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Rio Negro is located about half an hour east of the town of Sabalito in the southern most part of Costa Rica along the border of Panama. The plantation is located directly next to Parque Nacional La Amistad. Parque Nacional La Amistad is the largest forest-protected area in the country, consisting of over 195 000 ha in Costa Rica and extending south of the border with more than 200 000 protected hectares in Panama. The plantation now consists of a total of 692 ha of land of which 284 ha are currently in coffee production. Of the remaining 400 ha, there are 322 ha of natural forest preserve, another 60 ha of reforestation and the infrastructure (roads, housing, nursery, etc.) consumes another 18 ha.
Hacienda Rio Negro has a core of 50 full time employees including: managers, farm workers, clerical staff, drivers and maintenance personnel. Farm management assists the workers outside of farm life. They contribute to a matching saving fund for each worker and offer low cost loans to assist workers in need. The workers also have an association, Assocattica, that organizes an at cost commissary for major staple items, trips, and futbol teams. There is a medical clinic located on the farm near the administration building. A doctor staffs this clinic two days a week to administer the needs of the workers and their families. There is also a dentist at the farm three days a week to attend to the dental needs of the farm community. The goal of this clinic is to provide preventative care. Private hospital care for more serious illnesses is also available. The farm management built a daycare for the children ages 2 to 11. Hacienda Rio Negro also supports the local school with supplies and uniforms for the children and farm workers.
The Mill (Washing Station)
Recently renovated, the Rio Negro Mill combines the best of traditional and modern technologies. The Rio Negro Mill is Rainforest Alliance Certified. The separation process is clean because it uses spring water. The mill itself is a world standard for sustainable coffee processing—using hydroelectric power generated on-site and a first-of-its-kind biomass furnace which recycles the by-product of the coffee fruit as a fuel for drying the coffee. This efficiency virtually eliminates the need for forest wood.
Region: Coto Brus region, 5 hours south of San Jose and borders Panama
Altitude: 1,100-1,250 m.
Varietal: Caturra & Catuai
Process Method: Fully washed