We were first introduced to the Senda Salvaje Association in January of 2011. It was a unique coincidence, there was a micro-lot that had been originally prepared for the Bolivia Cup of Excellence but the competition had been cancelled. We were in the right place at the right time to purchase their lot in 2011. The quality of that micro-lot impressed us and our curiosity led us to visit Bolivia in September 2011. On that trip, we met Juan Yujra, producer of the lot we had received. We wanted to see their farm and evaluate their harvest first-hand. Over the course of the year, we developed a closer relationship with this farm and formed a Direct Trade partnership with Juan Yujra and the farmers of this Association.
In early July, 2012, we returned to Bolivia to see our friends and partners once again. We met with Rene Viadez at his small cafe in La Paz where he prepared some espresso for us to drink while we discussed the farm. As we left for Caranavi, we looked forward to seeing the farm again. Senda Salvaje translates loosely to “wild path,” an untamed trail. It’s a very apt name as the journey from Caranavi to Senda Salvaje takes many twists and turns, over and around mountains on a single lane, dirt road. We were led there by Carmelo Yujra, his wife Daizy, and their son Alan. Juan Yujra met as at the farm with his family. The condition of the farm was excellent! The soil is rich and dark and there is a natural spring that provides plenty of water for the Typica and Caturra trees. They have also created a simple, yet efficient washing station that utilizes several stages of floating and sorting. We were impressed by the ingenuity behind the design of the washing channel and happy to see that they employ raised beds for drying.
At lunch, we presented Carmelo with a photo book from our previous trip to Bolivia. Later, we drove to another section of the mountain to see where Juan had been clearing the land for a new coffee lot. His son, Josué, walked around the lot as Juan told us his plans for the new lot. We look forward to our continuing Direct Trade relationship with Juan, Carmelo, and Rene as they continue to grow and innovate coffee production in Bolivia.