The Quindío department, nestled in the heart of western Colombia, boasts an expanse of 1,947 square kilometers that beckons exploration. Bounded by the departments of Valle del Cauca, Tolima, and Risaralda, its geography is as diverse as it is captivating.
The western reaches of this region unfold with a tapestry of landscapes, a rugged terrain painted with the meanderings of numerous rivers. Among them, the Quindío, La Vieja, San Juan, Barragán, Espejo, and Rojo rivers weave their stories into the fabric of the land. On the contrasting eastern horizon, a volcanic panorama comes to life, crowned by the majestic presence of El Nevado del Quindío.
While the department itself came into official existence in 1966, its roots trace back to the greater tapestry of the Caldas Department. A story of evolution and transformation, where history unfolds across time.
In epochs before the footsteps of the Spaniards, these lands bore witness to the vibrant presence of the Quimbaya natives. These indigenous peoples thrived, amassing riches in the form of gold, skillfully shaping it into intricate works of artistry that echoed their mastery.
Carlos Arcila is a third-generation coffee farmer, he was born in a traditional coffee family from Quindío. Since he was a child, he was part of the family business helping his father around the farm. Carlos owns Castellon farm, a 7-hectare farm located at 1450 m.a.s.l in Armenia, Quindío. Carlos is a landscape gardener so, when he bought Castellon 32 years ago, he wanted to restore the soil and the historical elements of Castellon. He started planting native trees and flowers and was able to revive the natural spring. He also planted beautiful flowers such as Heliconia, Romelia and native trees such as Guamo, and Nogales among others. Nowadays, Castellon is a stunning coffee farm with gorgeous flowers tracing the footpaths and surrounded by native trees.
In the beginning, he started planting Colombia variety, selling his coffee to some cooperatives and the FNC. He learned about coffee farming from a very young age from his father. This gave him a wealth of knowledge in commercial farming practices and how to generate better incomes.
Carlos has seen a change in the demand for Specialty Coffee and has changed his approach as a result. With the support of Cofinet and their technical advice, he now has a large Gesha plantation. Here he implements strict farming practices and is able to deliver perfectly ripe cherries to Cofinet for processing. Carlos says that even though agricultural inputs are increasing in price, the additional premiums he is receiving for his high-quality coffees make coffee farming a profitable business. Outside of coffee, Don Carlos enjoys being at the farm and taking care of his garden. He also loves to host groups of people who are curious about the plants and trees he has planted on his farm.