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.