Country: Kenya (Nyeri)
Farmer: 790 smallholder farmers
Varietal: Batian, Ruiru 11, SL28, SL34
Processing: Fully Washed
Altitude: 1800 – 2050 MASL
Flavour notes: Strawberry, Pineapple & Brown Sugar
Size: 8oz / 227 grams
Gatina Washing Station sits a few kilometers outside the town of Karatina in Nyeri County. The station was built in 1968, nestled between the western slopes of Mt. Kenya and the eastern slopes of the Aberdares mountains. It is managed by Mugaga Farmers’ Cooperative Society. Today, the station receives cherry from 790 members. Of those, 280—over 30%—are women.
Farmers selectively handpick ripe cherry and deliver it directly to Gatina, or one of the 4 collection points created to ease transport burdens on more distant farms. Cherry is hand sorted at intake and damaged, overripes and underripes are removed before pulping. The role of the cherry clerk, who must ensure that only the ripest cherry is processed, is of paramount importance. Farmers will not be allowed to submit sub-par cherry and must take any rejected cherry home with them to dry on beds or mats. This cherry can then be submitted at the end of the season as mbuni grade for a much lower price. In this way, farmers are incentivized to only pick cherry that is truly at its peak.