Exploring new farms - Nilgiris - 3 Minute Read
We start our journey
Its been 3 weeks since we last wrote. Here is why..
The first round of arabica coffee picking started in December and we had planned a trip in advance. This was our first visit to the farms since we started Deccan Coffee. Equipped with a Royal Enfield, 4X4, a Moka pot, a french press an a mail box full of conversations the complete expedition was a planned in 3 parts. The aim was to visit 2 new coffee estates and a tribal community in BR hills who were growing coffee.
We left towards the mountains from Mysore on a Sunday, December 11th 2016.
The first visit was to the Nilgiris. A 140 kms ride in my 1996 Royal Enfield the route passed the amazing Bandipur National Park and Ooty, a popular tourist destination and was nothing short of awesome. The roads were crowded till Begur and were pleasantly empty afterwards.
At the farm
The farm is located between Kotagiri and Ooty. Predominantly a tea growing region, this coffee farm was 80 acres and had a single varietal of Selection 9 arabica. We had received samples from the farm earlier and were much impressed. The farm is at an altitude of 1700 MASL and conducted shade grown cultivation.
We reached the farm at 1 PM and the weather was pretty modest. After a round of chit chat with the farmers and a strong cup of South Indian Filter Coffee we headed towards the farm for the visit.
Noon had made the coffee shrubs release the scent into the air and was pretty overwhelming. We inspected the plants (Selection 9 varietals have a thick stem with a bushy growth. Shown above) Our attraction was to a micro lot plot of in the estate which was completely equipped with drip irrigation and had pretty killer crop. The farmer explained to us in Tamil how he started the micro lot activity around 3 years back and has completely stopped use of government approved fertilizers and used natural manure in this plot.
Working with the farmer
The farmer faces problems of leaf rust and coffee berry borer due to the method of cultivation he follows! Regular inspection and discarding affected plants help in controlling the issue. As huge as the problem is, the farmer has a good vision of how he wants go establish his coffee.
We were happy with what we saw and the visit was pretty knowledgeable. We had some interesting discussions, saw the methods implemented at the farm, good coffee and more importantly got the meet the farmer in person.
Stay tuned for more updates from the farm.