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A Visit to the Coffee Farm

This trip back to the Dominican Republic was our first since the pandemic began, our first since I began Hato Viejo. While visiting with family was important and wonderful, a big part of this trip was visiting- for the first time in person- our coffee supplier, The Belarminio Ramirez E Hijos Farm, in Jarabacoa.   The day we arrived in the DR, we flew into Santiago de los Caballeros (usually shortened to just Santiago,) the second largest city in the country, and capital of Santiago Province. The Christmas holiday season is a big deal in the DR, and most companies close their doors for the festivities, so getting to the farm before that happened was a big priority, and we were...

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My Inherited Love of Farming

My siblings and I used to complain about my father’s job, when we were growing up. Farmingwasn’t glamorous. My mother would say, “if you don’t want your father’s life, then study, andyou can have a different life.”We didn’t actually dislike my father’s job, and we knew that work’s value, but it was really hardwork, and there was no paycheck until the end of the season. Coffee harvest usually starts inOctober, and runs through until May. A few months of hard labor, with little trickling in in themeantime. The intermediaries took most of it, in the form of advances, and if you didn’t agreeto whatever price they had gotten another farmer to agree to, they could usually find a farmerthat would,...

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A new year at the farmers market

I went into last year’s farmers market season with few expectations. I knew I had something great to share, and most of the Upper Valley hadn’t tried it yet, but I had faith. As the summer went by, I started hearing from people- some customers became regulars, stopping by my booth regularly for another bag of beans- others came by the market every week just for a cup of iced coffee. Over the winter, with the parks covered in snow and ice, a lot of the people I’d seen regularly week after week at the markets started showing up in my inbox- subscribers! Those faces turned up again at the New Year’s market, but I’ll admit, that as the summer...

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The Upper Valley Business Alliance, Leaders of our Community

  A few months after opening Hato Viejo last year, Dan and I decided to become members of the Upper Valley Business Alliance. We didn’t have a solid reason at the time- we really weren’t even aware of the benefits of such an alliance, but I knew the value of community- everything is just a little easier when you have allies. What I have found was that getting involved with the UVBA got us involved in our community in the best way- we were putting names and faces together with the business of our area and making connections. Tracy and Tammi stopped by my booth at the Farmers Market not long after we signed up, to officially welcome us. What...

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Remembering Home

My mom used to brew coffee and tea for all of us every morning. The first batch of coffee, for the adults was strong. The second batch, made from the same grounds, but lighter, and without much caffeine, was for us kids.  I woke to that aroma every morning, the scent finding its way to our bedroom- freshly roasted coffee. My mother would roast the beans the evening before, and my father would use a Pilon (a wooden hand grinder) to grind them, and then a Colador (a pour-over sack) to brew the coffee. My parents were up early, by 5 am every morning, to brew coffee and tea, to make breakfast for all of us kids, and for those...

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