(As told to Laura Peterson)
I have just returned from a business trip unlike any other I have ever experienced.
We send a group of employees "to source" every year to learn more about what goes into growing and harvesting high-quality coffee. Invariably, people return with a new respect for the bean, and the hard working farmers who grow them. I was no exception.
Our trip began with a visit to the Huatusco cooperative in Mexico. We've been buying Fair Trade coffee from them for years and we're always greeted like old friends. I tried my hand at picking coffee, but my technique paled next to the farmers' skill and efficiency. We then went to the hospital where Grounds for Health provides cancer screening for women in coffee-growing communities. It was gratifying to see how our support is helping this non-profit make a difference in families' lives.
Finally, we visited a school we support at Finca Dos Marias in Guatemala. As we were leaving, one of the students, not much younger than my own daughter, approached us to thank us. She graduates this year and will go to nursing school on a full scholarship. I will always remember the poise, the grace, and the hope in this young woman.
Like many employees who have been to source, I was struck by how much work goes into creating a great cup of coffee. I came home with a deeper appreciation of all the people who contribute to the Green Mountain experience. Thank you for joining us in the exciting journey, from tree to cup.
Larry Blanford, CEO