Farm: Finca San Rafael
Varietal: Catimor, Caturra
Processing: Fully washed & Sundried
Altitude: 1,020 to 1,185 metres above sea level
Owner: Jeannethe Cruz
Town / City: El Tuma - La Dalia Municipality
Overall: Milk chocolate & chopped nuts
Finca San Rafael - Nicaragua
In Nicaragua, it's unusual for a successful producer to live at their farm. Many coffee farmers chose to raise their families in towns and cities where there are better amenities than in the depths of rural coffeelands. Even rarer is having your entire family work alongside you, day to day. Rarer still is to be a woman at the helm of her own farm. Bucking all these norms is what makes Jeannethe del Carmen Cruz a rare and brilliant example of a modern coffee farmer!
At 56 years, Jeannethe Del Carmen Cruz isn't bothered that she isn’t the norm. Her farm is successful, and while she could very well live in one of the nearby towns, she sees the spiritual and quantitative value of dirty hands. She manages Finca San Raphael’s 75 hectares – most of which is devoted to cattle farming – with an iron fist and a warm heart.
She finds success and fulfilment in rising early to milk her cows, making cheese alongside her workers, and inspecting all the nooks of her Rainforest Alliance Certified Farm. She radiates the joy she takes from her work. Whether it's delivering milk or making food for her farmworkers, her routine awards her a calm that she asserts would be impossible from a couch.
“It’s a shame that there are so many producers that don't live with their farms,” she says – emphasising WITH not just on. Her approach to farm management is holistic, and her routines are dictated by the ebb and flow of the farm’s rhythms.
Her sons tower over her, but they both know that she's a force not to be challenged. Her eldest, who watches over the nurseries and helps manage the harvest, is looking forward to moving back to the farm to be with his mother and to raise his newborn son the same way his mother raised him – a lifelong study of the value of dirty hands.