MEET OUR FARMERS
Our Meet Our Farmers series provides a glimpse into the history, legacy and dedication of the farming families whom we partner with. When you purchase San Francisco Bay Coffee, you are joining our efforts to improve the lives of our farmers and those in their communities around the world.
Sept 22, 2020
Finca don Tomás, Costa Rica
Francisco Ramírez in front of a new lot with new coffee variety Catiguá MG2.
For as far as the eye can see, deep green forests and endless coffee plantations blanket the soft, fertile mountainsides of Naranjo, Costa Rica. Located amongst the lush landscape of this popular coffee region, Finca don Tomás is just one of a few thousand family-run farms, but with a special history and commitment to the sustainability of the local coffee industry.
In 1940, Tomás Ramírez Peraza, with his wife Nidia Herrera Herrera, first recognized that the mineral-rich soil and favorable climate of Naranjo were ideal for growing coffee. However, it took until 1968 for him to fully organize the community, establish his own processing facility, and start a successful cooperative made up of 91 small coffee growers (CooproNaranjo).
The Ramírez daughters and nieces helping during harvest season.
Today, Finca don Tomás is run by his son, Francisco Ramírez, who grew up on the coffee farm and assisted his father with general labor until he completed his education in 1985. Francisco then assumed greater management of the farm as well as leadership roles within the expanding CooproNaranjo, feeling a responsibility to continue the social programs initiated by his father for the Naranjo community. Francisco now serves as director of Finca don Tomás and is occasionally joined by his wife Marcela and their three daughters, Mariana, Alicia and Daniela, to help with some of the work on the farm.
At Finca don Tomás, farming is a family affair.
Finca don Tomás is a mid-sized farm and employs and houses approximately 200 workers during the harvest season, with fewer workers onsite during the maintenance periods. The farm produces Red and Yellow Catuaí, Red Caturra and Obatá (Sarchimor) varieties for San Francisco Bay Coffee, with several new and interesting varieties underway. Their high-quality coffees all share an intense floral aroma, nice body and perfect balance between citrus and natural sweetness.
The effects of climate change have caused Francisco to develop and implement an irrigation system that more efficiently regulates water use during the dry season. This has been effective in better aligning the flowering period and the harvest season, so as to maximize the volume of perfectly ripe coffee cherries during picking. The farm is also striving to cultivate nurseries with new coffee varieties that are resistant to pests and diseases and adaptable to ongoing climate variation. The Ramírez family is particularly excited to pursue the production and sale of an estate coffee under the Finca don Tomás name in the near future.
From left to right: José Antonio Vega (CooproNaranjo - Cooperative Manager),
Francisco Ramírez (Finca don Tomás), and Noel Arrieta (SF Bay Coffee)
CooproNaranjo, established more than 50 years ago by Finca don Tomás founder Tomás Ramírez Peraza, has become the center of economic growth for Naranjo. Today, the cooperative is comprised of nearly 2,400 small, mostly family-owned farms, with 40% of the members being women. Francisco is proud for his family farm to continue to be an active participant with such a historic and important organization that is driven to ensure the sustainability of family farms, by improving the living conditions of its associates, employees and the community through innovation, strategic alliances and fair trade practices. It is equally focused on environmental sustainability, including the use of hydroelectric power, reduced carbon development, and the utilization of fruit trees as a natural pest repellant.
San Francisco Bay Coffee is dedicated to supporting the positive efforts of Finca don Tomás and our other farming partners through our commitment to always pay them above the cost of production for our coffee. We remain inspired to provide the world’s finest quality coffee while improving the quality of life for our farmers, their families and community.