By Michelle Fish
December, 2019 seems likes another lifetime ago. One with fewer cares and broader horizons. I feel fortunate that we were able to accomplish as much travel as we did pre-Covid19. We are definitely looking forward to getting back out there as soon as we can do it safely.
One of our last trips was to visit our Farm Direct partners at the El Recreo Coffee Estate in Jinotega, Nicaragua. We took a mighty crew with us on that trip: Matt Corbeil, a BIGGBY Coffee Franchisee from Muskegon, MI; Heather Zink and Michael Kotia from the BIGGBY home office; Rich Schaafsma from Paramount Coffee and our dear friend and photographer extraordinaire, Kim Zahnow.
The visit at the farm was, of course, wonderful. We were there during the harvest, so it gave us a chance to spend time with the workers who pick the coffee. Watching the initial processing of the crop at the farm was a treat. We also had many great discussions with Carlos and Leanna Ferrey, the owners of El Recreo, over home cooked meals in the farmhouse kitchen, and on our long walks out in the fields.
After we said our goodbyes to El Recreo, we had one more day in Nicaragua to explore the capital city of Managua. It’s about a four hour drive from the farm. While we were “touristing,” we also took in the hidden gem city of Granada. Nicaragua is home to 23 volcanoes, 19 of them active. That kind of geological violence produces beautiful landscapes… lush lakes and semi-tropical forests. The cities teem with people, cars, horse drawn carts and wagons.
We started our day at the Masaya Volcano and National Park just outside of Managua. Masaya is an active volcano, and if you look closely at some these shots, you can actually see the lava.
Photo by Kim Zahnow
The red in the center of the photo is lava moving.
Our tour guide, Eduardo, led us through the excellent volcano information center in the State Park.
After touring the volcanoes, we strolled through an the Masaya Market which offers local artisanally made goods in Managua, as well as t-shirts and postcards. There were beautiful paintings, textiles and leather goods on offer. We all came home with a few.
Photo by Kim Zahnow.
A mural on the side of the market building.
Heather found a t-shirt to commemorate her new favorite Nicaraguan dish, Gallo Pinto.
From the market, we hopped in the van for the 30 mile drive to Granada, Nicaragua’s 6th largest City and arguably one of it’s most beautiful. It is a vibrant hub for tourists, drawn by the remarkably well maintained colonial architecture.
There are wide boulevards lined with cafe’s and restaurants, open air markets, city parks, and magnificent churches. Our first stop was lunch at the world-renowned Garden Cafe, where our friend Kim Zahnow tried her very first espresso.
We spent our afternoon strolling through the streets, listening to the sounds of music pouring out of the cafes. We happened by Guadalupe Church where a celebration was underway. It was a quinceanera when family and friends come together to celebrate a young girl’s 15th birthday.
Photo by Kim Zahnow
As the afternoon moved towards sunset, our guide took us to a market on top of the hill from where had a magnificent view of the sunset over Lake Nicaragua. It’s a favorite spot for the locals, with lots of vendors selling sweet treats and hot coffee.
After our beautiful day, we headed back to the Best Western Hotel across from the Managua Airport to toast our trip with a sip of 18 year old Flora Cana Rum.
If you would be interested in joining Bob and me on one of our trips to visit our Farm Direct partners, drop us a line through the “contact” button. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow us on FaceBook!