The high elevation, fertile soil and well-defined seasons of the Mantiqueira de Minas region create the ideal environment for cultivating dense, sweet cherry at Fazenda Santa Clara. The Pereira family’s ancestors planted the first coffee trees on Fazenda Santa Clara in 1900. Since then, the family has been dedicated to coffee production. Today, third-generation owners Moacyr Dias Pereira & Alayde Graciano Pereira operate the farm with help from their four adult children: Fernando, Carlos Henrique, Eduardo and Luciana. Their children are married and live with their families on the land.
Due to their large size, most Brazilian farms are built and equipped for mechanical harvesting and processing. The relatively flat landscape across many of Brazil’s coffee regions combined with high minimum wages has led most farms to opt for this type of mechanical harvesting over selective hand-picking.
In the past, this mechanization meant that strip-picking was the norm; however, today’s mechanical harvesters are increasingly sensitive, meaning that farms can harvest only fully ripe cherries at each pass, which is good news for specialty-oriented producers.
In many cases and on less level sections of farms, a mixed form of ‘manual mechanized’ harvesting may be used, where ripe coffee is picked using a derricadeira – a sort of mechanized rake that uses vibration to harvest ripe cherry. A tarp is spanned between coffee trees to capture the cherry as it falls. With the aid of these newer, more selective technologies, there’s a growing number of farms who are increasingly concerned with – and able to deliver – cup quality. After harvest, cherry is typically laid to dry in thin layers on patios. Under direct sunlight, cherry is carefully monitored and turned frequently. Once dry, cherry rests on the farm before being transported to COCARIVE’s warehouse where it is prepared for export.