Many producers are now giving up and are abandoning their farms. The Salaverrias have worked the last 8 years to regenerate the soil through usage of Huisil (organic compost/fertilizer) as a soil regenerator.
Jose Antonio Senior is one of the founders of the Huisil factory, where they produce fertilizer based on organic waste. 40% is coffee pulp, the rest is from fish, meat, chicken dung, bones and plants. It smells terrible during production. But after dried and made in to pellets it’s fine, and it really works! We have actually tasted some trials with 100% organic fertilizer (Huisil) and it also seems to improve the flavors. Problem is that with the aggressive leaf rust attacks it’s a gamble. And they can loose a lot of their production if they don’t use the traditional fertilizers in the mix.
According to Jose Antonio junior, that is managing the agronomy side, it’s about making the plants healthy, strong and recistant. This is what they currently do:
Using 50% huisil in all farms as well as nitrogen to develop new growth and potassium for the bean to grow and develop. They also use a combination of boron, sink, sulfer and magnesium.In June/July they need a complete mix to get the plant handle the development of beans, and to stay strong. They apply two complex mixes and one pure nitrogen.
They also apply 5 – 6 foliers. Systemic fungeside, thriatol something…. that are absorbed by branches and make them more immune against deseases. It can be combined with copper folier depending on the leaf rust. Copper creates a layer to prevent for leaf rust, but doesn’t kill the rust thats already there. This can also be mixed with fertilzing compounds. In some cases they also add melasses as polysaccarides to help the plant with energy and foliers to be efficient.
For pruning they experiment with different pruning and stumping methods. It can vary in different altitudes and with different cultivars.Still, for many of the farms with Bourbons they have mainly gone back to the old “parra” method where they bend down the mother stems and allow up to four new shoots develop in to smaller trees on each stem. One old tree can cover a couple of square meters and they become very productive if you do it right. And it looks great!
Sustainability and social responsability
- 60 % of production is Rain Forest Certified. They do it to maintain the environment and ensure social responsibility.
- Give significant bonuses to farm managers based on the performance of the coffees and premiums they get.
- Have as much permanent staff as possible that allows them to maintain a lojal work force. 50 – 60 people lives on their farms.
- Better salaries for the pickers. They try to implement an environmental work athmosphere and good work ethics.
- By creating good systems they help workers to be efficient so they can leave earlier. And that way be more comfortable.
- Create work safety education
- Provide housing for casual workers in San Francisco.
- Health care for workers – doctors visiting the farms.
- Paying the local clinics for medical care of their workers.
They also built two medical clinics in Atacco and are supporting them financially and donated land to two other clinics for the government.
Donated a site for the school in San Francisco and are building a soccer field.
The grandfather donated the site to the hospital in Ahuachapan
The tradition and culture of the family is generally to do a lot of charity for the local communities.