STORIES


Made With Love: Talking Coffee, Clothes and Community with Jill Lindsey

Words and Photos by Sophia Pizzo
jill lindsey, coffee, irving farm, fort greene, boutique, community

 

In Jill Lindsey’s eponymous store, her personal touch is immediately evident. From her own clothes adorning the racks, to the furniture she designed herself, everything is made with love and an attention to detail. The store sells apparel, gifts and jewelry, features a café and “secret garden” in the back, and includes a lower floor dedicated to wellness treatments.

A fashion designer by trade, Jill opened her Fort Greene store in 2014 as a way to sell her clothes, as well as to enrich the community.

“I’ve lived in this neighborhood for many years, and there weren’t a lot of options for stores or coffee," says Jill. “I thought it would be the best option to open my own store so I could sell whatever I wanted, make whatever I wanted, and I could promote my friends and other independent designers.”

 

jill lindsey, coffee, irving farm, fort greene, boutique, community

 

Jill aspires to find a happy medium between high fashion and what her customers want. “My inspiration comes from a lot of places,” says Jill. “There’s the very haute couture, luxury gowns and embellished dresses, which is always my first love. Then it came down to, ‘What do people need?’ We need quality clothes at affordable prices, we need them made with love, and we need them to be universal…I’m basically inspired by the people.”

 

jill lindsey, coffee, irving farm, fort greene, boutique, community

 

Jill has a passion for working with people and growing with the community. “A majority of the products in the store are from the neighborhood, which is amazing. Local designers and artisans will come here and we’ll meet with them and try to support them growing with us, as we continue to grow ourselves.”

Jill Lindsey also sells sandals made by artisans in Nicaragua, with whom she collaborates. “The sandals have been one of our top-selling products,” says Jill. “It’s amazing because we started out with just a few people making them, and now we just keep giving them business and growing with them, which is really special.”

 

jill lindsey, coffee, irving farm, fort greene, boutique, community

 

Collaboration and growth extends to every aspect of Jill’s store, including the café where she proudly serves Irving Farm’s Blackstrap Espresso. “It’s delicious! We’ve been serving it since we opened. We love Irving Farm,” raves Jill. “It is one of the most incredible companies that I have ever done business with, and I feel very fortunate. I really wanted to have a coffee that was stand-out and awesome, sustainable, and all that goodness."

 

jill lindsey, coffee, irving farm, fort greene, boutique, community

 

The store also boasts a calendar chock full of events, which range from kid’s sing-alongs to crafting workshops and beauty bars. “I don’t know if there’s one that’s my favorite, because every single one is so special,” says Jill. The event calendar, like many of Jill’s endeavors, grew out of a passion for the Fort Greene community. “I wanted to be able to give this street some love…it’s just nice to give this community something to do, something that’s going to enrich their lives and give them an experience. And for the people that I’m working on the events with, it gives them the opportunity to make a dream come true, or do something they’ve always wanted to do.”

 

jill lindsey, coffee, irving farm, fort greene, boutique, community

 

Jill Lindsey has continued to grow with the community, and will be growing even further to include a new location in Malibu, California at the end of June. “I think it’s been a true testament to following your dreams and doing something with passion and love, so we’re just gonna keep doing it!”

 

jill lindsey, coffee, irving farm, fort greene, boutique, community

 

Jill Lindsey

370 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205

www.jilllindsey.com/

 

Gracie's Photo Diary: Las Capucas, Copan, Honduras

Gracie Pizzo has been with Irving Farm since her barista days in 2008, and is now the company's Creative Director.

In February, I was invited to visit the Las Capucas Co-op in Copan, Honduras — one of Irving Farm’s longest-standing relationships — to learn more about how we directly source coffee. It was my first trip to coffee's origin, and it was amazing to see the very coffee we just received at our Roastery in its earliest stages of life. I had the opportunity to meet the producers and visit the homes and farms of our Los Lirios and Platanares coffees. Our super-popular Capucas coffee is a blend of coffees from multiple farmers at the co-op. Buying from Capucas supports the organization's own school and clinic, and their commitment to organic farming and sustainable community initiatives.

