Since 2019 I, Elmer Restrepo, have been responsible for the productive lots at Hacienda El Jardin. My dream is to generate sustainable and high quality coffee growing; taking advantage of the high potential of these lands, through my knowledge of the processes inside and outside the farm. I continue the work that Mr. Alvaro Naranjo began in 1996 when he acquired a coffee farm called Parana. Passionate about coffee growing and its lands , Don Alvaro bought neighboring farms from coffee growers who wanted, at that time, to move away from agriculture due to economic difficulties during the coffee crisis. Hacienda El Jardín is located in the municipality of Villamaria, belonging to the coffee department of Caldas. Specifically, it is located in Los Cuervos , 10 minutes from the municipal seat of Chinchina, Caldas. The topography of the soil is undulating, with mountainous and flat areas as well as clay-loam and sandy-loam soils. The height above sea level for the productive lots remains between 1,423 and 1,525 meters, achieving agro-climatic variations that allow greater benefits in the quality of the coffee.
The farm has over 7 hectares of forest which plays as home to various animals and a large number of birds. We are surrounded by mountains which generate very special micro-climates that promote a great variety of flavors.
Caldas is located in the heart of the main coffee zone in the country. The development of coffee growing has allowed the Caldense countryside to be one of the most modernized in the country. The development of an infrastructure that facilitated the production and commercialization of coffee allowed the integration between rural and urban life with the consequent modernization of the countryside. It is usual for “farmers" and day laborers to move from towns or cities to meet the demands of the crop.
The high economic, social and cultural levels that were forged during more than 70 years of coffee production were seriously affected by the coffee crisis. The Colombian coffee industry was affected by the collapse of prices as a reflection of a very wide international offer, focused more on quantity than on quality. Many coffee growers could not cope with production and Chinchiná endured the worst crisis of public order, common crime and social decomposition, which led to it becoming a marginal area
Slowly the situation has been improving, and at Hacienda El Jardín we are committed to generating employment in the region to recover healthy work habits in the area. We are a team of 69 full-time people throughout the year, of which 4 are administrative staff, 40 are in charge of the coffee harvest, 35 men and 5 women, and we have a total of 25 day laborers. We also hire part-time workers who help us with diverse tasks (mainly picking) which is when we need help the most. All of the staff who work on the farm are well paid, and even more so when we talk about specialty coffee, since they take extra care when it comes to the harvesting and fermentation processes.
We get the water for our crops naturally since we are in an area with a tropical climate and we are blessed to have 3 water sources on the farm, so we do not need automated irrigation systems. Each tree needs 40 cubic cm of water per month. We grow in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. We only use organic and environmentally friendly mediums. This makes pest and weed control more difficult, but this controlled management creates a suitable environment for native species.
To control CBB (Coffee Bean Borer), the main pest of coffee; native tasks are carried out: traps, follow-up counts, early and constant collection of beans and assuring that no beans are left in the soil that can promote the reproduction of the CBB. Furthermore, we are also using the Beauveria Bassiana fungus, which is proving very effective.
We are also taking benefit from the coffee husk which we’re using as compost after its decomposed, and thus use what many consider garbage as organic fertilizer. We have a composting area and we accelerate the decomposition of the shell through the use of beneficial microorganisms. In addition, we’re using the coffee mucilage to make beverages for human consumption, which have many healthy properties.