Kudos to Colombian coffee pickers

I thought picking blackcurrants was hard but at least all the fruits ripen at roughly the same time and for pickers the ground is generally level.

In Colombia’s coffee region a typical coffee grower works 1.6 hectares of land and picking takes place on a 45 degree slope. The Andes split into 2 cordilleras in Colombia and it’s still mighty hilly. The coffee finds perfect conditions in these high elevations where the temperature stays above 12C and it’s never dry for more than 40 days. Although the plants are pruned for size, it’s a stretch to reach the berries and a tough, uphill work moving them around and getting the beans to market.

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Coffee country near Salento in the Quindio region of Colombia, west of Bogota.

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The coffee berries ripen all year round and, although there are two main harvests in March and October, to maximize the yield, picking continues throughout the year. These stages from flowering through to ripe fruit were all picked from the same plant – on the same day!

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On the plus side, the flowers smell faintly of gardenia.

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In this picture, the dark red fruit is ready for picking, not the green ones though.

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Once picked, the skin is removed – this is a small hand-driven version of the machine that does it.

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The seeds are fermented in water and this removes the gelatinous membrane.

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Then they are dried. On small farms this can be as simple as laying the beans out in the sun on a coffee sack and pulling the sacks under cover when it rains (which is fairly often).

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Quality control is stringent, only the best beans make it to export quality which is too expensive for Colombians who drink what’s left – tinto with lots of sugar to disguise the bitterness.

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This is the delosAndes cooperative in Andes, Antioquia.

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The price paid for coffee has to be posted daily.

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Colombian coffee farmers are represented by the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia headed up by the mustachioed Juan Valdez. The brand began in 1981 to distinguish 100% Colombian coffee from coffee blended with beans from other countries.

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At least it’s a beautiful place to work. Coffee country is muy bonito!

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Kudos to coffee growers as we drink our morning lattes in Café de los Andes, Jardin! What’s the most labour intensive plant you’ve ever grown?

 

 

 

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Win How to make a Wildflower Meadow for Earth Day

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Filbert Press #winwildflowermeadows Competition

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Prize: a copy of How to make a Wildflower Meadow by James Hewetson-Brown

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8.The winner will be announced on 29th April 2017 before 5pm.

  1. The winner will be notified by direct message on Twitter, using the Twitter account details from which the winning entry was submitted.
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Win Plant Love for Valentine’s Day

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Filbert Press #winplantlove Competition

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Prize: a copy of Plant Love by Michael Allaby

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 Please read our terms and conditions before entering:

  1. This prize draw is open to UK residents aged 18 or over excluding employees of Filbert Press, or any of its subsidiary companies, their families, agents or anyone else connected with this promotion.
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Gained 2 Christmas trees, lost a spade

I’ve always wanted to cut down my own Christmas tree, straight from the forest, somewhere picturesque like this  farm in Massachusetts so when we inherited two Christmas trees on our allotment I knew I was getting close.

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They looked innocent enough and we wanted to dig them up rather than cut them down so we set to work using the spade top right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The small tree was still in its bucket but the roots had broken through and heading south at ferocious speed.

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Some digging out, lots of spade leverage and some judicious root pruning and it shows no sign of budging.

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One last heave and the tree is out.

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And the spade is kaput.

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It makes a good giant dibber though.

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Two trees and half a tonne of soil in the back of the car.

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Finally replanted and decorated indoors. Homebase next year.

Green Scythe Fair

Filbert went to the Green Scythe Fair at Thorney Lakes near Muchelney in Somerset in early June. It’s a great place to…

Have a go at scything

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Buy kit

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Compete in time trials

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Find out about making hay by hand

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Check out this charcoal burner

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A proper traditional country fair. Looking forward to next year.

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