Farm Feature: Oaxaca - La Cañada
Author | groundwork coffee Date | July 06, 2020
Named after a canyon that was a major Pre-Columbian trade route, the Cañada region of Oaxaca, Mexico links the (still) very fertile valleys of Valle de Oaxaca in the South and the Valle de Tehuacán in the North. This part of Oaxaca, while very well-known for cocoa, magic mushrooms, and the origin of Salvia, is also home to some fantastic coffee.
While there are about 1,000 farmers in the region who belong to coop CORO, our coffee comes from the combined efforts of 60 farmers in the little village of Agua de Niño and 120 Mazateco indigenous farmers in the Colonia Las Flores a suburb of nearby Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón. (right: Pedro Cerqueda Hernandez, one of the Agua de Niño farmers, at his Casa Cerkeda farm)
This March, just prior to the Shelter-at- Home order due to COVID-19, our Chief Coffee Guy, Jeff Chean, and North Hollywood Store Lead, Darrell Baskin visited the region to learn more about the area and to meet with the farmers. At Groundwork, we're big believers that the building of trust and open communication are integral parts of our coffee relationships. Through this open dialogue we're able to identify the issues farmers are facing due to climate change and other challenges. Darrell mentioned that while "the coffee producers and their families welcomed us like long lost relatives with food, music, and celebration," the farmers were very honest about the struggles they're facing. While in Oaxaca, Jeff and Darrell participated in an open forum with the farmers outlining "their struggles to support their families while maintaining and improving upon productivity and quality amid unsatisfactory market price." (left: Genardo Garia Martinez, an Agua de Niño farmer, sorts through his coffee cherries for "floaters," unripened and underdeveloped berries that are not suitable for processing)
One of the benefits to developing a Direct Trade relationship with our coffee growing communities, as opposed to even Fair Trade pricing structures, is that we can work to address these concerns through paying a premium on the coffee we purchase and developing projects to aid the community in the long-term. We're looking forward to continuing our relationship with the farmers of La Cañada and working with all the stakeholders to develop projects aimed at improving the farmers livelihoods, living conditions, and making farm investments which will enable them to produce amazing coffees that will fetch higher prices from us and other coffee companies. (left: the women of Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón, Oaxaca)
Try Oaxaca - La Cañada yourself from our online store. (All photos courtesy of Jeff Chean)