City: San Juan Del Rio Coco
Farm: Ojo De Agua
Owner: Danilo Gonzalez
Altitude: 1,350 m
Ojo De Agua is the only organic growing farm out of the five farms we have visited. This is where it became evident, the effect of roya (the disease), on farms and their yearly crops.
Before delving into roya and what it means to farmers and end users, I'd like to set the scene at Ojo De Agua. We arrived later on in the day, at around 4 pm and the first impression you get upon entering is the nature of the trees. The leaves, as you can see in the photos, are extremely happy, so green and you can tell they have been very well tended to. Unfortunately for our group, the picking had been completed at Danilo's farm.
Danilo is a very sweet person, he toured us around his estate and had us meet his family, having conversations about his coffee produce and how @coastalcoffeecompany and @monigramcoffee have utilized his beans within their espresso house blends.
The one thing that we couldn't escape, is Danio's fight against roya. According to Danilo, one of the ways in which he fights roya, is to have the coffee seeds planted far apart from each other. Danilo says that while this method does not fully mitigate the disease from spreading, it does in fact save more of his crop.
Roya is transferrable from one coffee tree to the other, simply by touch. So if said farmer has contact with roya, he could easily contaminate other coffee trees just by a single touch.
Danilo loses up to 12% of his crop due to roya. This is the largest number we've seen between the five farms visited in Nicaragua. Other farmers revert to less organic methods in their fight against roya, but Danilo seems to have the happiest leaves amongst all farms (given the nature of his estate which grows coffee at lower altitudes).
Keep tuned for our upcoming post on roya, where we will have a much more detailed account of the wide spreading disease.