March 2010

The Worse the Road, the Better the Coffee at Finca Suspiro, Nicaragua

Sunday morning in Nicaragua dawned cloudy and rainy. Rain is a rarity there during this time of year, and I dug through my clothes to find my rain gear – which, fortunately, I had along with me. My backpack filled up quickly with everything I thought I might need for the day – dry socks and clothes at the bottom, all serving as a cushion for my camera and tripod, with rain gear and hat on top if I needed to grab it quick. Outside pockets held bottled water, trail mix, hat, bar towels (amazingly useful for keeping camera and face dry while working in the field), and – if the sun came out later – sunscreen and sunglasses. Read more »


Harvest Visit to Nicaragua

I was fortunate recently to be able to spend a week in Nicaragua, right in the middle of the coffee harvest during the middle of February. While I’ve been to most of the rest of Central America, this was my first visit to Nicaragua, which I scheduled to be able to spend time working the harvest and hanging out with my friend Erwin Mierisch and his family. Erwin, his father Dr. Mierisch, brother Steve, and sisters Maria Ligia and Eleane are owners of five stellar coffee farms in northern Nicaragua (two in the region of Matagalpa, and three in the Jinotega area) and a fantastic coffee beneficio (dry mill) on the lower-elevation coastal plain at the base of the regions’ mountains. Read more »


Project Direct Nicaragua is on deck

It’s the very end of the picking season here in Nicaragua and most of the plants have been stripped of their fruit. However, this morning when Paul Thornton, Chris Wade and I drove through the mist at Finca El Quetzel, we came upon a group of pickers who were working a slope of red and yellow catuai in small pocket of the farm. We rounded a bend in the road and thought we heard singing. When we looked up, we spotted about 100 workers dotting the hillside. Read more »