Images of a cutting edge sustainable coffee farm

On the final official day of Let’s Talk Coffee a great number of participants went to Selva Negra, an award winning estate farm in Matagalpa, partly for a tour of that wonderful place but perhaps moreso in search of an appropriate place to say goodbye until next year.  I briefly outlined some of the innovative practices this farm is deploying, but I’ll use this space to go into more detail.

The sign marking to entrance to Selva Negra along the highway heading North from Matagalpa towards Jinotega.  Matagalpa is the southern most of the signifant coffee growing regions in Nicaragua (along with Jinotega, Nueva Segovia and Madriz).

The sign marking to entrance to Selva Negra along the highway heading North from Matagalpa towards Jinotega. Matagalpa is the southern most of the signifant coffee growing regions in Nicaragua (along with Jinotega, Nueva Segovia and Madriz).

Coffee is carefully grown behind natural wind barriers to protect the trees from damage.

Coffee is carefully grown behind natural wind barriers to protect the trees from damage.

I think the farm is about 1,500 hectares of which 30% is a natural wildlife preservation.  As demonstrated here, the coffee is grown under multiple layers of shade canopy.

I think the farm is about 1,500 hectares of which 30% is a natural wildlife preservation. As demonstrated here, the coffee is grown under multiple layers of shade canopy.

Several varieties of coffee are grown on the farm.  I believe this is Java Typica, and they also grow Caturra, Yellow Catuai and Pacamara.

Several varieties of coffee are grown on the farm. I believe this is Java Typica, and they also grow Caturra, Yellow Catuai and Pacamara.

Happy to be surrounded by coffee and to have an excuse to wear a sweet hat.

Happy to be surrounded by coffee and to have an excuse to wear a sweet hat.

Green cherries with a "Broca trap".  Broca is a borer beatle that digs a hole into the bottom of coffee cherries and proceeds to eat the insides while making the cherry a home for its offspring.  The Broca trap is a natural pool of Broca attracting liquid that can drown 5-6 a day.

Green cherries with a "Broca trap". Broca is a borer beatle that digs a hole into the bottom of coffee cherries and proceeds to eat the insides while making the cherry a home for its offspring. The Broca trap is a natural pool of Broca attracting liquid that can drown 5-6 a day.

Harvest doesn't begin until next month.  Some cherries are ripening early, but the bulk will ripen between November and January.

Harvest doesn't begin until next month. Some cherries are ripening early, but the bulk will ripen between November and January.

The farm has a laboratory where to cook up all sorts of natural agricultural aids, such as this fungicide derived - I think - from lemongrass leaves.

The farm has a laboratory where they cook up all sorts of natural agricultural aids, such as this fungicide derived - I think - from lemongrass leaves.

Once the coffee is picked it is dumped in this large collection tank.  The angles were selected to allow coffee to flow into the wet mill with minimal water.

Once the coffee is picked it is dumped in this large collection tank. The angles were selected to allow coffee to flow into the wet mill with minimal water.

They are four pulpers in the wet mill.  These are used to strip the fruit from the beans inside.  After, the coffee is channeled into fermentation tanks where it rests for 12-24 hours to allow the mucilage to break down.

There are four pulpers in the wet mill. These are used to strip the fruit from the beans inside. After, the coffee is channeled into fermentation tanks where it rests for 12-24 hours to allow the mucilage to break down.

The farm captures methane from coffee pulp and human waste to use as a power source.

The farm captures methane from coffee pulp and human waste to use as a power source.

The farm produces all of its own vegetables, fruit, cheese and meat.  It is used by the 250 permanent workers, temporary workers during harvest and at the ecoresort hotel/restaurant.

The farm produces all of its own vegetables, fruit, cheese and meat. It is used by the 250 permanent workers, temporary workers during harvest and at the ecoresort hotel/restaurant.

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