The Castellon family were supposed to be found in the barrio of Payacuca in the town of Tarragona, Colombia. We have been drinking and selling a lot of their coffee lately, and I wanted a chance to thank them for their great efforts and give them money as part of Think Coffee’s Farmer Dividend™ program. I was also looking forward to introducing myself and our company, and to learning about their lifestyle and farming practices.
Ten minutes after landing in Managua, I learned there was no such town as Tarragona. I asked an attendant at the airport if maybe it wasn’t on the map. She thought maybe I meant Terrabona, which she said she thought she remembered she’d heard it was located in the general region I was describing. “Okay,” I said. “How do I get there?” “You can’t,” was her response. “Go to Dario. Ask someone there.”
The Castellons live in Payacuca, which is a large region of mountains and not a barrio of a small town. I am still surprised that I was somehow able to find the Castellon farm. I emerged from the mountains dehydrated and shivering. They gave me water, food and, of course, coffee. They also wondered why a skinny white guy had just crawled up the mountains all day to their front porch and asked for Luis Bojorge Castellon. We spent the rest of the evening discussing it.
Coincidentally, the head of the 8 de Julio Cooperative (of which the Castellons are a member) was there that night. I learned that our “Castellon coffee” was actually 8 de Julio coffee. I also learned that not one member of our supply chain had ever been to this farm. They were incredibly happy someone would bother to come learn about them. In turn they were interested in Think Coffee and our business practices. The head of the family, Don Luis, gathered his children and showed me the farm. Horses, cattle, grass, tomatoes, a really nice out-house. There was also coffee.
The coffee cooperative called 8 de Julio consists of 35 farming families. Five of these families grow organically, and each of their farms are connected on a combined area of only five square kilometers. Together, their coffee almost fills a single shipping container. Each farm grows and processes its coffee separately. It is for business purposes they join forces, in order to be able to get their great coffee on the market. Please try the Nicaraguan coffee from our Single Source menu. It’s thick with sticky tamarind, sensuous vanilla, and Central American spice.
We are working to get a temporary visa for Norvin Castellon, Don Luis’ only son. He wants to come and experience our side of the business and talk about his family’s farm. These are beautiful, friendly people with whom I am very excited to work in the future. I felt like anyone would have been welcome to show up on their porch. If you’re considering it, though, maybe contact me and make sure. I can only think of one person who is not welcome. You know who you are.