Brazilian farmer hopes for sweeter coffee market
Brazilian farmer Marcos Croce has woken up and smelled the coffee -- embracing the organic trend and bucking Brazil's long-held status as a mass producer of poor quality beans.
His Hacienda Ambiental Fortaleza plantation, surrounded by tropical plants and trees in Sao Paulo state, goes against everything that has made Brazil the world's biggest, though hardly most appreciated, source of coffee.
Croce's specialty-grade coffee grows organically: some of the plants in the sun, others in the shade, and the soil is fertilizer free. "We will never manage to compete in terms of quantity, but here we have managed to stand apart with consistent quality," Croce, 62, said as he walked between rows of shrubs speckled with red coffee beans. The hacienda stands 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) above sea level, some 185 miles (300 kilometers) north of Brazil's financial capital and biggest city, Sao Paulo. It has been producing coffee since 1890, most of that with an eye on the mass market and using fertilizers and pesticides.