I am writing this from Tegucigalpa having just returned from three days in the coffee mountains of Honduras in the world famous high altitude growing regions of San Juancito and Marcala. We have been meeting with lots of small and large cooperatives that grow organic and fair trade certified coffee to see if we can negotiate the “next step” improvement in the relationships between producers and consumers: direct trade.
In direct trade all sides benefit by cutting out the middlemen brokers who suck up a huge percentage of the “profit” benefitting neither side of the chain. We are getting a good reception and bringing back 30 pounds of coffee from various cooperatives (COMUCAP, RAOS, and COMISAJUL for example) so that our roaster can test them for our special Fair Grinds Coffeehouse blends. Then we will try to make a final deal, which won’t be easy, and in fact might not be possible this season except in a micro-lot for our own store, which unfortunately might make the whole proposition more expensive, since we would only be buying 2 tons of coffee for Fair Grinds. (Yes, you drink some coffee every year and more every day – muchas gracias!). We are hoping to find some partners to buy more and lower the price, but we will see. I’ll have more to report on this in coming weeks. It is very exciting, hugely educational, and heartwarming and heartbreaking experience, but the devil is in the details when our limited resources are part of the equation along with our desire to hold on to our prices to our community of coffee drinkers.
Katie put a postscript on a report the other day that, yes indeed, the new turkey sandwich is flying off the shelf. Many of you have probably noticed that we expanded the number of quiches and enlarged the empandas to make them a more substantial meal. Our suppliers have been our heroic partners in helping make Fair Grinds rock on the food side!
In April get ready for some surprises around Fair Grinds Coffeehouse and the greater New Orleans community as we debut our coffee “pop-ups” around the city and for Jazz Fest. We had two new coffee carts built, and we are finishing the last touches on the branding and so forth, and then rolling them out to areas where our customers have told us about “coffee deserts” that are desperate for Fair Grinds coffee at different times of the morning and afternoon. Hoping this works! We’re jazzed!!! Oh, and, yes, to accommodate the Jazz Fest crowd and our usual customer load, we’re going to have both carts set up in the patio and out front so we can operate several lines during the Festival and keep the crowds caffeinated and moving.
April again also looks like it’s going to be a musical month. Here’s the tentative schedule of coming musical attractions including local groups and talent from this area as well as folks from around the country. Check the Fair Grinds calendar at www.fairgrinds.com for more details on each performance.
Laura Stevenson and the Cans (Seattle) — Monday, April 2nd 8PM
Tom Maron and Daron Douglas – Friday, April 6th 8 PM
Open Mic with Robert Eustis – Thursday, April 12th 8PM
Jonathan Roniger – Saturday, April 14th 8PM
Joe Barbara – Thursday, April 19th 7:30 PM
Lips & Trips – Friday, April 20th 7:30 PM
Snail Party (Canada) – Saturday, April 21st 8 PM
Gallivan Burwell – Friday, April 27th 8PM
Kim and Sharon Apres-Fest (Mass) – Sunday, April 29th 8PM
Gotta run! One last cooperative meeting in minutes, so crossing my fingers that the price is right, because I love this group and its manager!
Stay well and see you soon at Fair Grinds!
Ps. You are missing something if you are not seeing the updates on our website and Facebook sites where we keep folks current! New features on history of coffeehouses and the real story behind chicory should be up in April along with MORE!