Harvest time, it’s our favorite time of the year! The air is filled with spring breezes and warmer days, but the heavy rains and punishing heat of summer have not yet arrived. The mountains turn a brilliant hue of green, the sky appears a crystal blue. Coffee plants hang low from the weight of bright red cherries waiting to be hand picked from their branches.  It’s time for the coffee harvest!

Haitian families and hired workers are sprinkled throughout the hillside filling buckets and baskets with their bounty. They can be heard singing songs in Creole, a mix of gospel and folk sounds fill the air. Women can be seen walking to weigh stations with baskets carefully balanced on their heads. They appear to float above the earth as they move with grace and beauty.

Pick ups, donkeys and motorcycles are filled with bags of cherries headed to the depulper and drying pads. Already there are men and women with rakes in hand, turning the seeds from days past that have been depulped. The seeds are undressed from their red wrappings and laid bare to be kissed by the sun. They continue their leisurely journey to the mechanical sorting equipment, and after their dance, the sorting tables.

Women banter with each other talking about their communities, family, churches, and politics. Laughter seasons the conversations. They love the time of year when work is found daily at the coffee cooperative, and work is accomplished together amongst friends.

Coffee is like religion in these mountains, and the resurrection of Christ is celebrated with a fresh coffee harvest each Easter. Harvest time is the happiest time of the year!

Eric English

Author Eric English

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