To Fellow Travelers, Gardeners, Tourists, Coffee Lovers...

To Fellow Travelers, Gardeners, Tourists, Coffee Lovers...

If you are lucky enough to find yourself in the vicinity of Altos de San Isidro, near Atenas, DO NOT miss a chance to take in the El Toledo coffee tour.  It was a life changer for me,  and not just because the coffee was the finest I've come across in my travels. (I worked in the coffee above Captain Cook on the Big Island of Hawaii, years ago. I thought I'd never find coffee to compare with it. Wrong.) 

What captivated me about El Toledo, besides the first sip of their coffee, was the manner the finca, or farm, was managed: it wasn't just about money, bottom line, "We gotta make as much as we can while the makin's good" line of thinking or operating. It was that their work there captures the essence of what it means to be not just sustainable, but to nurture and give back to the land itself. I don't know if Gerardo (the father of Gabriel and Raul, husband of Sole, maestro of the forest) ever went to university or studied plants, but what I do know is that he has a repoire with them like few people I've ever met. (I'm apprenticed to one of the premier herbalists in the Pacific Northwest at this time. She knows what's afoot in the woods, in spades. I'm a lucky man to be a student of both these accomplished naturalists.)

His reverence for nature is palpable, his connection to her comes through in the way he moves, listens, sees and feels how the forest and its plants are faring. It's an honor to go on a walk about with the man.  And even though I don't speak his language well, I "get it"  when he explains what's going on with the forest. He worked in Big Ag, Costa Rican style, and got sick in the process.  Twenty years ago he knew he had to make a change, for him and his family.  And even though it was certain to be a financial challenge, the choice between dinero and health wasn't a question, not even.  He started the process of becoming an organic farmer, and has never looked back.

He's passing on his knowledge to his sons, who have taken up the process of learning and passing it on to others who are interested. Thankfully the world at large, or rather those on the planet who have woken up to the nightmare of what Big Ag is doing to us, are
becoming interested, and sustainable operations and universities who teach such practices are finding their way to Gerardo, Gabriel, Raul, Sole and Ivette, in increasing numbers and with a sense of urgency.

It's a good thing...

Get there if you can, it will change your outlook, if not your life...

Buena suerte to all,

John Davidson

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