San Miguel has a year-round compost program that not only produces fertilizer to be used for coffee plants, but cuts down on the amount of coffee pulp (skin removed from the coffee seed) that accumulates at wet mills, resulting in more waste water run-offs. Once the coffee cherry has been de-pulped, red African worms are introduced to the dirt and pulp mixture to eat and digest the pulp, which produces a fertilizer rich in macro and micronutrients that encourage the growth of plants, both grown and in nurseries. This practice benefits the farm and community- whatever fertilizer is not used on the farm is sold to other farmers in the city.
Water is one of the most important factors to consider when creating an environmentally sustainable operation and San Miguel processes coffee in a way that exemplifies efficient water usage in Guatemala. San Miguel has a water efficient-mill on site that has a water treatment facility attached to it. Water is reused only once during the wet milling process because water will begin to absorb the honey from the coffee cherries and pulp. This honey, if not removed from the water, can become toxic to the land in comes in contact with. Because of this risk, waste water sits in reabsorption wells for three days until the toxic sediments have separated from the water onto the tanks.
Growing the farm in a sustainable way starts with growing a community. San Miguel starts with taking care of their workers. El Tempixque employs 300 people during the peak of the harvest and strives to be the most competitive farm in terms of working conditions and salaries in the area. A great example of this ongoing effort to grow a sustainable community is the health clinic, which bears Arturo’s name, reflecting the care and pride with which he ran his farm. Aproximately 4,000 patients are cared for each year at the clinic, which was founded in 2006. Medical, dental, and pharmaceutical services are provided for the employees, suppliers and their families free of charge.
Parchment fueling our Dry Mills
Once coffees are hulled and parchment is removed, that parchment is stored in silos so that it can be used to fuel mechanical dryers. Using parchment to fuel dryers results in a natural-like drying for the coffee in side the dryer. This process is monitored closely so temperatures do not This dry, flaky parchment cuts down on fuel costs by reducing lumber needed to fuel the dryers.