This is a classic ‘young folks do things differently to prove stuck-in-their-ways older generation wrong’ story here: Yoesmi had a plot of land inherited from her family, and, along with her husband Arlam, Yoesmi wanted to focus on specialty coffee that was differentiated by quality. With Arlam’s skills as a technician with Anacafe (The National Coffee Association of Guatemala), they’ve been able to achieve just that.
They started by paying workers extra to only pick ripe cherries (they pay 50% more than the going rate which is a huge increase) , followed by careful processing. They found success in selling to us last year, which has meant Dad has now asked them to manage his larger farm as well.
Long-term they are interested in planning to convert the farm to fully organic as a way to invest in their health and their family’s health, as well as making the soil healthier and having to pay less for chemical inputs. They have lots of organic matter on the farm (they are not spraying to remove weeds), and they de-compose cherries in a compost heap, so they are well on the way!
Yoesmi is part of a very special Cooperative of smallholders who are working collectively to farm more ecologically, improve coffee quality and access final buyers.
We were one of the first importers to purchase directly from the group, starting back in 2017. The Coops acronym is ASIAST, standing for: “Asociación Integral Agrícola SostenibleToneca” – Toneca is a colloquial adjective for San Antonio Huista where the Co-op has its headquarters.
ASIAST have featured in news articles as being a success case, the first co-operative of the region to sell micro-lots directly to the final buyer.
We love ASIAST members and leadership and look forward to working with more members in the future and buying ever more coffee at premium prices! As with Arlam and Yoesmi, for SB and ASIAST it’s a case of “until death do we part”.
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