Ricardina Chavez owns the La Cuadra coffee farm in high elevations of the indigenous community of Aponte. She is 72 years old, she lives in Villa Nueva, village of El Tablón de Gómez municipality. Her small farm has 1 hectare of coffee, where she grows the varieties Castillo, Colombia and Typica.
She lives with her daughter, her granddaughter and her great granddaughter. Her nephew Ulises Chavez performs most of the physical labor on the farm.
The Aponte community is located in the famous district of Tablon de Gomez, known for its high quality coffees that often find their way into the top spots of quality competitions in the country. Aponte the last few years has become well known for its bright and crisp washed coffees, but also for having the right conditions to experiment with processing, allowing farmers to create some exceptional honey processed coffee lots.
2020 was the first year that Ricardina Chavez worked with an organization named Toldopamba, whose owners Carlos Torres Burbano and Angela Patiño do quality control and agronomy work with farmers while also helping them connect with buyers.
Toldopamba is a coffee farm in Buesaco Nariño, but the scope of the farm and vision of the Burbano family, who originally established the small farm over 40 years ago, has grown significantly over time.
Toldopamba, means "cloudland" in the indigenous Pastos language of Colombia, and was the name given to the farm by Noe Burbano in the late 1970's when it was first established and planted. After many years of running the farm, it was handed down to his daughter Teresa Burbano de Torres, and in 2008, Teresa's son, Carlos Torres Burbano and his wife Angela Patiño took on the everyday management - making it a third generation coffee farm. Over the years since taking over the management of Toldopamba, Carlos and Angela knew they wanted the farm to be a model for quality and sustainability in the area, but the scope of what Toldopamba could be also grew over the years since taking it on.
The scope of what Toldopamba could become started taking form In 2012, when a project named Borderlands was put together in Nariño with a mission to work directly with growers to create better value chains for their coffee. This project brought together coffee producers, agronomists, buyers, and coffee tasters to all work together to make an ideal supply chain. This was built from the ground up with strong focus on rigid quality standards and immense transparency in the sale and purchase of the coffee. Carlos joined this project 2012 focused as an agronomist and working with producers at their farms. Angela started tasting coffee from the project with Carlos and buyers and in a short time became the Quality Director for the coffee produced by the project. The Borderlands project was considered widely successful, as it started winding down in 2017/18, Carlos and Angela began to envision how their work could have the most impact going forward.
In 2019, Toldopamba officially entered its next phase with Carlos and Angela working into new areas with producers under their own organization. Since then, Toldopamana has officially become more than just a model farm. At Toldopamaba they have establish a place for farmers to to look at alternative fertilization techniques that are more sustainable. They establish a large vermiculture program and also started beekeeping. On quality, they have planted rare and unique varieties to showcase quality potential and flavor profiles. They have also set up the farm so they can show farmers how to process and dry coffee better.
Lastly, Angela and Carlos have set up a cupping lab for analyzing coffees from farmers all around them, and work with buyers around the world to set up transparent purchases.