Héctor and Carmelinda Domínguez form part of the community of El Naranjo where our Don Lencho coffee originates. They have two children at home—Leonel (14) and Keini (3). Héctor is a part-time farmer and storekeeper. Here is a bit of a snapshot into their life that our Don Lencho manager sent us recently.
September: the month of new corn. The main crop of corn that was planted right after the first rains at the end of May starts to mature around the beginning of the month. Everyone enjoys fresh roasting ears, tamalitos (a type of slightly sweet corn mush wrapped in green corn husks and cooked), montucas (like tamalitos with meat added) and atol (a porridge that can be either water-based and fermented and salted, or water/milk based and prepared as a sweet drink). As the corn rapidly matures, everyone enjoys cipas (tortillas with the distinct fresh-corn flavor). But these delicacies only last as long as the corn is fresh. By now, it has matured and harvesting has begun.
Héctor, like almost everyone else in the community, still grows the bulk of his own corn. This year he planted about one hectare (2.2 acres). After planting and caring for the patch by hand, he is now in the process of gathering and spreading it out on a tarp. When the corn is sufficiently dry, it will be stored in sacks and shelled by hand for use throughout the year. Corn patties or tortillas are a staple included in every meal for the locals.
Another activity that occupies a lot of time for Héctor’s family is the pulperia (a small store). Héctor’s immediate neighbors are happy to have such a close source of foodstuffs and household items. At times it can be challenging to restock the store, especially when the weather turns rainy and the supplier’s truck can’t access the trail to his house. Then sacks of sugar, salt, flour and the like are loaded on mules for the twenty-minute trek.
This past year, Héctor was pleased with the better price for coffee he received from JavaTaza through the local drier. Speaking of coffee, his patch is looking beautiful! With plantains and other trees creating partial shade for the 1.5 hectares of coffee, it is looking a lot better than most. The past several years of low prices on the worldwide market have influenced a lot of producers to cut back and pursue other crops. Héctor has wisely chosen to take good care of his plot of coffee.
Thanks to JavaTaza’s policy of providing a fair, stable price to growers, people like Héctor can access better prices for the high-quality coffee they produce.