Oven Heaven - Ecuador
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Arnaud Causse's Terrazas del Pisque farm in the Quito region of Ecuador
Notes of Caramel, Tangerine and Raspberry
The work of Frenchman Arnaud Causse is great: "In my farm in Las Tolas, I tried to set up a coffee production in the middle of a natural forest. And every day, one way or another, the forest tries to kill the coffee. My idea with Las Terrazas del Pisque was different, because there I tried to grow a forest in the middle of the desert so that I could eventually set up coffee" Arnaud Causse.
Las Terrazas del Pisque is Arnaud's second farm, historically dedicated to cow farming, it was acquired in 2012. More experimental than its elder Las Tolas, it is located on the peaceful flank of the Andes mountain range between 1700 and 2100 meters above sea level, in an arid and desert micro climate. He first planted a forest to create a microclimate that could accommodate his coffee trees with more than 25 tree species, some of which are endemic. The plantation is therefore totally shaded by ingas, acacias, ricins, papayas, grapefruits, lemon trees, tangerines, avocado trees, tea trees, fig trees, cypress trees, ash trees, grenadiers, eucalyptus, genets, nefliers... the list is long...
As Arnaud says so well: "In Las Tolas, the trees all know each other, the café remains the only intruder, whereas in Las Terrazas, the trees are all strangers to each other, so they cannot reject coffee which is as intruder as they are in the ecosystem."
The name of the farm comes from the river "El Pisque" which passes below, formed by the melting of the snow of the volcano Cayambe. Of the 40 hectares, Arnaud grows only 15 hectares at the moment because he has to draw water from more than 8 km. Its ultimate goal is to cultivate 25 hectares. For the varieties, Arnaud chose the same as in Las Tolas, the ones he knows well and loves so much: Caturra, Yellow Caturra, Bourbon Tekisik, Pacamara, Pacas, Java and a brand new one, the las Tolas hybrid, which is an Ecuadorian mutation of his Bourbon and some new Ethiopian variety plants.
Arnaud also has beehives and during flowering, bees invade the plantation and forage for flowers in coffee, lavender and raspberry flowers. In order to preserve his bees, Arnaud does not use any pesticides on his farms and he treats his coffee trees with essential oils of taget, lavender and rosemary that he produces himself.
Las Terrazas is a real micro-ecosystem. Honey plants such as taget, lemon balm, oregano and lavender can both produce essential oils and welcome bees for honey production. Legumes supply the farm and also fix nitrogen in the soil. As for fruit trees, they are an ideal habitat for birds that in exchange eat fruit fly larvae.
The farm is run on a daily basis by Wilson, an agricultural engineer and the son of a farmer, he has a strong and lasting awareness of agriculture.