Brooke Bishop (Written in 2008)
I woke up this morning to a big truck lugging its way up our road, spewing black smoke, and shaking our little apartment. Then I heard foot traffic heading down the road, all of this at 6:00 am. Now early mornings are familiar to me, who wants to be caught in their pajamas at 8 in the morning when most Tica’s have already started their laundry, begun cleaning their homes, made, eaten, and cleaned up breakfast, and even have lunch started? But this seemed to be a lot more commotion than usual for an early Monday morning. Then as I was making my coffee, a smell of burned toast came into my kitchen window, and that’s it, the coffee beans are ready! That burned toast smell is the roaster just down the road toasting coffee. It’s time for our little barrio to become bombarded by big trucks hauling coffee in to be processed. Hundreds of our Northern neighbors, as well as a few down and outter’s, have come to pick the golden beans.
This is good I think, extra money for all… and here come the tourists– the first bus going to the Espirito de Santo Coffee Tour went by today. To add to December is yet another bonus, no more rain! Our sleepy little town of Naranjo is coming back to life after months of hibernation. This is my favorite time of year, I will even look the other way for the first month as the huge diesel trucks blow dust and debris into my house, and spew black smoke at me as I am walking up to the market. This means money, and that makes everyone in Naranjo happy; everyone here is at the very least indirectly connected to coffee. If you don’t have a little or big plantation, then your father, grandfather, or third cousin does. And if by some chance you are one of the few who don’t have relatives with plantations, well that doesn’t matter either, because those people who are picking will be buying from the stores here! The local stores are almost frantically stocking in anticipation of everyone having a little extra money.
Heading up to the market I can see that everyone, shop owners, farmers, even children, (school is out for a month and a half) are all in great moods! The Christmas winds are blowing the palm trees in the park, and some of the trash around, it is late afternoon and still no rain. So here we go into another coffee season, another tourist season, another dry season, and another summer! Naranjo is waking up, as much as it can anyway. Most people think they may have driven through Naranjo, which you probably have if you went to the Arenal Volcano. But there was never really a reason to stop. And, I guess there really a reason isn’t now either. But to me, it is still one of the most authentic, sleepy towns you can visit in Costa Rica. Naranjo is a great place to live, it is self-proclaimed to have one of the busiest central markets in Costa Rica. Easy to believe if you have ever dodged in to buy a head of lettuce, some beef cutlets, or your lotto ticket. Somehow, the Naranjo market is both one of the most intimidating, and friendliest places in Costa Rica…another of those paradox’s that anyone who is a transplant here keeps stumbling on.
Each small town in Costa Rica has its “thing” Naranjo will always be coffee, the town breathes coffee and produces some of the best in the country.