CoE Ranking: 7a
Farm: Las Mercedes (Piedra del Tigre)
Farmer: Édgar Heladio Ossa Castillo
Birth Place & Date: Inzá, Cauca, July 23, 1964
Parents: José Anstasio Ossa – María Alba Castillo
Siblings: 8 (Luis Alberto, Alba Gladys, Irne Orlando, Luz Ángela, Yohani, Carlos Enrique, Flor Estella, Diego Andrés, of whom four are coffee growers).
Wife’s Name: Ana Judith Meneses
Children: 4 (Deysi Costanza, Yidi Tatiana, Divier Alejandro, Carol Dayana)
Academic Level: 4th grade of primary school
Farm: Las Mercedes
Vereda (Rural District): San Isidro
Corregimiento (Municipal Sub-division): San Isidro
Total Area Grown with Coffee: 3.3 hectares
% planted with resistant varieties (Colombia & Castillo): 34% / 60%
% planted with susceptible varieties (Caturra): 6%
% of Young Technologically Advanced Coffee Plantations: 100%
Other farm crops: Kitchen garden(vegetables and legumes of different species): yucca, banana, corn, beans, together with coffee when renovation cycles take place.
Post-harvest processing (“Beneficio”): Natural fermentation
Drying: in the sun
Certifications: RFA, UTZ, 4C, FLO
Score at Cup of Excellence 2015: 88.30 (92.16 in 2011).
I was born in Inzá (Cauca) on July 23, 1964. I’m of Caucan origin by my parents, but they brought me to Huila, specifically the Acevedo municipality, where we settled down in 1972. From that time I belong to this municipality, which has given me many joys and life examples. Along with my father and mother, I started planting the first trees of common, non-high-tech coffee; that was in the 80s, a situation that led each of the eight siblings to devote itself to have its own coffee trees on the farm bought by my father, who gave each a quarter of a hectare. I inherited all fundamentals of coffee growing from my father and I have been perfecting them with the support of the Extension Service, which guides us towards a sustainable coffee farming. At that time it was with the first technician in the area, Luis Ortega, who taught us how to grow high-tech coffee and started a whole generation of technological advances based on scientific research by the National Coffee Research Center (Cenicafé).
I also devoted much of my time to harvest coffee when I was a teenager, especially in southern Tolima and northern Huila, with the piece of land that my father left me. With a few savings I was little by little buying land by the sides of Praga, Huila. In the rural district (“vereda”) of El Castel I bought a single plot, I only planted corn, yucca and some beans. During that time I met the person who has helped me with all the moral and physical support to go on with the coffee business I currently have. That person is my wife, Ana Judith Meneses, from San Isidro. I traveled with her several days to grow coffee in the plot I had acquired in Praga, until we realized it was very difficult for us to be in the two places at once and finally we sold that Praga plot and definitely came to Acevedo, where we finally settled down, bought the farm we currently have and started planting coffee shoulder to shoulder.
During all this time I have faced hard situations in life, as at a very young age I suffered degenerative arthritis, something very serious, since it prevented me from doing work on the farm, but with the help of God, my wife, friends from several groups and a program run by the FNC, all this filled my heart with hope and willingness to work. Little by little I have gone on with my life project.
Over time, I regained my mobility and kept striving to raise my family; as to friendship groups, I became part of the San Isidro Associative Group and there I started another cycle, as I aimed at a sustainable coffee production, always ensuring quality of the product we deliver. With years of dedication and training, I’m still learning the importance of producing a high-quality coffee by reasonably taking advantage of the natural, human, economic and financial resources of my coffee business. For this reason my coffee business now wears different seals, such as RFA, UTZ, 4C and FLO, which give credit to my hard work over all these years.
I also recognize the coffee institutions, Cenicafé, the Extension Service, the coffee growers cooperative, the San Isidro Associative Group, which have encouraged me to actively participate in coffee quality competitions, especially Cup of Excellence. It has been a challenge for my coffee business to become a champion in some version of this important contest; I have managed to be ranked second in 2011 and sixth in 2015. These results are an evidence of how valuable it is to produce a quality coffee and it’s something that is tuned over time. Part of that is due to good agricultural, production and hygiene practices to be followed for coffee, a product classified as food.
I thank God, my family, the FNC and the San Isidro Associative Group for my being able to continue in this beautiful activity as a coffee farmer focused on quality, a situation that commits me to not lowering my guard and continuing multiplying knowledge to my children, neighbors and friends. Being a specialty coffee producer requires work, effort and dedication. Only over time the real ripe fruits of success are seen.
|Farm Name||Las Mercedes|
|Farmer/Rep.||Edgar Heladio Ossa|
|Size (30kg boxes)||48|
|Program||Colombia North 2015|
|Aroma/Flavor||Lime, orange blossom, lemon grass, pineapple, salted caramel, peach, sweet plum, blackberry, mango, papaya, passion bruit, panela, black tea|
|Acidity||Very complex, malic, tartar and citric; zesty, lively, snappy, tangy|
|Other||Delicate, rich, complex|
|Auction Lot Size (lbs.)||2540|
|High bidders||ALMACIELO, De Ballon|