As we enter our fifth year working with Finca El Arrayan, we have encountered the ups and downs that come with any relationship. One of the farm’s greatest assets is it’s location – high altitude, volcanic soil, ideal microclimate. Unfortunately, the farm’s greatest weakness is also it’s location – previously a FARC stronghold, Ituango is now caught in the post-conflict crosshairs. While the peace treaty brought an agreement between the government and FARC, it has opened the door for new armed groups to move in, each vying for a slice of the illicit enterprise left behind.
While residents of the area were previously accustomed to the social codes of war, the post-conflict environment has ushered in uncertainty and turbulence as different groups grapple for power. People now live with a bag packed, ready to leave on short notice, and there have already been a few displacements in the last two years. With one happening during the harvest in January last year, Jhon and his family had to leave everything behind, including cherries already picked, as they moved to the town seeking protection from the police.
On a more positive note, the quality of what Jhon has been able to harvest and process was not affected. He doubled down to make the most of the time he had.
Three years ago Jhon planted a few Gesha coffee trees. This year we are very excited about offering the first harvest of this varietal.
Jhon is no stranger to the turbulence of the area. Like many others, his family fell victim to the decades of violence with two of his brothers being kidnapped, one of them being killed. He persisted then and continues to now. Watching the strength and tenacity of Jhon and other farmers in this region has us more committed than ever, regardless of the challenges.
Lingering, citrus, sugar cane, maple syrup.