For a lot of people, the thought of summer squash brings to mind just a few varieties. The entire list probably consists of little yellow crooknecks and zucchini, with no more than one or two choices of each.
There is a bonanza of summer squash taste available to home gardeners. If you like squash even a tiny bit, you will want to grow your own. Fresh summer squash in your backyard provides daily fresh young produce throughout the season, the ability to eliminate food miles, and the opportunity to try dozens of unique varieties that are not available at stores or even farmer’s markets.
Usually, I have a black thumb when it comes to gardening. It’s not that I don’t give sufficient care, but rather that with frequent travel comes frequent neglect. Successful gardening really does seem to require nearly daily attention.
So it’s a marvel that this time our tomatoes are growing literally to the ceiling:
Here’s a few links for your weekend reading pleasure. Have a good one, and be safe…
It’s the first day of Spring, and we’re enjoying sunny days and temps in the 80’s, so it’s a pretty nice time to be in Arizona. The flowers are popping up daily (and our noses are running!) Some pics to follow in an upcoming post.
It’s a great day for roasting delicious coffee! Soon it will be time for cold brew 🙂
Meanwhile, here’s a few links:
Here’s some odds & ends, some coffee related, some not. Enjoy!
Focusing on Mexico Specialty Coffee (Perfect Daily Grind)
How to Start and Maintain a Worm Compost Bin (Peak Prosperity)
Coffee & Tea Fest, Dubai UAE 11/2/16-11/14-16
Kona Coffee & Food Festival 11/4/2106-11/13/16
We’re back in the saddle, and roasting like crazy to catch up on orders. This coming weekend is CoffeeFest Anaheim, which is sure to be an educational & delightful experience. We look forward to connecting with friends and business associates. Meanwhile, here’s some links for your perusal. Enjoy!
It’s a lot easier said than done, and getting more money to the farmer workers is the hardest part.
Many farmers have never tasted their own coffee properly roasted and prepared. (Perfect Daily Grind)
Learning more about the science of coffee ripeness, and the precise temperatures for fermentation help farmers to produce the finest coffee. (Perfect Daily Grind)
Farmers and locals are saying the climate extremes of the last few years are changing the viability of coffee farming. (NY Times)
Hard to believe…
Turkey is having a coffee festival. (We won’t be there this year.)
Low profits could spell the end of specialty coffee
Interesting read about a possible Peru-Sumerian connection.
Eating habits have changed a lot since the 1930’s
A new startup in Prescott brings a sustainable coffee supply chain to Arizona. Via Roast magazine:
When engineer Joel Clark head to Guatemala several years ago for work on a silver, lead and zinc mine, little did he know that it was gold he’d actually strike. Coffee gold that is, in the form of partnership with brothers David and Eddie Solano.
David Solano was a local engineer hired to work with Clark, while Eddie Solano worked alongside American financial engineer Chris Dratz in ironing out fiscal projections and strategies for the business. Eventually it came out in conversation that the Solano brothers’ family owned the vast and well-respected Buena Vista coffee farm, and soon after that, Clark happened to see an episode of the CNBC reality TV show The Profit in which the host looks into a coffee roastery and advises the roaster to skip his green brokers and widen his profit margins by buying directly from the source.
“I was like, ‘woah, that’s quite a difference,’” Clark recalled. “And then I thought ‘woah, wait a minute, I know some farmers!’ Then I started talking with David and we hatched this scheme.”
In February of this year, the scheme came to fruition: The café Solanos y Hermanos opened its doors to the public in Prescott, Ariz., about one block away from the Prescott University campus. A seven-pound-capacity Sedona Elite drum roaster runs in a 200-square-foot roasting workshop adjoining Clark’s home, while the 1,140-square-foot coffeehouse caters not only to lovers of top quality coffee — greens from Buena Vista farm have scored 93 points in SCAA cuppings — but consumers that appreciate knowing their patronage supports an ethically sound supply chain, all the way down to the harvesters laboring on mountaintops a world away.
Labor is a key factor for the success and viability of the coffee industry, yet farms are currently struggling to recruit and retain field hands due in part to urban migration and low incentives for performing rural work.
Aware of this problem, the SCAA Sustainability Council has been developing a strategy in order to gain a greater understanding of the situation and intended to inform the industry in general. One component of this strategy was the commissioning of a study that could answer the following questions:
How is the situation of field hands who work on coffee farms perceived by both producers and workers, taking into account such factors as labor conditions, wages (expectations vs. paid), dangerous work-related activities, housing conditions when they reside on the farm, compliance with labor laws, and understanding their contribution to coffee quality?
How distant is the actual situation of farmworkers from that stipulated by national labor requirements?
What are the main threats and opportunities that workers and producers see for the coffee industry in the current or future situations of farm workers?
What strategies do corporate and family farms employ to recruit and retain their labor? What are the most common mistakes coffee estates make that lead to farmworker attrition?
What can the coffee chain do to support the retention and motivation of the workforce?
From the workers’ viewpoint, what do they most value when deciding to keep working on a farm?
Early bird registration is now open for Let’s Talk Coffee Global, the annual industry event produced by green coffee importer Sustainable Harvest.
After missing a year due to logistical issues, the 13th edition of the event will take place this year Oct. 13-16 at the CasaMagna Marriott in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The event brings together stakeholders from throughout the coffee supply network, including producers, roasters, financiers and others for collaborative thought-sharing and relationship building, while the program focuses on pressing issues throughout the industry.
“Program content will include an exploration of roya and other challenges to Mexico’s coffee supply chain, as well as sessions on innovations in micro-lot differentiation, effective branding lessons from other industries, women’s leadership in coffee production, and much more,” Sustainable Harvest said in an announcement yesterday.
Let’s Talk Coffee typically includes optional field trips to coffee farms. This year, event-goers have the option to tour a Chiapas coffee farm, or they may opt for a trip to Tequila to tour agave farms and learn about tequila production.
The specialty coffee industry has earned a sterling reputation for social inclusion through more than two decades of relentless innovation to develop strategies for meaningful, transparent and mutually beneficial engagement with smallholder growers. The smallholder farmers who have helped to create, implement, refine and improve those strategies over the past 25 years are certainly worthy of the industry’s attention. They produce most of the world’s coffee and are structurally disadvantaged in a global marketplace that rewards efficiency and scale.
But the tens of millions of people who work as wage-earners on coffee farms around the world each year represent the most vulnerable actors in specialty coffee supply chains, and they have mostly existed outside the scope of those efforts. Today, intentional engagement with farmworkers and issues of farm labor in the coffee sector represents a new frontier in sustainable sourcing, and presents extraordinary opportunities for specialty coffee.
These are opportunities to mitigate brand risk in a media environment that loves scandal, and to mitigate legal risk in a regulatory environment that is cracking down on the worst forms of labor abuse; opportunities to secure supply and to identify hidden sources of value in a market environment characterized by intense competition; and, ultimately, opportunities to renew the specialty coffee brand by including tens of millions of people on whom the specialty enterprise depends in the benefits it creates.
The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), through its Sustainability Council, has been working over the past year to help its members seize those opportunities.