MICROLOT FEATURE: PERU
Union y Fe’s Valle del Condor
There is a very special coffee growing region in Peru; the San Ignacio Province, located in the Northern Peruvian Amazon close to the border of Ecuador. The area is known as the land of coffee, honey and natural forests. For half of every year*, Nossa Familia is lucky to source the organic coffee we use for Augusta's Organic Breakfast and Camila’s Organic from a great cooperative in this region - Union y Fe.
Union y Fe's best producers - who take extra pride in growing outstanding coffee - produce a special lot each year, called the ‘Valle del Condor Microlot.’ The name pays homage to pre-Inca drawings of condors that can be found on the mountain where Union y Fe farmers grow their coffee. We were introduced to the cooperative and their coffee by our friends at Sustainable Harvest.
* Due to seasonality, our organic coffee is sourced from Peru for half of the year and from UPC in Guatemala for the remainder.
ABOUT UNION Y FE
FROM SUSTAINABLE HARVEST
A young cooperative, Union y Fe has 216 producers who farm a total of 873 hectares of certified coffee, of which 650 are FTO and cultivated under the shade of fruit and forest trees. It's through this shade-grown method that Union y Fe is able to preserve the natural environment in which they farm and comply with organic production standards.
It's through this shade-grown method that Union y Fe is able to preserve the natural environment in which they farm and comply with organic production standards.
Although just a few years old, Union y Fe has a strong mission and vision for what they want to accomplish as a producer organization. As a group, they strive to generate wellbeing for both their member families and the environment through coffee production. One of the key ways they accomplish this is through the technical assistance they provide to their members. Expert agronomists train members in agronomic best practices, pest control, soil analysis, fertilization, certification compliance, harvesting, and post-harvest processing. They also help members maintain food security by showing them how to raise small animals and maintain vegetable gardens.
Longer term, Union y Fe's vision is to become a leader in Peruvian coffee production, and this is where their commitment to quality comes into play. Armed with learnings from their agronomic team, Union y Fe producers hand pick only the ripest cherries, and immediately de-pulp and ferment them for 15-30 hours. They are then dried individually by producers on covered raised beds for 10-18 days, until the coffee reaches optimal humidity in the 10.5-12% range. It is then delivered by each individual producer to Union y Fe's warehouse, which has been carefully designed to preserve quality until the coffee can be transported to the regional dry mill and exported.
OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH SUSTAINABLE HARVEST
Sustainable Harvest is a specialty coffee importer based in Portland, Oregon. The company’s mission is to improve the livelihoods of coffee-farming families around the globe through its Relationship Coffee model. Since its founding in 1997, the company has partnered with over 200,000 smallholder farmers, helping them gain access to premium markets and increased incomes. In 2008 Sustainable Harvest became the first coffee importer to obtain a B Corp certification.
Photos: Sustainable Harvest (left to right) Oscar Gonzales, Head of Office, Peru; Coffee Farmer with Sustainable Harvest Founder, David Griswold
"the more businesses that are pushing for positive change and leading by example, the better off the world"
Nossa Familia’s founder, Augusto, credits Sustainable Harvest as a major source of inspiration behind his decision to pursue a B Corp certification. When Augusto attended one the company’s 'Let's Talk Coffee' events, Sustainable Harvest’s founder, David Griswold, encouraged Augusto to apply for certification. Like Nossa Familia, Sustainable Harvest believes that “the more businesses that are pushing for positive change and leading by example, the better off the world” and that this is especially true “in coffee where sustainable, transparent and ethical business practices must become the norm if the industry is to not only survive but thrive over the next few decades.”
Read more about Sustainable Harvest and what being a B Corp has meant for them and other like-minded coffee companies in their blog post celebrating B Corp month:
What it Means to Be a B Corp by Sustainable Harvest, March 31, 2021
Quick Update on Peru from Sustainable Harvest, March 1, 2021