Located in the mountainous region of Sul De Minas, Fazenda Vale Do Sol is perfectly situated to grow coffee in Brazil. The small 75 hectare farm has been in the Garcia Family since 2008. The Family has a history of three generations of coffee producers initially beginning with Alexandre Garcia Capelo who inspired his son Antonio Wander Garcia to follow in his footsteps and farm coffee studying Agricultural engineering and specifically researching plant reproduction and plant nutrition. This family tradition has followed onto Antonio’s son, André Luiz Alvarenga Garcia who also studied agricultural engineering like his father with particular focus on pruning and production. With this knowledge they now work together on the Fazenda Vale Do Sol with detailed care and attention to create the best growing environment for the coffee trees. They have implemented the use of more organic fertilisers as well as reducing the amount of agrochemicals they use on the crop. Since taking over the farm they have implemented the planting of native fruit trees each year as well as bracharia (a type of grass) and banana plants in between the rows of coffee plants to help maintain the health of the soils and prevent erosion. The farm also uses the practise of cyclical pruning on a 2 or 4 year rotation depending on the climate and the structural condition of the plant. This helps to strengthen the plant and reduces its susceptibility to disease.
Prior to the Garica Family becoming owners at Fazedna Vale Do Sol, four brothers and their families lived on the farm. It was important to the Garcia Family to look after and these families and respect the history of the farm. The four brothers all work on the day to day running of the farm and their wives are also employed during the harvest to help with the volume of work. Each year the families will also receive a bonus at the end of the Harvest once the coffee is sold. As part of their commitment to the families and improving the social conditions on the farm, the workers houses were rebuilt 2009 & 2010 to provide better living conditions. The children living on the farm also receive transportation each day to help them to and from their local school.
During Harvest the coffee is manually collected when the cherry reaches maturation, this carries on until a point is reached where the majority of cherries may become over ripe as then a mechanical harvester is used to strip pick the coffee to ensure a maximum yield. Once picked, the coffee is then laid out on patio’s and turned every hour until 50% moisture is reached. The coffee is then collected in thicker piles to allow it to dry down to 11.5%. The process can last up to 21 days and once dried, it is then stored in wooden hoppers for 20 days to rest and equalise before being hulled and bagged ready for shipment.