 

I’ll never forget this experience! Here are a few photos from the trip:

las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade

las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade

las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade

las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade

las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade
las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade

las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade
Coffee from field to the cupping room in Copan, Honduras

las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade

las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade

las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade
José Francisco, aka "Pancho". Coffee Producer: Platanares

 

las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade
Pancho's daughter, Lourdes Villeda, and her daughter.
Lourdes is a barista at Café Capucas, where they serve their own coffee.
 las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade
Inside Jose Luis Rivera's solar dryer.  Coffee Producer: Los Lirios
Jose Luis's daughter is pictured in front.
las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade
Jose Luis's house

las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade

las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade

las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade

las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade
Exploring the Co-op

las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade

las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade
Driving through Santa Rosa, Honduras to visit the Beneficio (mill) from which the coffee is shipped 

las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade
Cupping at the Beneficio Santa Rosa, Honduras

 las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade

las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade

Coffee waiting to be milled and shipped. Pictured: Dan Streetman, our green coffee buyer, with Omar Rodriguez, manager of Las Capucas

- -

photos by Gracie Pizzo (pictured second from left)

las capucas copan honduras irving farm coffee roasters new york origin beans sustainability direct trade

 2016

 

 



It's Earth Day!

We're green with glee over Earth Day today, a day to celebrate our planet and take pride in the work we do this day and every day at Irving Farm to contribute to a more sustainable planet. From working directly with farms to encourage agriculture that's both conscientiously grown and delicious to drink to reducing our own roasting emissions and working to offset deforestation locally and globally, we've got our eye on the earth and our feet on the green grassy ground.


Globally, we seek out coffees that are not only farmed with quality in mind but sustainability. 85% of the coffee we buy is grown under shade, which contributes to carbon sequestration and prevents deforestation for coffee cultivation. We buy coffee from cooperatives like the Capucas co-op in Honduras which supports not only clinics and schools, but community initiatives like composting and harvesting honey to stimulate the bee population.

loring roaster irving farm coffee millerton hudson valley sustainability

Locally, we focus on lessening our negative impact on the earth every day, from compostable iced coffee cups and biodegradeable to-go utensils in all our stores to operating a brand new, high-efficiency Loring coffee roaster that uses 90% less gas than other roasters and planting native grasses on the lands at our new roasting space. The ingredients we serve in our cafes are locally sourced whenever possible, with all our milk coming from pasture-raised, New York State cows. Last year, we introduced New-York-made Pumpkin Seed Milk as an alternative to almond milk, which had a much higher environmental cost. We compost all our organic matter, and, of course, encourage our customers to bring their own reusable mugs by offering a discount whenever they do.

rainforest foundation coffee irving farm earth sustainability

And if you'd like to make it even more local, like in your own kitchen? Order a bag of our Rainforest Foundation Project coffee, a fully organic blend whose proceeds benefit the Rainforest Foundation, founded in 1989 by Sting and Trudie Styler. We donate $1 per each bag sold directly to the Foundation. We've donated $4,900 to the foundation since last Earth Day, enough to protect 1010 acres of rainforest, or the size Central Park. To date, we've donated more than $16,000 to the Rainforest Foundation, protecting more than three Central Parks worth of trees. 

As lovers of coffee, we can't but love the earth that gives it to us. Celebrate with us today with your conscious choices—and of course, a delicious cup of sustainably grown coffee.

On Amaro Gayo

Irving Farm's Director of Wholesale, Teresa von Fuchs, has had the opportunity to visit coffee farms in a few different parts of the world—it's not, as they say, her first rodeo. But a recent trip to Ethiopia with our Coffee Buyer, Dan Streetman, to visit the Amaro Gayo coffee farms belonging to our producing partner Asnakech Thomas, opened her eyes into the past and future of coffee as just part of the greater social and agricultural landscape. Read on... 

Amaro Gayo

When I teach classes or conduct trainings about coffee, I always stress that coffee comes from far away, that it’s exotic and we shouldn’t take it for every-day-granted. When I had the opportunity earlier this year to travel to Ethiopia, and specifically to visit coffee producer Asnakech Thomas at Amaro Gayo, this truth was so clear. And although I’d been to other coffee-growing countries, Ethiopia was truly like nothing I’d ever seen before. It took almost 3 hours to drive to Amaro Gayo from Yirgacheffe, a distance of only about 50 kilometers (as the crow flies) along rough, dirt and gravel roads. The landscape alternated from lush and green to dry rolling desert then back again. The spare number of buildings we passed were mostly hand-constructed in the local style from organic materials, and some had intricate designs carved into the wooden windows. We passed beautiful mosques and Christian churches, built out of corrugated metal, or occasionally stone. Our fellow travelers along the road were almost all on foot herding cattle, sheep, or goats, or leading a mule piled with water, or sacks of grain, or coffee. Some rode handmade carts attached to mules piled with building materials, like long sticks, or more sacks of grain or firewood, or more people. We passed motorbikes with up to three or four riders, also carrying goods.

