Third Episode: Chasing the Roya 2013, Closing the Cycle Antigua

| November 25, 2013

antigua (4)From the beautiful waters and green forests of the Classic Atitlan Region, I drove through Acatenango Valley, and into Antigua stopping in many coffee plantations along the way and finally reaching the Filadelfia Farm in the Inner Belt Mountains of Antigua. This is a farm I have been wanting to visit for some years, I had the impression that it was basically a tourist destination and that coffee agriculture was just an adornment, I was wrong!

antigua (3)I chose to come in “incognito ” and take their coffee tour, the only exception was that I had a film crew along and the reception agents decided to dedicate one guide and a mostly separate tour for me and the camera. I paid the fees for the tour and off we went to visit the Finca and some pretty interesting inside operations. The Guide, an Agronomist technician, Don Antonio Roberto Olmos Perez was slowly testing the waters with me but in less than 10 minutes, understood that I was not the regular tourist. Don Antonio became very informative; this is a 4 generation dedicated and serious coffee producing plantation and families.

Most of the coffee is sold to the Asian markets, some lesser quantities stay in the local roasted and pre ground markets of Guatemala and tourist driven sales. The commitment towards a sustainable agriculture and excellence in quality starts in educating staff and visitors, caring for the plantations as one cares for the family and own home.

antigua (1)Almost 35 % of the farm has been replanted or pruned, fumigations against the Roya have been done by the book, and new plant nurseries are abundant and serving vast new plantings starting May2014.

This situation at Finca Filadelfia reflects the current attitude and actions of most local bigger properties “Fincas “.

The smallholders seem to be reacting the same way as in my earlier visits through San Marcos and Atitlan, Coop members fighting the Roya with dedication and independent producers following a bit behind. The private exporters have certainly stepped into supporting the local independent smallholders; this is already showing positive results in terms of near future productivity.

antigua (2)Again, FEDECOCAGUA and ANACAFE have been extremely proactive in educating, organizing and sponsoring the actions towards saving, incrementing and reviving the Coffee production, its health and sustainability. Finca Filadelfia is a quite well kept secret amidst the obvious exposure as the most famous tourist coffee farm in Antigua, I have already asked for new crop sample.

Follow the testimonials by our hosts and see the beautiful, almost magic scenario of Antigua, one of the chosen places of this planet.

Next and final episode will show the Southern Cordillera region of Fraijanes Plateau/Santa Rosa and finally, a Cupping session at Wolthers Vittrup/Guatemala city and my conclusion on the “Chasing the Roya 2013, Closing the Cycle”.


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