Maria Luisa Benitez
FINCA EL NARANJO STORY
Maria and her sons Douglas and Junior run the Finca El Naranjo. She is a coffee grower and local trader, supplying goods and products in her community, thus her time is divided between the farm and her local store in El Tunel village in La Palma municipality. Maria is not new to coffee, she has been working in coffee for over 20 years, and has slowly grown, as a coffee grower by accessing training, projects in the area, and even cupping training. However, until she took over the farm a few years ago when her husband passed away, she fully embraced this new role. Three years ago, she also started to produce specialty coffee, having a focus on the Pacamara variety – a coffee of national pride.
At the farm, they focus on washed coffee and traditional fermentation processes. All the coffee is dried on raised beds or patios for about 10-12 days. Over the years, Maria says she has been able to change many things at the farm, from setting up a nursery to storing the coffee with the help local workers such as of Santos, Jaime, and Osmin. They are behind the fertilization and clean-up rounds in the plantations. Maria also hires relatives to help pick the coffee.
She says ” I am happy to see my work and farn shine in the specialty coffee market, and I will continue working to produce great coffees with my family”.