A Year on Rocksteady’s Sustainable Coffee Farm in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains

Bird watching on the Rocksteady Blue Mountain coffee farm
Sustainability and traceability are two difficult things to achieve in agriculture, especially in the world of coffee. It’s rare to find a bag of coffee that you can not only trace back to a single farm but to the group of farmers whose expertise and dedication raised it from tree to berry to green bean.

That’s why working on the Rocksteady Coffee Farm is different from almost any other growing region or even other Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee farms. We want to bring you into our little corner of the world to see just how our team of farmers delivers Rocksteady Coffee from our farm to your communities.


Welcome to Cascade, Portland Parish

At 3300 feet ASL to 4100 feet ASL, our farm is situated in the community of Cascade in the parish of Portland. It’s a windy, often rainy uphill drive from Kingston -- and you’ll travel the kind of road that has so many twists and turns that it takes over an hour and a half to drive the short 40 kilometers here from the city.

Our whole team of farmers lives here in Regale, Cascade. In fact, they all live within 1 ⁄ 2 mile of the Rocksteady farm; most of them were born here and also tend to their own smallholding plots of land. The soil and rare air here isn’t just the perfect microclimate for coffee: the parish is a leading producer of bananas, coconuts, and mangoes, too.


Join Us for a Day on the Rocksteady Coffee Farm

We’re a small team on a 17.5 acre farm, so everyone here does a little bit of everything. It all happens under the expert, watchful eye of Maxine, our head farmer.

While you reap the bounties of our harvest season, you’re really seeing the product of 11 months of work. We spend nearly the entire year caring for the trees and the soil with the following approaches:

  • Enacting an organic philosophy (bushing, organic fertilizers, and natural vegetation) to control weeds from overgrowth and best protect our unique soil environment
  • Planting seedlings and preserving wood trees by pruning and never cutting to retain biodiversity and provide desirable shade for our coffee trees

Because we’re all here year-round, our daily tasks are often ongoing. It’s often a matter of downing tools at the end of the day and picking back up where we left off when we return in the morning. 


We Spend 9 Months a Year Harvesting Exquisite Coffee

In any other coffee growing region, coffee is harvested in the spring by using large machines that indiscriminately reap all available berries -- ripe or not. But here in the Blue Mountains, our harvest season begins in August and continues to pick up pace through October, November and December. The season officially lasts from August until May.

You might wonder why a reaping season can last as long as nine months. It all comes down to our unique microclimate, and the length of the season works in everyone’s favor. Because we have nine months, our expert team will only pick the ripest coffee cherries and leave those that will benefit from the gift of time on the tree for another day. 


We’re Building Sustainable, Equitable Employment and Communities 



Our farmers practice sustainable agriculture with an organic approach to farming; we’re committed to preserving the land and building a stronger community.

In regards to the land, we work year round to:

  • Protect biodiversity by planting seedlings and pruning but never cutting trees
  • Preserve soil stability with manual bushing and organic weed spraying

Equitable employment is our commitment to our farmers and our communities. In addition to their daily pay, we also offer additional pay to farmers for major annual tasks, like planting new parks of trees and cash crops like bananas and plantains as well as other maintenance tasks like road maintenance. Our senior managers also receive performance-based pay.

As an additional initiative for the wider community, we also support various initiatives at the Cascade Primary and Junior School and organize a community clean-up drive.


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