Honduras Diaries Part I: On Farming

Our coffee director, Byron Jackson Holcomb, traveled to Honduras and El Salvador earlier this month to meet with some of the farms we work with. This is the first in a series of his travel diaries.

Capucas, Honduras. Photo by Byron Jackson Holcomb.

Capucas, Honduras. Photo by Byron Jackson Holcomb.

From the first leg of the journey, on a plane to Atlanta to change to San Pedro Sula–the “industrial capital of Honduras”. I’m excited to see some partners in Honduras. These guys are really top notch in my book. Many of them are passionate about their farms. Wanna know a secret? Most farmers don’t like farming. I’ve been around small farmers for many years. In remote communities far off the grid, these guys and gals didn’t always choose a life of peace, quiet and incredibly hard work. Often they are born into it. Usually off the grid doesn’t come with a high school education (3rd grade is typical, illiterate is more common). Usually off the grid doesn’t come with a dentist and hair gel. The dentist that comes to Los Frios in the Dominican Republic is named “Gogo”. He shows up on a motorcycle and people line up in chairs with wooden legs and twine seats and wait their appointment. Gogo only pulls teeth. It hurts and he removes it. If you have floss in your house and know how to use, it you are pretty high-brow or just rich. So, does every farmer love farming? No. Does everyone love their job? You know the answer to that. When you are born into the above description, you don’t always look forward to a day of pruning coffee and the open blisters on your palm that ensue.

But the farmers that we work with in Honduras actually seem to like farming. They love coffee. They sometimes have 3 certifications on a single farm: Rainforest Alliance, Organic, and Fair Trade. When they talk about their plans for their coffee and their future their eyes sparkle. One saying we have in Latin America is “the eye of the owner fattens the horse”. Farmers that are meticulous over their land, fuss about the property boundaries, and process their coffee by following the weather, moon, and smell of the parchment are our type of people. Maybe this is why I love Honduras so much. Maybe it is becasue of the incredibly diverse flavor profiles and delicious coffees? In short it is all of the above.

Stay tuned for Part II of Byron’s Honduras & El Salvador trip, coming soon.