We've spent the last two weeks recovering from a trip to Baguio City. This was our third trip since beginning Silver Hand, and certainly our most fruitful.
(Pun intended - look at these coffee cherries!)
Last June, we embarked on a journey to grow coffee on ancestral land in the Philippines. The responsibility to reclaim these lands and keep them in the family is the motivation behind this company, and we've been at it for the past few years.
This land is centuries old, and growing smaller and smaller as the years pass. To plant something like coffee gives the local economy a boost, draws attention to the Philippine's ability to produce specialty coffee, and allows us to fill trade-based jobs with people who need them.
And what a sight for sore eyes these little plants were. Many of them have grown, strong and sturdy, and are bearing their first fruits.
Not all of them were healthy, however. There's a large parcel of land that is struggling.
To remedy the soil deficiency, we began by taking soil samples of the land, and sending them into the lab for testing - admittedly something we should have done long before planting our seedlings.
The information we've gathered so far has been a combination of personal research and sincere advice from our friends at Kalsada Coffee. To be quite frank, without their willingness to assist and show us the ropes, we'd be a little lost.
They've been working on championing specialty grade coffee out of the Philippines for the last several years. One of their farms, and site of their processing facility, is extraordinarily close to our own land in Baguio. They were kind enough to show us around provide advice, as well as encouragement.
On top of that, they knew all the best spots to eat and drink in Manila, that's for damn sure.
So, what's next?
We'll be returning in November to start germinating a seedling nursery with our first harvest, and start to implement some soil revitalization. We're learning it is increasingly difficult to manage the farm from afar, and the likelihood of us returning for months at a time is increasing.
We just started an Instagram for farm updates, @milkrose_farm. We'll be posting more as things develop! Stay tuned.