The organic farming system in Yajalon is performed under the partial shade of native trees and the coffee is intercropped with beans, bananas, pumpkins and citrus fruits and plums. Farmers work together as an organic producer group and fertilise their crops with coffee cherry pulp, dry leaves and wood ashes. Coffee cherries are picked once ripe, de-pulped and fermented between 12-17 hours, washed, and then sun dried on farmers’ patios.
One of the most defining landmarks in the region is Palenque City, which has some of the most preserved Mayan architecture in the world. Palenque city was called Lakamha or “Big Water” for the abundant water found in the region and when we visited we bathed in the calcium formed pools of Agua Azul, listened as the call of Howler Monkeys echoed around the ruins and learned about the ancient Mayan and Tzeltal people.
Yajalón is a municipality located in the Tulijá Tzeltal Chol region and the majority of the 37,000 inhabitants have indigenous Tzeltal origins. The region boasts high biodiversity with native fauna including hummingbirds, anteaters, ocelots and saraguatos (black howler monkey). Cajpe (coffee in the Tzeltal language) is the main economic activity in the communities and is the main link for the community with the international markets. Coffee is the primary cash-crop here but it is often produced with food staples like corn, beans, and spicy chilies, mainly for consumption.