The Producer

Gerardo Franco

Horizonte had an opportunity to visit Gerardo and his family in April 2018. Gerardo’s farm is located in the steep, remote mountains above the Colombian town of Anserma, and can only be reached by a 4x4 vehicle. The views from Gerardo’s farm are breathtaking – looking out over Anserma (which itself is perched on a mountain ridge) as well as over the Cooperative Gerardo works with.

It was Gerardo’s father who originally bought this land, and who realised the potential for growing coffee in such fertile soil and with a favourable climate. After he passed away, the eight siblings split the land among themselves. 

Perhaps you’re wondering how Horizonte finds farmers like Gerardo? In Colombia, we work closely with Valentina Duque from Siruma Coffee, and it was Valentina who recommended Gerardo, both for his exceptional coffee and the outstanding way he cares for the environment while also providing for his family. 

During our visit, we discovered that Gerardo was in desperate need of his own post-harvesting facility. He was sharing the existing one with his brother down the road, which meant a huge amount of extra work carrying beans back and forth. In addition, their de-pulper was 20 years old and hand-operated. It seemed logical for Horizonte to help out by contributing to a new post-harvesting station to be built on Gerardo’s property. Horizonte wants to nuture long-term relationships with farmers like Gerardo, and re-investing in our partners helps to create sustainable value for both parties. 

As you can imagine, Traditional is a “micro lot” coffee, with just 8000 trees planted on the slopes above Gerardo’s house. Gerardo farms with help only from his family and a pair of pickers during the two main harvest seasons. No chemical fertilisers are used. 

Gerardo’s post-harvesting process consists of 16 hours of fermentation, three separate washes to remove all floaters, followed by air-drying for a few weeks (depending on weather conditions). 

Horizonte bought all of the coffee from Gerardo’s most recent harvest, which was a great scoop for us (and something we aim to repeat) and which in turn allowed Gerardo to plan his financials for the coming months.