On Amaro Gayo

Wearing two pairs of glasses on her head, Asnakech was sorting coffee with about 20 other women on the porch of her coffee storage facility when we arrived. She shared that they were resorting 40,000 lbs (one container's worth) of coffee because she had been unsatisfied by the sorting done by the processor in Addis. The women were seated, with large metal trays on their laps with small piles of green coffee. They sorted out the defects and rejects into smaller pails and the newly sorted coffee into separate bags. They had removed their shoes before coming onto the porch and a large piece of burlap covered their feet. The material was to ensure that no coffee was dropped onto the floor of the porch and that anything that was dropped could be added back to one of the sacks in the center of the porch to be sorted. Asnakech estimated it would take them all about 20 days to sort through this last container. From there she switched the sunglasses from the top of her head to her eyes and invited us to walk through the mill and then her farm.  We were late in the season, and the harvest had happened earlier in the year than usual. Mill workers were already cleaning up the raised beds, replacing older posts, and cleaning the mill. From the mill, we walked through parts of the farm and she explained that the rains stopped too early this year, and sadly many of the cherries on the trees were not able to fully mature. Total production was down nearly 50% because of this and had increased her costs with the extra sorting. She told us that it was the hardest year of her 11 on the farm so far, but "c’est la vie" she shrugged—what could she do? 

Amaro Gayo

Well, actually, during the rest of the walk and the day, we learned how much she was doing. We walked down to the river just outside the lowest part of her farm. She explained that this was the primary water source for this area and though it was running strong now, by the time her trees needed the water, it would dry up. So she’s building an irrigation project at the top of the hill. She was still working on funding to build it when we visited, but the hope is that building the irrigation system and rain collection tanks will allow for a backup water supply so the trees and her harvest don’t suffer like they did this year. She also showed us the pruning techniques she had been developing, the fertilizer they create from the coffee pulp byproducts in the wet process, how they dry and package coffee leaves, and the husks they save from the naturally processed coffee to sell to the local market as teas. She then walked us through a small nursery that was planted by some of her trainees.  Asnakech hosts trainings once per year for other local farmers, on everything from farm management to how to produce coffee for quality, not just quantity.

On Amaro Gayo

We walked back to the porch and coffee storage building and shared a lunch of injera, lentils and many small cups of coffee with her and her workers while she told us about all the other projects she’s working on. Along with training other local farmers, Asnakech also trains the women in her area, many of whom are the farmer’s wives who end up doing much of the farm work. She trains them not just in farming, but in banking. In her region there had never been a bank and not much reason for a bank to open, because no one wanted to use one. She convinced a bank to open in her town, and in her trainings she created an ID system where husband and wife both get cards and she pays them separately for the cherry that meets her quality spec. This way the women have an income and, potentially, savings. She stressed the importance of this because in her area women have no property rights to their husband’s land. Typically if something happens to a woman’s husband they cannot keep their land and thereby lose their income. With the bank, they can at least save a share. Since the bank has opened she’s also working with all the locals to open accounts and use the bank to secure funding for projects that could help them create more profitable futures. She said even small things, like the capital needed for an out-building to store their coffee and protect it from the elements and animals, can make a huge impact on a small landholders' earning potential. 

Amaro Gayo Africa

She’s also working with her community to create alternative revenue streams, such as setting up honeybee hives and teaching people how to collect and sell the honey. She worked with a group of local women to produce pottery that she hopes they’ll be able to bring to market next year.  And she’s working on introducing new crops to her area like adzuki beans. She has also worked with a partner to create an HIV awareness program. She explained that though HIV is a huge health issue in her region, there was no local knowledge of what the disease is and how it is transmitted. She runs the program during her employees’ work days at no cost to them and incentivizes that everyone in her area go through the program yearly. Another project she’d like to complete is to build a hospital. The closest facility is hours away. It could take an ambulance days to arrive and almost no locals have vehicles. Asnakech has dreamed about being able to open a hospital in Amaro since she was a little girl and listened to her older sister suffer for days and finally die in childbirth. When we were there she’d secured a site but had been disappointed as funding kept falling through. 

