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This coffee is for the birds

By Carolyn Barnes
You know coffee can taste delicious. Did you also know it can benefit the birds that migrate through the County every spring and fall?
The Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory (PEPtBO) and Loyalist Coffee have recently joined forces to offer Nicaraguan Bird-Friendly Shade-Grown Coffee, a product that helps birds two different ways. First is the way the coffee is grown: some coffee comes from plantations where all the natural vegetation, once the habitat of numerous bird species, has been destroyed, but this coffee is produced under a canopy of native trees where birds can find food and shelter. The other way the coffee helps birds happens when it’s sold: for every package you buy, $2 goes to PEPtBO, a non-profit and completely self-funded organization. This money will support PEPtBO’s crucial work every spring and fall collecting data on thousands of birds, including a number of the species that winter in Nicaragua, en route between their nesting grounds in the northern boreal forest and their winter homes to the south. This new venture is the brainchild of two County residents, Kathy Felkar and Rick Farrington. Kathy, a keen birder and PEPtBO supporter, was inspired by a newspaper article about Margaret Atwood supporting the Pelee Island Bird Observatory by putting her name to a brand of shade coffee. Kathy decided to try to create a County version that would aid PEPtBO. Rick, owner of Loyalist Coffee, visited PEPtBO one evening this fall to see Saw-whet owls being banded. He was so taken with these fascinating little creatures, as well as with PEPtBO’s work monitoring migratory birds, that he suggested his company’s coffee could be used to help raise funds for the Observatory.
Kathy and Rick got together with Rosemary Kent, president of PEPtBO, to develop the product. After considerable research, they chose shade-grown, bird-friendly Arabica beans from small plantations in Nicaragua, the winter home of many of our songbirds. The growers are committed to producing sustainable coffee: coffee grown in a way that protects the natural environment and fosters healthy communities. The beans are medium roasted and packaged at Loyalist Coffee’s roasting operation in Brighton. The result, Nicaraguan Bird-Friendly Shade-Grown Coffee, isn’t just good for birds. It’s good in many other ways, too. It’s organic and direct trade, a form of fair trade where the producer sells directly to a coffee roaster rather than through a middleman. Coffee raised under shade grows slowly, which results in harder beans with more flavour. The packaging is recyclable. And yes, this coffee is absolutely delicious. You can get Nicaraguan Bird-Friendly Shade-Grown Coffee, beans or filter grind, at County Sunshine, 195 Picton Main Street ($10 for 340 grams), or online via

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  1. Carolyn Barnes says:

    Pick up this fabulous coffee at County Sunshine in Picton — thank you, Christine, for showcasing it at your store! In the future we hope to be able to fill online orders, too, for people who can’t make it to the County.

  2. Terry says:

    Thanks to Kathy Felkar, Rosemary Kent, Rick Farrington, and all others who spearheaded this worthwhile project. And, yes, Kathy – I agree – the coffee tastes great! I expect you will bring a thermos of it for our Prince Edward Point Christmas Bird Count tomorrow !

  3. Kathy Felkar says:

    Just an update on our coffee sales for Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory…3 cartons sold and more on the shelf at County Sunshine. Thanks Christine for doing this free of charge and giving us prominent shelf space in your store. The coffee has a wonderful story behind it as seen on this CBC documentary

    Best coffee in town for $10… fresh roasted within the last week! Great feel good, tste good Christmas gift!

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