STORIES


Natamaya, El Salvador | Partner Spotlight

Committed, long-term partnerships are important to us, and our partnership with Natamaya is a great example of one.

In 2012, Nena Mendez, a 5th generation El Salvadoran coffee producer, walked into our 79th st cafe and noticed a mural from the farm next to her family farm, Finca Talnamica. She invited our green buyer, Dan Streetman, to visit the farm she owns with her husband Hermann, Natamaya, on his next trip to El Salvador.

In addition to the farm, Dan also got to see the Mendez family’s passion; a place in Juayua called Canton Ojo de Agua, where they have worked with the non-profit SQ Foundation to establish a school, living accomodations, soccer fields and a medical clinic.

Natamaya is named for Nena and Hermann’s daughters, Mayita and Natalia. In the 1950s their grandparents, Alfredo and Bessita Ortiz Mancia, purchased Natamaya’s sister farm, Finca Talnamica. Mayita started with Irving Farm as a barista at the shop that Nena originally visited and now is our Strategic Partnership manager and an integral part of our coffee team. All photos in this post are from her archives.

We donate $1 from each bag of Natamaya sold to support the SQ Foundation and their work in Canton Ojo de Agua. Donate here.

 

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Platanares, Honduras | Partner Spotlight

Platanares, named for the plantain trees that shade the coffee plants, is a farm in Copan, Honduras. It is owned by Jose Francisco Villeda Torres--known affectionately as Panchito--who is one of the founding members of Cooperativa Cafetalera Capucas Limitada (COCAFCAL), one of the most tightly organized co-ops in Central America.

Panchito lives on the Platanares farm, which he bought over 25 years ago, with his wife, his 4 daughters, and 3 grandchildren. He has slowly increased the size of his land from .5 manzanas to 3 manzanas (A manzana is roughly 1.7 acres). 

The autonomy of the farm and its journey from being a co-op member to trading directly is a cooperative success story. In 2011, Panchito entered a bag of coffee in the co-op’s competition and won first place. His coffee had improved 1 place per year in the competition until that year.

Since then he has grown to producing up to 30 bags a year and slowly built his micro-mill, improving it incrementally. We have bought his coffee every year since. In 2012, his trees were hit hard by leaf rust, but our green buyer committed to paying him a premium so that he could fight the rust and save his farm. The farm has made a full recovery and the quality is even better than before.

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