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California farmer harvesting success with coffee

Posted at 10:46 AM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 12:46:31-05

For coffee lovers, a good “cup of joe” is hard to beat. And even though the majority of the world’s coffee is grown outside of the United States, a farmer in Southern California has found success in inter-planting his avocados with coffee.

Jay Ruskey has been farming near Santa Barbra for over 30 years. During this time, he’s found success in niche markets by raising exotic fruit crops like avocados and cherimoyas. And in 2014, his pioneering spirit led him to coffee.

“I worked a lot with the University of California Farm Extension Services on new crops about 15 years ago,” said Ruskey. “One of the advisors gave me some coffee plants where I planted under and with my avocado trees, which share very similar chemical environmental requirements and sure enough, they grew.”

From this, Frinj Coffee was born in 2017 providing other California farmers an opportunity to diversify.

“Today, we have over 67 coffee farmers in Southern California,” said Ruskey. “They're mainly avocado farmers who are diversifying that are part of our network. We sell the coffees to a worldwide market for the coffee fanatic who is really wanting something different in their cup of coffee.”

He says one of the essentials of craft coffee is having the consumer care where they’re getting their coffee from-and with Frinj Coffee it’s the farmer.

“We're doing new varieties and new types of proposed harvest treatments,” said Ruskey. “We can actually change a cup of coffee experience and transform it by getting the different varieties. So, when you go to our website at Frinj Coffee, you'll be able to go with the different farmers, different varieties and different blends. Each one will be a slightly different experience, just like if you're going for a wine or in the beer section and going for craft beer. It's just expanding that experience for the consumer.”

In addition to raising delicious coffee, Frinj Coffee is also providing a great return on investment to its farmers.

“Sixty percent of our sales from our coffee goes back directly to the farmer,” said Ruskey. There aren’t many products, if any, that a consumer dollar goes back to the farmer and that's what I'm pushing hard on.”

To learn more Frinj Coffee and even have some delivered to you just in time for the holidays, visit