Amaro Gayo Africa

What was most obvious and moving to me was that Asnakech’s passion for her coffee was a larger expression of her passion and pride in her region and people. She spent years lobbying the agriculture minister in Addis to study her area’s coffee trees. Every time they refused, saying that her trees were most likely the same as the ones 40 kilometers away. She insisted they weren’t and finally offered to pay for the research project herself. Once there, the scientists discovered 58 new varieties which had never been seen before. She continues to pay for the project to study and cultivate her unique varieties. She named her farm for her region and her tribe, Amaro—which she said no one had really heard of until coffee people started traveling to visit her and discover why her coffee is so unique—and Gayo, a waterfall in the area.  The legend is that Gayo is the place where sacred water collects into a waterfall, and this water was used to anoint the king of her tribe. When I caught the first aroma of this latest crop of Amaro Gayo coming off the grinder, it made me think that all of Asnakech’s work is like the sacred water collecting, ready to spill over,  her beautiful coffee, like her spirit, anointing the world.

Blue Hill, Dan Barber and Coffee Get WastED

wastED photography by Daniel Krieger

Photograph by Daniel Krieger

Last month, Irving Farm Coffee Roasters was delighted to participate in Blue Hill's transformation into wastED, a one of a kind pop-up restaurant that invited diners to reconsider food waste while some of the country's top chefs daringly innovated their way through 600 pounds of ugly vegetables (including 350 pounds vegetable pulp), 150 pounds of kale ribs, 30 gallons of beef tallow, 475 pounds of skate cartilage and 900 pounds of waste-fed pigs, creating 10,000 unique dishes over the course of three weeks. Irving Farm's contribution was cascara, also known as the skin or husk of the coffee cherry. When coffee is de-pulped, the discarded cascara is traditionally composted and repurposed as fertilizer (or ends up as a pollutant in the surrounding waterways) but it also contains a delicious mucilage with a sweet, earthy flavor and up to 25% of the caffeine found in a normal cup of coffee. The Ortiz Herrera family at Finca Talnamica in El Salvador generously hand-picked and sun-dried 150 pounds of cascara from their Bourbon plants for this event, and producers Hermann and Nena Mendez were able to dine at wastED with their daughter, Mayita, who has worked for Irving Farm since 2013. Their Talnamica coffee was recently featured in our limited edition Horchata Chocolate Bar from Raaka Chocolate, and it was thrilling to see the husks turned into a delicious infusion that challenged us to rethink the idea of after-dinner coffee. All of this was made possible by the incomparable Dan Barber, chef and co-owner of Blue Hill in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, NY. We count ourselves very lucky to partner with chefs who are deeply committed to understanding and honoring the scope of how food is grown, prepared and consumed—physically, intellectually and emotionally. Dan is at the forefront of this conversation and our Director of Wholesale, Teresa von Fuchs, was able to chat with him about a few of his takeaways at the conclusion of wastED. 

wastED-kitchen_Dan-Barbe-Daniel-Krieger-Photographer

Photograph by Daniel Krieger

TvF: What was your aim behind the wastED pop up? DB: One goal was can we create something that disrupts our daily routine, wakes us up and really focuses our efforts? I really believe that in cooking (as well as in life, but I don’t give advice about life) you only become better by working outside your comfort zone. And wastED was hard. It stretched us as a restaurant and built camaraderie in really surprising ways. Another aim was to really wear our heart on our sleeves more everyday. Whether we were pushing this agenda because of environmental reasons or economic reasons, could we really highlight our use of craft and not hide the fact that restaurants work to use as much of every ingredient as possible everyday?

wastED-beef-tallow-candle-Noah-Fecks-Photographer

Beef tallow candle at wastED. Photograph by Noah Fecks.

TvF: You mentioned camaraderie. Was one impetus of including guest chefs to help spread the mission? DB: Not at all. Our intent wasn’t to inspire other kitchens but to recognize that this is what Chefs are already doing everyday in their kitchens. Actually we were all a little surprised by the interest! The crazy long lines late at night and all the social media attention. Also that we attracted such younger crowds. It feels like we’ve given the restaurant a new life. TvF: Irving Farm helped source a special cascara (or coffee cherry) preparation for the coffee course. What was your first reaction when you tried it? DB: I really fell in love with it. The fullness of the sweetness was just so surprising. It was really a revelation. I remember standing in the kitchen with Adam Kaye, our Chef and Kitchen director at Stone Barns, and being totally amazed by the flavor. It was one of my top three experiences in this whole process. I can’t wait to keep using it. I want to cook with it. TvF: That’s fantastic! We’re so happy we could share it with you. Now that the pop-up is over, how has it changed—or will it change—the menu at Blue Hill? DB: We’re still figuring that out. I’d really like to keep pushing how we can wear our heart on our sleeve. Most of our menu already addresses waste, so how can we keep calling attention to it without losing diners’ enthusiasm. I hope we keep working on it together.

