I started a post a few days ago with a quote suggesting that all that commercial farmers are interested in is yield. So let’s balance that today with this:
Geisha in undoubtedly a luxury, but in one important way, it deserves the hype. It is the first coffee to be grown commercially just because it tastes good.
We blogged about the journey of the remarkable coffee landrace called Geisha (or Gesha) a few years ago: from Ethiopia’s forests to the CATIE genebank in Costa Rica to the Peterson family farm in Panama to all over the world, or, more specifically, a hipster coffee shop in Taiwan. But Hanna Neuschwander‘s Coffee in the New Millennium tells the story at much greater length, not to mention with much greater skill. For example, I wish I had thought to describe hillside coffee plantations, with their neat, undulating rows of bushes, as “living corduroy.”
The piece ends with a neat juxtaposition between World Coffee Research’s monumental International Multi-location Variety Trials and the more geographically focussed, but no less ambitious, in its own way, effort by the Peterson family. They’re looking for a new Geisha among hundreds of other Ethiopian landraces they are now testing on their Panamanian farm. I only have one bone to pick with Ms Neuschwander: why not fully acknowledge the role of the genebank at CATIE in all this, rather than just referring, anonymously, to “a research facility in Costa Rica”?
The International Committee is seeking proposals to host Harlan III and requests that interested groups consider the above factors in preparing a prospectus for the symposium, giving special attention to the potential financial requirements and sources of funding. For consideration for a symposium to be held in 2017, the prospectus should be received at UC Davis by April 15, 2016.
The Harlan Symposium is a very prestigious, not to say blog-worthy, event, and I’m sure people will be falling over themselves to host it.
That apocalyptic video from Business Insider that we Nibbled earlier is silly in a number of ways, but someone should really have found better stock footage to illustrate small, family-run coffee farms.
As the story goes, some six years ago, during an archeological dig on the Menomonie Reservation, a clay ball was unearthed. It was clear that there was something inside of this clay ball and, when opened, what was found were squash seeds, carbon dated to 800 years old. Some of these seeds were planted and they grew and bore fruit.
You may remember that from an article we Nibbled last summer. Well, sadly, it ain’t so.
It’s a great story, said Kenton Lobe, an environmental studies professor at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, Manitoba. And though Lobe can attest to the size of the squash as grown for the last three years by his students at the university’s farm, the rest of the story is untrue, he said.
But the real story is still pretty cool.