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Being in Two Places at Once

Posted on June 09 2019

Organic Pima Cotton Field

Being in Two Places at Once

As Fair Indigo's business has grown, so too has our need for organic Pima cotton - the building block for the vast majority of our clothing. This year's May harvest at our little family farm in Pisco, Peru is a bumper crop! The cotton you see in these pictures will be used for clothing that will be in stock in March of 2020.

Organic cotton being harvested in Peru

 

Organic Pima Cotton Harvest

But not every harvest is a bumper. Like in 2017 when a series of heat waves and torrential rains nearly wiped out a big portion of this farm's crops. Pima cotton can only be grown with just the right amount of rain, heat, and sunshine. When any one of them is out of whack, it's difficult to produce at full capacity. The 2017 harvest really pushed our supply to the brink; we barely squeaked by 2018 with enough cotton to make our production.

So how not to have another 2017 but still maintain our commitment to supporting small, independent family farms? Our visionary partner, Javier (below on his beloved tractor), has a plan. It's an insurance plan of sorts. While the odds of one catastrophic harvest are thankfully low, the odds of two in the same year are minuscule if the two farms are far enough apart.

So early this year Javier set out to explore the area around Chiclayo - hundreds of miles from his farm in Pisco and one on the opposite harvest schedule. In Pisco, the planting is in November and harvest in May. In Chiclayo it's almost the exact opposite.

Javier on his tractor 

FUN FACT - on most Peruvian farms, there are two growing seasons per year. On cotton farms, they usually plant root vegetables in the opposite season. The cotton and root vegetables perfectly complement each other and replenish the soil with the minerals and ph balance the other needs - SMART! They really have this down to a science. Last year, an acre or so of cotton plants were a couple feet shorter than normal. They identified the issue as too much acidity in the soil. So they'll be planting organic beets this season to bring the acidity to the right level. Who knew? Smart farmers, that's who!

In March, Javier purchased 4 hectares in Chiclayo, confirmed the organic soil certification, and got busy planting! The two farms together will be more than enough to fill Fair Indigo's needs and kick off some additional crop income to boot. If one farm has a tough year, odds are the other one will fill in.  

He's on his new farm as I write this post. In fact, earlier today I received a message from him by WhatsApp. The pics are small but the plants look great! We'll all sleep better knowing our beloved organic Pima cotton is growing in two places at once.

WhatsApp view from new cotton farm

Robert Behnke
Founder, Fair Indigo

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