Farm: Finca Santa Lucia
Varietal: 100% Bourbon
Processing: Fully washed & sun dried
Altitude: 1,350 metres above sea level
Owner: Mary Salinas de Borgonovo
Town / City: Ataco
Finca Santa Lucia - El Salvador
Finca Santa Lucia has been in the Salinas Family for more than 60 years. General Julio Salinas, the farm’s original owner, passed the farm down to his son along with a passion for coffee farming. His granddaughter (and the farm’s current owner), Mary Salinas de Borgonovo, runs the farm today using many of the traditional farming practices that her grandfather instituted. Situated just 500 metres from the town of Ataco, the terrain of the farm is quite level, which facilitates harvesting and care for the coffee trees, despite its relatively high altitude of 1,350 metres above sea level.
The farm has no source of running water but receives a daily dose of humidity from the dense fog that descends up on the region almost daily throughout the year.
Coffee is harvested at Santa Lucia during the final weeks of December through most of January. Labour on the farm is only hired for the harvest and for some of the more intensive agricultural work, such as controlling undergrowth twice annually. The rest of the work is done by Mary and her husband, Alfredo Borgonovo, both of whom come from generations of coffee expertise.
The family takes renovation seriously, counting it as their best defense against the coffee leaf rust that has decimated much of El Salvador’s production in recent years. All aging or disease prone trees are currently being replaced with new seedlings. This (along with unfavourable climate conditions) has reduced the farm’s yields, but the hope is to continue using meticulous agricultural practices to ensure increased production in the future.
All coffee from the farm is carefully harvested by hand and meticulously sorted before being delivered for processing to the nearby Beneficio El Carmen. Fernando Alfaro, the owner of the mill and El Carmen Estate, works with the family to process their coffee to their specifications so as to assure its quality and consistency. Currently the farm produces wet process and natural coffees, though there may be potential for more experimentation. This lot has been wet milled and fermented according to the mill’s stringent methods before being fully washed and laid to dry on clay patios.
Although the family doesn’t know how the farm originally came to be called Santa Lucia (the Catholic patron saint of the blind), coincidentally the Mary and Alfredo named their youngest daughter Lucia.