In 1964, a Swedish born Californian banker by the name of Rudolph A. Peterson (1904-2003) purchased Hacienda La Esmeralda, a farm, which at that time was 40 years old and comprised several hundred hectares in the area of Palmira, as well as a property in Cañas Verdes. Price Peterson, son of Rudolph A. Peterson, took over the administration of the Hacienda in 1973. Born in California in 1936, Price received a bachelor’s degree at Pomona College, and a doctorate degree in neurochemistry from University of Pennsylvania in 1961. In 1965, he married Susan Duff while working as a professor of anatomy at University of Pennsylvania. They moved to Panama with their children Erik and Rachel in 1973 and in 1974 their third child, Daniel, was born.
Upon arriving in Panama, Price introduced dairy cattle to the farm and opened the first milk parlor. To date, there are four milk parlors in different areas of the farm. Although there was always coffee on the farm, major portions of land were planted with coffee trees in 1987. In 1994, a Beneficio (coffee processing plant) was added in order to process all the coffee on the farm itself. The Peterson family sees their responsibility as stewards both for the people they work with and for the land. Some of the social programs they have implemented include: a nursery- where children are cared for, fed and educated by certified teachers while their parents are harvesting; weekly food supplements- each worker receives a bag of rice and either a bag of beans or a
large can of sardines; and healthcare during the harvest- each weekend a doctor, dentist, and mobile pharmacy unit is provided at the worker’s living quarters. Each worker receives two worker bonuses per year, one with their final paycheck at the end of harvest in March and one in June when they are in between work seasons.
In 1996, all the members of the Peterson clan joined forces to purchase another farm in the area of Jaramillo, Boquete, referred to as Esmeralda Jaramillo.
Esmeralda Especial is the crown jewel of coffee, winning countless first place prizes in cupping events across the globe. This remarkable cup is the result of a cold climate at high altitudes, the Ethiopia heirloom Gesha variety, extremely selective harvesting, lot separation and inventive processing. Due to the climate and the low yield typical of the Gesha variety, they only produce about 100 bags at present.
Later in the year, Stumptown will offer an exclusive lot of Esmeralda Especial Peaberry, which was hand separated from the Esmeralda Boquete flat beans during dry milling prior to export. Peaberry, also known as caracolillo, is a natural genetic mutation where only one of the two seeds within the coffee cherry gets fertilized developing one oval (or pea-shaped) bean. We look forward to tasting it again this year!
This year Stumptown selected the Mario Carnaval lot as the highest quality lot. The name Mario Carnaval refers to both the time of harvest, February, and the growing region ‘North of the creek’ in Jaramillo de Boquete home to the most prized lots in Gesha variety history.