santiago telavera - la estancia
Santiago was tipped by a cousin about roughly 9 hectares of unused land in the rural 'El Dominico' community. The initial visit certainly sparked Santiago's interest, as an agronomist he would surely know what to do with this land. It was not only the economic potential that was attractive, the mountain ridge has an absolutely stunning view of the lands below.
From day one it was Santiago's vision to produce quality coffee, hence the catuaí and caturra. Growing the more vulnerable caturra has been a challenge, coffee leaf rust needs frequent pesticides to be prevented and or killed. However, Santiago also works for a NGO on climate change and is very well aware of the impact of certain agricultural practices. Thus, to minimize his impact he mixes chemical and organic pesticides, a process of trial and error.
La Estancia refers to 'the residence' or 'the stay', referring to the solitude of the farm. On my visit the the farm that name became very clear. This is the last building on the mountain ridge before the steep descend, on which the plantation is built. It makes for a gorgeous view, and some serious challenges. Coffee is picked for 2-3 days in 15-day cycles and pre-dried on basic raised beds. Afterwards, coffee is transported to the collection station in Jinotega from which its transported to Ocotal.
In the future Santiago would like to expand and diversify the farm, some 1.200 maragogype trees are currently in the nursery. Furthermore, he wants to upgrade the very basic wet mill for cleaner and more consistent quality. Upon seeing this wetmill I was honestly surprised of the great quality it already produces, with improved infrastructure it can only get better.
El Dominico, Jinotega
1100 - 1200 meters above sea level
Catuaí & caturra
9 hectares. 3.5 cultivated & 5.5 preserved