Jorge started as a picker in farms in the San Pedro Necta. He saved money with his wife until he had Q500 to buy a small piece of land down by the PanAmerican highway. About 14 km away, and closer to civilization, Jorge learned the value of coffee; how to buy and sell, quality metrics, and how to grow quality coffees. He sold his property and moved back up the mountain to be back in Agua Dulce. Here he bought two small parcels and worked the land. Someone told him that having two farms apart was a waste of time so he bought the first lot where El Apiario currently is. At first coffee wouldn't grow at this elevation and he grew corn while trying many different kinds of coffees. Finally, he discovered how to grow coffees at this altitude and continued to work on quality. Jorge began beekeeping as a necessary response to the disappearance of bees on his farm, and has since harvested the honey for household and community consumption.
Origin: Francisco Cardona - La Colmenita
You might say Francisco Cardona, known in the local community as “Chico Cardona”, was born picking cherry. At the age of fifteen he was picking full time and working neighboring farms. Having grown up impoverished Chico Cardona dreamed of owning his own land. Ten years after saving his first quetzales, he bought a tiny ten square meter plot and began cultivating coffee.
Don Francisco has been producing honey for twelve years. In conversations with neighboring producers, he had learned about the secondary income they were making selling their honey, in addition to significant improvements to coffee production. He began with twenty five frames, and in the first years nearly lost his colonies entirely. Over many years he taught himself how to partner with the bees, and over time fell in love with them. Now Chico Cardona has three apiaries, and around 150 hives. It’s no accident his farm is called La Colmenita, or “The Beehive”.
Finca La Colmenita lies at 1800 - 2000 MASL, just above our family farm in San Pedro Necta. Each year coffees from La Colmenita are well-sought after: Deeply fruited like strawberries and tropical punch, complex and sweet, grounded in chocolate and spice. Their Coffee Blossom Honey is no less special, with a rich and silky texture, bright florals, tropical fruits and citrus.
Origin: Ana Ortega - Los Angeles
Ana Maria Ortega grew up with bees. The apiary was close to the house, and she recalls consuming the sticky rich honeycomb as much as inhaling the intoxicating fragrance of coffee blossoms. Her father lovingly kept the apiary.
But when Ana Maria was just seventeen, her parents died tragically. The farm was hers, and she poured her grief into running Finca Los Angeles, waking up before dawn to pick and process cherries, raking in her parchment after dark. But the bees floundered. The hives nearly died out as Ana Maria had no idea how to care for them. Through years of hard lessons and support from neighbors, she learned how to successfully partner with both coffee plants and bees. Now, Ana Maria highlights these challenges as catalysts for her growth into the leader she is today. Los Angeles honey tastes like fruit punch, cherry and orange, with a crisp body and lingering vanilla aftertaste.