Gather the crops; Harvesting.

Are you a farmer? If you’re not, chances are you know one. They make up a significant part of

World record combine, by Childrens Camps International.

World record combine, by Childrens Camps International.

our population.

It is harvest time here in Manitoba. With 19,054 farms (according to the Canadian Census of Agriculture) I figured it might be nice to talk about harvesting.

All though I probably know more about coffee than I do wheat, canola, soybeans, etc. I would imagine there are different varietals and species as in coffee. If someone has an awesome blog on Manitoban crops and harvesting, I’d love to read about it. Here is a bit on coffee.

Coffee harvesting schedules usually run about 3 to 4 months long. Coffee, unlike most major crops in the Manitoba, ripens at different rates. That means that within even the same cluster of cherries it is possible to have under-ripe, ripe, and over-ripe cherries. This is why selective picking is so crucial to get a high quality product. When the pickers go out to harvest coffee, they are looking for only the ripe fruit. This way they can ensure a quality product to move on to the next step in coffee processing.

High quality coffee is found high up on mountains, typically shaded under larger trees. The highest quality coffees grow at higher altitude for a number of reasons. They grow slower. This means the beans have a longer time to develop. The longer they have to develop, the denser the beans are and they have more time to soak up the natural fruit sugars that the surrounding cherry pulp is developing. Having shade from bigger trees also means that the sun won’t burn the trees. As these trees are very sensitive to sunlight. Another side benefit to altitude is that some of the diseases and insects that are known to thrive on coffee trees cannot acclimate to this altitude. Most lower quality coffees are grown at lower altitude and in direct sunlight. When they are harvested, they use a technique called strip harvesting where they take all the cherries off of a tree at the same time regardless of development. This can be done either by hand by pulling everything off in one motion, or with a mechanical harvester that essentially bats off all of the fruit. As you can imagine, with this type of harvesting you not only get the unripe and over ripe along with the good stuff, you also get sticks, rocks and all sorts of other unwanted extras. All these things affect cup quality and pricing.

As I mentioned earlier, I would love to read up and learn more about harvesting both at home and internationally, so if anyone has any resources they can point me towards, I would really appreciate that.

Farmers here at home as well as those abroad are usually passionate people that love what they do and I hope to honor our global village of farmers.


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