June 2007: First Cacao Planting

I’ve want­ed to grow cacao here since we arrived. Not long before these pic­tures were tak­en, I bought a pod from a ven­dor at the sun­shine mar­ket. I had­n’t met any­one who had cacao to share, and this was my first con­tact with it, so I fig­ured I would just go ahead and sprout these and get start­ed. I prob­a­bly should have been more method­i­cal in choos­ing a vari­ety to grow, but, this is how it came.

I lat­er learned that the pods were a criol­lo vari­ety (criol­lo basi­cal­ly means ‘wild’) which is the basis for all of the best-qual­i­ty choco­late made. Criollo beans, which have a dis­tinc­tive char­ac­ter, are often blend­ed with the more plen­ti­ful and bland foras­tero beans to achieve a fla­vor pro­file by the choco­lati­er.

Our goals with the cacao are mod­est here; choco­late pro­duc­tion on a resale scale would require a lot more plant­i­ng that we will be able to do. We’ll use the beans to make cacao nibs which are use­ful and deli­cious on their own. Of course, small-batch choco­late for our own use will be part of the plan as well.

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