I met with our lead farmer partner, Vitaliano, his son, Moises, and the rest of his family, from whom we purchase all of the Arriba Nacional cacao for our beloved Ecuador chocolate bars. Vitaliano and his son are both pictured on our brand new Coconut Milk Chocolate Bar, which I brought for them to taste (they loved it!).
The agenda for the week was packed full of cocoa business. We discussed the outlook for next year’s cocoa bean supply, checked out the post-harvest area where our cocoa beans are dried & fermented, taste lots of chocolate, and of course shared profits from last year’s crop of beans. This is direct trade.
I also met with Vitaliano, his wife, Norma, and their 3 sons, Moises, David and Daniel to lead them through the visioning process– a concept central to our business model that Lawren & I wrote about in their book, Meaningful Work. I’ve always told Vitaliano that he reminds me of my grandfather who was a farmer himself. I brought that back up again this week. I explained that my grandparents lived on their same farm for over 60 years and that once we moved them into town–assisted living–that my grandfather did not live much longer. Vitaliano said, “If your grandfather was here with us now, I am certain we would both understand each other completely, despite the language barrier.