by Phil McKenna
A progress report on Gaviota Coast coffee
In the June of 2020 the Conservancy made a grant to Jay Ruskey of FRINJ Coffee at Goodland Organics to plant 884 coffea arabica (var. Geisha) plants on 1.13 acres. Interplanted with the coffee plants would be ten species of subtropical companion plants as a windbreak and a secondary crop, creating an innovative agroforest. This picture shows the plot ready for planting after it was cleared of the trees in a failed avocado planting (several of the surviving avocados remain). The agroforest planting and irrigation system was completed in October 2020.
In September 2022, two years later, we revisited the plot and found a vibrant orchard thriving in the southern exposure at 650 above sea level. The week prior to our visit the temperature reached over 100 degrees for several consecutive days, producing “noticeable heat-related accelerated vegetative growth” in the well irrigated orchard. In May of this year the first flowers blossomed and a month later the first “cherry” set. It was a delight to see the fruits of an innovative and entrepreneurial enterprise on the Gaviota Coast.