I recently had the opportunity to ask Aliss Hartmann from Finca Hartmann a few questions about life in origin. I have kept the responses as they were written. Aliss was also kind enough to send through a number of photos and videos of the farm. Thanks to Latorre & Dutch for helping to make this happen - and connecting farmers to the Coffeefusion Community!
NOTES ON FINCA HARTMANN
- According to Aliss Hartmann -
Did you grow up on the farm at Finca Hartmann? If so what was it like growing up on a coffee farm?
Yes I did grow up at Finca Hartmann. I belong to a family of seven members as I have four siblings all of them male. When we were kids we used to play games and did kids normal activities such as play with our pets, pick and eat ripe fruits from the tree, we were very creative and so always found new ways to have fun. As we grew up, we also had to collaborate with the coffee farm activities such as help our father haul the coffee cherry to the mill driving the truck, fix our roads, carry lambert to new constructions, help in the milling process and even pick up coffee cherry when needed. We certainly had a wonderful childhood at the coffee farm we played and had fun and also we worked hard to help build what is now Finca Hartmann.
How have you seen the industry progress from your point of view at origin over the years? Are things getting better for farmers as the Specialty Coffee industry takes off around the world?
Panama coffee production has decreased by half over the last 20 years. The industry is facing the same challenges over the years such as low international prices for coffee, migrating farm workers, rising cost of farm inputs and material.
However thanks to the increasing interest of Specialty coffee we have been able to overcome the industry main challenges. Finca Hartmann is one of the pioneers of the Panamanian specialty coffee as we made the switch in the late 90’s.
What are some of the day to day challenges you face, being a coffee farmer?
Coffee farmers’ main day by day challenges depend mostly on Mother Nature. Weather conditions dictate how much insect and fungi pressure there will be, how well plant will take nutrients from the soil, tropical storm and high winds will destroy crop. We as farmers work along the weather conditions.
What are some of the great things about what you do?
We live of the farm and so we love the fact the many people around the world had the opportunity to drink our coffee. People in other countries love coffee as much as we do and it make as happy to know that someone faraway enjoys Finca Hartmann coffee. Also we like the relationship we build with our coffee buyers.
When they come to Finca Hartmann to cup their coffee we get filled with joy and is an opportunity to strength our relationship.
What are some of the goals for Finca Hartmann as you look to the future?
Finca Hartmann commitment to produce excellent coffee, lead us in search of better ways to produce the best coffee. We are constantly adjusting to the Specialty coffee market needs. Every year we improve in coffee plantation management as the starting point for quality, also we innovate over the traditional ways of coffee processing and also we are acquiring new equipment to ensure the best quality control for green beans.
Working on the farm must be hard work, and I’m sure a lot of people who haven’t been to a coffee farm romanticise it. What do you like to do when you get the opportunity to spend some time away from the farm?
We have little time off at the farm as we work around the lifecycle of the coffee plant; flowering, green bean development, cherry ripening, harvesting and then processing and exporting. We like to travel and see new places when we have the chance. We mostly do local tourisms as Panama has a lot to offer and there are many places in our country that we are yet to visit.
What’s going on a Finca Hartmann at the moment?
Right now at Finca Hartmann we just finished our 2016 – 2017 harvest. We are drying the last lots of Naturals, all our washed coffee is already in warehouse resting. We are getting ready to export coffee and this year we are introducing a 30 kg paper bags that comes with a plastic layer inside, this will replace the traditional 45 kg burlap bag. We are getting this paper bags from a manufacturer in Brazil. Also, we are getting the visit of our regular green coffee buyers, they come and cup a lot of coffee and they take home what they best like for their own customers!
During summer we also receive the visit of Birdwatchers from different parts of the world and people who come to take educational coffee courses.