Interview with grower Enrique Navarro Jr.


We asked one of our first growers eleven questions about his life on the farm, his relationship with end consumers, and what he likes to do for fun.

 

Name: Enrique Navarro Jr.

 FarmEstate Monte Copey

 What one thing should people who drink your coffee know about you?

All our work on the farm is directed towards a constant improvement in quality to satisfy the final consumers. So my commitment to produce the best cup in the world increases day by day.

 What one thing would you like to know about the people who drink your coffee?

For me, the opinion of my clients is very important, since it is the motivation to continue producing coffee, and to know what the customers of my harvest expect.

 

How long have you / your family been in the business?

Coffee growing in my family was passed down from my great-grandparents, who were dedicated to the cultivation of coffee. Since then the activity has passed to my grandparents, to my parents and now the commitment has reached my hands. However, in recent years we shifted to specialty production to get to market with the best quality.

What would it mean for you to be able to sell directly to consumers abroad?

For years commercialization has been done in a traditional way, which has generated stagnation. It has left the current coffee grower ineffective, without generating an added value that helps with their daily work, which in turn has worsened the loss. This in turn has promoted the growing loss of cultivated area  in the country and the displacement of young people to cities in search of a more stable future. Sometimes even emigration to the US is common among heads of households looking for work to support their families and to avoid the loss or bankruptcy of their coffee farms.

I believe that both consumers and producers would be the biggest beneficiaries in direct marketing. By participating in the marketing chain, as a producer I can guarantee all the traceability of coffee for the consumer. This generates greater stability in the activity, which hopefully makes it attractive to young people again and motivates their return to an activity that has been ours since our great-grandparents’ time. Now in their hands is the change needed to be a model of the new producer, changing stereotypes that reflect wear and misery into the new-age coffee growers who prove they can be protagonists in their destinies.

 

Is there something specific you would like to improve on your farm?

For me one of the most important tasks in my farm corresponds to picking, since all the work done on the farm to produce the harvest is in the hands of the pickers. I would like to improve the conditions in which these people perform this work, where they can be provided with the best infrastructure for their accommodations, with medical assistance and routine check-ups, and with the best possible food.

What about in your community?

My parents have served in an organization called Social Pastoral in the Catholic Church of the Community for about 10 years. They have established a project where they offer shelter, food and a bed to people who migrate from other places like Panama or Nicaragua looking for a farm to carry out the coffee harvest. This search process may take a few days, so when the shelter did not exist these people literally had to sleep on the streets.

Each year the shelter prepares to receive more people, and although it does not have sufficient funds, the community is always willing to collaborate.

With ​​this organization’s mission to support those who perform such an important task of picking coffee in this region, more and more we hear about a future project to solve another need: care for the pickers’ children, who must accompany their parents on the farms.

The daycare project would not only provide food for these children who need it, but they would also receive a complementary education that generates value to their lives. This can only be achieved with the support of the people who are protagonists of the coffee industry, compensating for the important work these people do.

What is your wish for the next generation?

I want to give new generations a healthy and stable activity with transparent production and commercialization processes that give confidence to all parties, with a very solid foundation so that the coffee industry will have stability and last for years. Farms must act as businesses and producers become professionals to give the consumer more confidence that producers know how to do what they do.

 

Can you explain the relationship between your work and the earth?

All our farming practices are environmentally responsible, and our farms are kept in harmony with the environment. There are forested areas which mitigate agricultural impact on the environment, as well as the implementation of living fences - mostly fruit trees - from which the local birds feed. Our milling process is conservation-minded, using an ecological model which reuses both energy and water to minimize consumption.

How can a truly direct relationship with a consumer affect you?

A direct relationship with a consumer promotes values ​​of trust and transparency, which yields the fairest value for both.

Would you let your coffee drinkers visit your farm?

Yes, my farm should become a learning model for people who want to learn more about the wonderful world of coffee, and we also learn a lot from the people who visit us. The doors have always been open.

What do you do for fun?

I spend a lot of time with my family. It is very important for me.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be? 

The power to communicate with coffee plants, to say thank you for the wonderful moments that coffee has given me and for the people I have met while working with coffee. To tell them how happy my consumers are for their beans and why I know I will be in this activity for the rest of my life. That is why it is very important to communicate with the plants.

Connect with Enrique on Instagram (@enriqnavarromc) or Facebook

Buy Enrique's coffee here.