In the truck bed is a full day’s work, from 6am-4pm, of ten pickers. How many pounds of cherry do you think are in those burlap bags?
Following sizable rain, about one to two weeks later coffee flowers burst forth, emitting their lovely, delicate jasmine aroma. And like clockwork, ripe, red cherries can be picked about 210-220 days, about seven months, after blossoming.
We are currently in the middle of our third round of probably five or six pickings for this season. We’ve already harvested more cherry than our entire first season in 2018. This year and last, we’ve had good rain, and the volcanic action has stopped for now, bringing back vog-less blue skies that have been missing for decades. And the trees have had more years of regular care.
Answer: Day 1’s harvest in the truck was about 1400 pounds.
So far we’ve had a small round of picking done at the end of July, but we’re about to start picking in earnest. Two years ago, the bulk of the fruit was picked in August and September. Last year, we had great rain and most of the fruit was picked in September and October. We received good rain again this year. There will probably be 5-8 more rounds of picking, spaced about 2-3 weeks apart. It might be another short year, ending around Thanksgiving.
During each round of picking, we only pick the cherries (red berries). The fruit is perfectly ready. Flavorful coffee starts with good fruit. The dark ones (raisins) are picked and destroyed, and the green are left to redden. I’ve included an older photo from several weeks ago that shows the flowering. What were green berries in that photo are now red, and the flowers are now green fruit. You can see how one has to select what to pick and can’t just pull all the fruit off one branch at once.
And then we have the blocks of trees that were stumped earlier this year. There isn’t fruit on these trees. They’ve just been pruned for the 3-5 strongest verticals that will produce fruit for the next 2-3 years.
And for the annual June blog theme … the year’s stump progress. When we started renovating the coffee land at the beginning of 2018, the plan was to divide the three acres into three blocks. We’d stump one block each year in January/February. It’d help us clean up the coffee farm and also control Coffee Borer Beetle. The year’s stumped block wouldn’t contribute any coffee to that season’s harvest. Every year by June, the stumps have grown into lollipops and then been thinned to the strongest 4-5 verticals that will be the producers for the next two years. I find it amazing. Now, the third year, the whole farm has been brought back into control.
My friend Will has been practicing his photography skills with his new phone out in our coffee land. Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos, Will.
We’ve been through this the past two years now. Trees are stumped at the end of January, and by April/May they’re like green-leaf lollipops. They will be pruned a little later, to keep the strongest 3-5 verticals.
With all the rain, there’s a lot of other growth, too. Weeds … the constant battle. Ignore them, and you’ll soon have a tropical jungle.
(If you’re new to this blog, you might want to see this post from February 2020 which refers back to a few years of the pruning-related posts).