Las Brisas de Apante is located in the Cerro Apante Natural Reserve at altitudes ranging between 1100 to 1250 meters in the mountains above Matagalpa, Nicaragua. We currently have approximately 15 acres planted in coffee including mature as well as just planted areas. Varieties include Java, Bourbon, Caturra, and Catuai rojo. We have recently purchased an adjoining farm which was abandoned since the revolution. Getting it renovated and producing will keep us out of trouble for a long time.
We have 12 full time workers spread between coffee, dairy operations and cheese making. All live within walking distance. Almost all the cheese is sold right off the farm to passers-by. During coffee harvest, we tend to have around 12 to 15 additional workers picking, also local neighbors. Our pay scale is above the norm, and we help with medical emergencies and medium term loans (home improvements, school uniforms etc)
We process our coffee by three different methods; conventional washed, pulp natural (semi lavado) and full natural (cereza madura). We process our picked coffee using bicycle powered dispulper due to the unreliability of electric power, and not wanting to listen to a diesel motor as is norm in coffee country.
The small amount of water used in processing our conventional coffee is processed in sequentially cleaner treatment ponds, while the pulp is converted into organic fertilizer after mixing with manure and lime.
We are unusual in that we live full-time on our farm. Usually the owner lives in town, or Managua, and comes up occasionally, more frequently during harvest. We have coffee with our workers every morning, give work assignments and review completed work. We are part of our community; everyone knows and greets us; Kay is the treasurer of local drinking water committee, since she is the only person everyone trusts with the funds. So much for the “Yankee, enemy of humanity” stereotype.