If you haven’t already perused our story, please do so. This will make a lot more sense.
The abandoned cacao farm we bought back in 2004 was never to become our homestead. But starting around 2009, we began the slow process of rehabilitating the farm (hereinafter referred to as Finca Buddha–named after our eldest son, whom we called Buddha in his infancy), so that one day we would be able to harvest our very own cacao for use in our chocolate. We’ve yet to make that chocolate as of this writing, but the first small harvest has commenced and is now drying!
When we departed Costa Rica in 2006, headed for Asheville, we left with a deep appreciation for Theobroma Cacao and the hard work involved in its cultivation and curing. That profound respect for the farmer has colored how French Broad Chocolates operates, but that is a digression more suited to our Manifesto and our position on Sustainability. Point here is that our work with farmers generally, cacao farmers specifically, was just beginning.
We have taken two of our three chocolate makers to visit. Pictured to the right is Crawford, our factory manager and long-time employee (and eagle scout just like Dan), who accompanied Dan in 2011 before we finished building the bean-to-bar factory. Pictured below is Evan, who accompanied Dan in April 2013, on the fated trip when we finally planted some CATIE selections (pictured at top, and explained in more detail below…).
Most of our trips back to the Caribbean, however, have been with family. We are still very much grounded in Puerto Viejo, where Bread & Chocolate still thrives! When we returned in August 2012, on the heels of opening our factory, we brought Bubbie (Dan’s mom) and the boys. The video below depicts Max’s first ever visit to the family farm, Sam’s first since infancy. We taste cacao pulp, and then Dan talks cacao agronomy like the geek he is…