Huge thanks to Chef Dan, Finca Talnamica and everyone who took the plunge with us at wastED. Stay tuned for more cascara collaborations popping up around the city in the coming months!

Introducing Las Peñas!

Las Penas

You're in your kitchen, barely awake or clothed, with a bag of Irving Farm coffee standing between an Auto-drip and French press, as though choosing between two lovers. Which one will it be? What are you in the mood for? Which brewing method will produce the perfect cup to make more important decisions seem far less complex than this one? Add to this the layers and layers of factors that determine how your coffee tastes. You can take the same varietal and plant it on two different continents, or in two different countries, or two regions within the same country, or two farms in the same region, or one farm at different elevations. But what if you took the same coffee and planted it on the same farm at the same elevation and the only difference is that you took the harvest and dried half in the sun as is—just a beautiful, plump coffee cherry catching some rays—and the other half with only the skin removed? How different could the taste possibly be once the beans are roasted and brewed?  

Las Penas - Irving Farm

We're very lucky to offer you the chance to taste this difference with our brand new Nicaraguan coffees, La Peña Miel and La Peña Natural. This Yellow Catuai variety is grown in northern Nicaragua, near the Honduras border, by Luis Alberto Ballardez. When he dries the coffee au naturel, the sugars from the fruit and skin migrate directly into the seed, producing a very concentrated flavor profile, so La Peña Natural explodes with the intensity of Pixy Stix. It provides a delightful jolt, much in the same way dried fruit can really zing and pop. Since La Peña Miel is dried with the skin removed, but the sticky mucilage in tact, it's considered a "pulp natural" or "honey" process. The sugars from the fruit still infuse the seed with sweetness, but it produces a more refined cup in which the deeper notes of chocolate and almond can come through. Both Las Peñas are dynamic and full of personality, and it's fun to taste firsthand how incredibly unique the same coffee can present under slightly different drying processes. Some days call for the relaxed familiarity of La Peña Miel, and others need La Peña Natural to dance around in that red party dress to get things going. Your mornings just got way more interesting, and don't worry, the Auto-drip and French press will be thrilled to have both Las Peñas sisters in your cup. Introducing Las Penas

Celebrate Earth Day With Rainforest Foundation Project!

 

At Irving Farm we're in constant pursuit of not only delicious, but sustainable coffees that give back to the earth that's generous enough to grow it, on Earth Day and every day. Today, April 22nd, try a bag of our Rainforest Foundation Project coffee, a fully USDA organic certified, Bird-Friendly and Fair Trade blend made from a harmony of beautiful coffees from Honduras and Peru. When you purchase a bag of Rainforest Foundation Blend coffee, $1 from the sale of each bag will go to our friends at the Rainforest Foundation, an organization we're proud to partner with, and even prouder to share with you, this Earth Day. Or if you're local, come try a cup in one of our cafes, where we're featuring it today, and pay for the price of only a small when you bring in your earth-friendly reusable cups. With steps like these we can celebrate Earth Day year-round. In the New York City area, you can also try it at Astor Row Cafe, McEnroe Organic, Union Market on 7th Avenue in Brooklyn, or at selected Whole Foods stores in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.

Celebrating Honduran Coffees

   

Honduras is a very special coffee producing country. For many farming families, producing coffee is still a new vocation: as such, there's a palpable energy and passion for the newness of this wonderful crop. In our travels to Honduras, it's been absolutely magical to watch Honduras transform, and work alongside producers as they try new things, working to bring their coffee to exemplary levels worthy of demanding, high-quality purchasers. To celebrate our current roster, enjoy 10% off these Honduran coffees* now through 2/20:    

 

CAPUCAS, HONDURAS The town of Capucas is home to just over 80 families who produce coffee. Throughout town, coffee plantations border small homes, with vegetable gardens and chickens loose in the yard. Many of the farmers also have small “micro-mills” to process their coffees, and then sell through the co-op.  

LOS LIRIOS, HONDURAS Los Lirios means The Lilies and is the home of Jose Luis Rivera and his family in western Honduras. The Riveras are members of the Capucas co-op, and for years have sold their coffee through the cooperative. Recently, they established a small mill on the farm, and started processing their own coffee.

 LOS PLATANARES, HONDURAS Pancho has been growing coffee for more than 20 years, mostly selling his crop to the local co-op. His wife and five children live on the farm, and the whole family is passionate about coffee. Pancho's intimate connection to his coffee is an inspiration, and so is this micro-lot Los Platanares: an inspiration in the cup.

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