Currently, the farm is under the management of Renardo Ovalle Vides, also nicknamed Nayo. It was his grandfather, a talented doctor and entrepreneur, who founded the La Bolsa farm in the Huehuetenango region in 1958 and began growing Bourbon and Caturra coffees on the then wooded land.
And so, while fulfilling his mission as a doctor, visiting his patients throughout the region and even becoming director of the National Hospital in Huehuetenango, growing coffee became his true passion. His humanitarian imagination went beyond coffee production, and in 1980 he founded a school on the farm, which still operates today. Four years later, he was named "Notable Coffee Grower" by the national coffee association ANACAFÉ.
Now its mission is fulfilled by the third generation of producers who place great emphasis on ecologically sustainable practices and actively prioritize the care of the ecosystem through the protection of wild animals, efficient use of water and prevention of deforestation.
The farm is located in the Huehuetenango region (pronounced hey-hey-tenango), which is located in the western part of the Guatemalan highlands on the border with Mexico. Thanks to the altitude and diverse microclimate of this mountainous region, coffee originating from here is known worldwide for its bright and fresh acidity.
The philosophy of Renard and his community is very close to us and meets our strict criteria for cooperation. Therefore, we can guarantee that we offer not only really good coffee, but also the certainty that it comes from a fair environment.
Passion for quality coffee
The Vides family is one of Guatemala's best-known producers and has built this reputation thanks to numerous Cup of Excellence placings. To top it all off, Renard's wife is known for her refined sensory skills as a Q-Grader, helping to define the profiles and characteristics of each coffee from their farms. Coffees from the Vides family never cease to surprise us, which corresponds to their constant pursuit of improvement and willingness to learn new things.
A kindergarten and a primary school were established for the children of employees and children from the surrounding villages. The main reason was to provide children with basic education, improve the quality of life of coffee pickers and reduce child labor. The farm is also part of the child labor prevention program and serves as a day care center during the harvest season. At the same time, Renardo and his wife ensure housing, medical care and, of course, a fair wage for their employees.
Charles, the owner of La Bohème Café, was very impressed by the farm's biodiversity and location. People here have no choice but to work in harmony with nature, and therefore also use what it offers them with respect. Not only is coffee grown here, earthworms are also bred here! These are natural compost and at the same time have a great effect on aerating the soil, which increases its fertility.
Careful attention is also paid to the proper filtration of the water left over after coffee processing to prevent water pollution in the surrounding villages. For this, they use a natural three-stage filtration system in combination with calcium carbonate.
Our quality controller Jacob, who had the opportunity to visit the farm, can totally agree with this. The Huehuetenango area is generally difficult to access, especially during the rainy season, which presents a high risk of landslides. And so there was nothing left but to use air transport. The flight was scheduled for 6 in the morning, and Jacob set out on foot for the airport at 5:30, despite warnings from local gangs. When he saw the unkempt hangar, he suddenly wasn't quite so sure of his decision. Then came another minor shock when he was asked to weigh in on the spot. A brief explanation: our Jacob is not one of the small ones, so he did not even meet the dimensions of the average Guatemalan. So he had to pay for the trip for two.
As he later said, despite a bit of culture shock, the flight went well, followed by a three-hour car ride to the farm with a driver who didn't speak a word of English, and Jake speaks similarly "fluent" Spanish.
Unfortunately, he only visited the farm after the harvest, so he didn't have the opportunity to meet the pickers. On the other hand, the La Bohème Café team had the opportunity to taste the freshest harvest at the Vides family headquarters in Guatemala City!
The greatest experience of the entire trip for him was visiting the farm and participating in the international jury of the One of a Kind competition. To see the producers getting awards for their coffee, how much it means to them and to share that joy with them.