Costa Rica Harvest Trip in January

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I went to Costa Rica for a harvest trip in January 2010. The main goal was not cupping/buying, but to look in on our ongoing projects, to see the quality of coffee selection in picking, and to get a feeling for the quality of the coming crop. Depending on whom you talk to and where they are, it is either a normal-sized harvest or a small one. One thing for sure, there is stiff competition to buy cherry from small farmers by the multi-nationals, like ECOM, Volcafe, etc. It appears they have a lot of contracts to fill, and they are paying high prices for coffee cherry. This might be great for farmers, in the short term... but if the market conditions change they might again find themselves in the same situation as the "coffee crisis" years, when the bottom fell out on market prices. I like to think that the model we work by, the fixed price one that offers a stable and much higher price (but also demands better quality) is the true, sustainable route. I think time will prove it to be so. In any case, we are very excited about the coffee producers we are working with and the new ones we are adding to our program. Thanks to Juan Ramon and Francisco and the crew at Exclusive for their great work. -Tom
Zarcero, Costa Rica
Zarcero, Costa Rica
View in the morning from the cabinas near Helsar del Zarcero, Costa Rica
View in the morning from the cabinas near Helsar del Zarcero, Costa Rica
View from the Cabinas At Llano Bonito, near Helsar
View from the Cabinas At Llano Bonito, near Helsar
Hills of Zarcero, West Valley, Costa Rica
Hills of Zarcero, West Valley, Costa Rica
Ricardo Perez at home, Zarcero
Ricardo Perez at home, Zarcero
The new dog at  Santa Lucia Mill, Zarcero
The new dog at Santa Lucia Mill, Zarcero
Christmas creche scene at the home of Ricardo Perez, Santa Lucia Mill, Zarcero
Christmas creche scene at the home of Ricardo Perez, Santa Lucia Mill, Zarcero
Ricardo Perez, his wife Cristina, and Mariana at their home
Ricardo Perez, his wife Cristina, and Mariana at their home
Santa Lucia Mill from across the way, Helsar del Zarcero
Santa Lucia Mill from across the way, Helsar del Zarcero
Francisco, Hernan Solis, and his Ping-pong-playing son
Francisco, Hernan Solis, and his Ping-pong-playing son
Hernan Solis tree house!
Hernan Solis tree house!
Hernan Solis and the view from his tree house.
Hernan Solis and the view from his tree house.
View of the Naranjo area from Hernan Solis' tree house.
View of the Naranjo area from Hernan Solis' tree house.
Francisco Mena and Hernan Solis on his farm.
Francisco Mena and Hernan Solis on his farm.
Villa Sarchi cultivar at the Hernan Solis farm
Villa Sarchi cultivar at the Hernan Solis farm
Villa Sarchi coffee cherry seeds at Hernan Solis farm
Villa Sarchi coffee cherry seeds at Hernan Solis farm
Villa Sarchi cultivar at the Hernan Solis farm.
Villa Sarchi cultivar at the Hernan Solis farm.
Ripe red and unripe green coffee cherry, Villa Sarchi, which is a offspring of Bourbon
Ripe red and unripe green coffee cherry, Villa Sarchi, which is a offspring of Bourbon
Over-ripe and ripe and green coffee cherry, all in one cluster!
Over-ripe and ripe and green coffee cherry, all in one cluster!
Villa Sarchi is dense, with many leaves and branches, and can be hard to pick.
Villa Sarchi is dense, with many leaves and branches, and can be hard to pick.
Villa Sarchi cultivar at the Hernan Solis farm
Villa Sarchi cultivar at the Hernan Solis farm
Hernan Solis farm, with an original aluminum Land Rover
Hernan Solis farm, with an original aluminum Land Rover
The Perro Bravo, at Hernan Solis farm
The Perro Bravo, at Hernan Solis farm
Blanquetta, the Persian cat of Carmen, Hernan Solis' wife
Blanquetta, the Persian cat of Carmen, Hernan Solis' wife
Claudio Salazar, Coffee Playboy.
Claudio Salazar, Coffee Playboy.
Claudio Salazar on his farm,  in Zarcero, Costa Rica
Claudio Salazar on his farm, in Zarcero, Costa Rica
Great use for an old tire, and an old ponsettia too.
Great use for an old tire, and an old ponsettia too.
Villalobos variety, Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
Villalobos variety, Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
Villalobos variety, Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
Villalobos variety, Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
Cereza a la Villalobos.
Cereza a la Villalobos.
Villalobos coffee chery photo.
Villalobos coffee chery photo.
Can't resist the pictures of ripe coffee cherries
Can't resist the pictures of ripe coffee cherries
Villalobos Typica with varying ripeness on one branch, at Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
Villalobos Typica with varying ripeness on one branch, at Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
Catuai Rojo coffee, at Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
Catuai Rojo coffee, at Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
Catuai coffee and valley view at Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
Catuai coffee and valley view at Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
Typica Villalobos. Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
Typica Villalobos. Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
View of Naranjo area from Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
View of Naranjo area from Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
Typica Villalobos new leaf is bronze color. Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
Typica Villalobos new leaf is bronze color. Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
Villa Sarchi coffee cluster, Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
Villa Sarchi coffee cluster, Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
Coffee + Giant Grapefruit at Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
Coffee + Giant Grapefruit at Claudio Salazar farm, Zarcero
Mostly full sun coffee, near Arce Caturra farm.
Mostly full sun coffee, near Arce Caturra farm.
Macho Arce Caturra!
Macho Arce Caturra!
Manuel
Manuel "Macho" Arce and his Land Rover Pickup
Caturra coffee at Manuel
Caturra coffee at Manuel "Macho" Arce
Red Caturra cultivar at the farm of Manuel
Red Caturra cultivar at the farm of Manuel "Macho" Arce
Red caturra branch, Manuel
Red caturra branch, Manuel "Macho" Arce
Manuel
Manuel "Macho" Arce
Ricardo Perez and Santa Lucia Mill
Ricardo Perez and Santa Lucia Mill