In a typical coffee monoculture farm, coffee plants are just rooted there in depleted soil all by themselves. At our partner farm (pic above), however, the coffee plants are 360 degrees surrounded (literally) by diverse plant friends, funny-looking ones, spicy ones, sweet ones, and more. Some are tall. Some are short. Scroll down to see who they are! In academics, they call this, Agroforestry. Our coffee calls it a party. The biodiversity in our partner farm provides benefits to the ecosystem above, habitats for beneficial insects, which keep pests at bay, and below the ground, diverse food sources for a thriving microbes community (read: healthy soil). A win-win situation for all involved!
So, who are some of these friends?
- Love it or hate it kinda fruit. Did you know there are 600(!) varieties found so far in Thailand? It’s another of P’Oh and P’Tor’s cash crops. This is one of their kids, running around with the durians in tow.
- You have seen its fruit but have you seen its flower? This cool-looking flower (admittedly, the banana below is not at our partner farm) is also edible. It’s actually a common side vegetable for Pad Thai in Thailand!
- There is a dwarf variety, which makes it easy for shorties like us to harvest and make savory dishes like Somtum or eat when they’re ripened like a regular fruit 😋.
- No, it’s not the same as longan. Even though it looks similar from the outside, the taste and the look inside are completely different!
- Small but mighty grasses 💪
- In a conventional farm, these grasses are considered weeds and will get killed with chemicals. At our partner farm, however, these unassuming plants are kept around to play essential roles in managing water, protecting soil from erosion, and feeding onsite compost piles.
It’s a beautiful dynamic land that not only grows good coffee for you and the planet but is also very exciting to explore 👀.