WAYNE COUNTY, Pa. — When we last visited Moka Origins, a coffee roaster and chocolate manufacturer in Wayne County, we toured the facility and learned about their sustainable practices both in Pennsylvania and at their overseas farms. On this April afternoon, we had a Zoom chat with co-owner Jeff Abella and heard some familiar stories of the current time.
"One thing we're seeing is a tremendous amount of vulnerability for our farmers as well as our farm as it relates to our staff. Everyone is quarantining and keeping social distance. That means not going out, going to the market, going to the bank, going out for their medicine," Abella said.
Typical business travel plans have been put on hold.
"Lot of travel planned, which all just kind of came to a halt immediately. That includes visits to our farm and other partnering farms."
Despite the struggles, there's good news for the communities near the Moka Origins farms in Cameroon. Their farmers have a diverse crop beyond just cocoa and coffee beans, and that's paying off right now.
"We had a really nice harvest of bananas and plantains. Just this week, we started to dispense that around parts of the region that we're farming in. We've been able to dispense about 5,000 pounds of food to local community members in need," Abella said.
Here at home, Moka Origins is giving back, too, with coffee.
"We did a donation of 100 pounds to Wayne Memorial Hospital, and there's another great not for profit in Honesdale called the Cooperage Project," Abella said. "When a good gesture happens, it really just sparks a moment of truth of human connection, and it can just keep us energized and keep the momentum going forward."
Jeff says what's kept his business afloat is the online community. You can support his business and all small businesses right from your own backyard
"When things open back up, come to our factory. We do free Saturday tours. It's a really big part of what sustains us as a small business. We recently opened an onsite cafe that we can't wait for you to come and experience as well," Abella added.