My brother-in-law, Tom, who is currently living in Medellin Colombia, recently sent us some photos he took while visiting the beautiful little town of Jardin. Jardin is roughly three hours south of Medellin on the southwestern edge of the Antioquia Department (County). It also happens to lie in one the best coffee producing regions in Colombia. Colombia is unique among coffee producing countries in several ways, with one of the more interesting being their coffee harvest schedule. As you know, coffee everywhere grows as a seasonal fruit that matures throughout its growing season and is picked as the fruit ripens. The time of year that this ripening takes place is dependent on two factors. The first is the origin countries latitude, or to be more specific, it's distance north or south from the equator. Coffee only grows in a narrow band between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, known as the 'Bean Belt", and depending on which hemisphere the country lies, as well as its distance away from the equator determines its harvest date. The second contributing factor which can impact a crops harvest date is due to the fact that coffee relies heavily on ample amounts of rainfall and so the harvest can be slightly earlier or later depending on the onset of the rainy season. What makes Colombia somewhat unique with regards to its harvest schedule has to do with the fact that Colombia lies directly on the equator. Because of this geographic anomoly, parts of Colombia that are close enough to the equator are actually blessed with two distinct growing seasons and therefore, two harvests. As an example, coffee grown around the area of Jardin has its main harvest in the fall and early winter months, and then a slightly shorter harvest again in the spring. In Spanish, the main harvest is called the 'principal', while the secondary harvest is known as the fly crop or in Spanish, the 'Mitaca'. The tree pictured here shows some fruit ready for harvest in the Mitaca season.
'Harvest Map' courtesy of the Colombian Coffee Federation