Vitaliano, our lead farmer partner (who I’ve been visiting for a decade now!) who is pictured on the front of our Ecuador chocolate bars, takes extreme care on his small farm. The farm, which has been in his family for 74 years, grows the rare and excellent Arriba Nacional cacao. He uses organic practices and his trees and pods beautifully-cared for, and beans superior in flavor to most in the world.
Even after 11 years of coming to Ecuador I still love it. I came to work on our next crop of beans, profit share, and meet new farmers and encourage them. I spent the day on Vitaliano’s farm with his son, Moses (who is planning to take over the farm one day), and other kids and grandkids. He cooked lunch for us on his farm. Meat on an open flame, cocoa trees all around, then for dessert–I brought chocolate we made from his beans. What a great day.
We’ve mentioned before that our lead farmer partner in Davao, Philippines, Peter, is an expert organic cocoa farmer. Vitaliano uses organic practices as well, and while we were walking through his farm I played this video on my iPhone of Peter explaining some of the techniques he uses in the Philippines! Technology sure is crazy. Many people ask me if I’m tired after so many years of this travel and the challenges that arise on every origin trip. But the answer is a resounding “Nope!” The truth is I truly love it. And I love forging friendships like the one I share with Vitaliano and so many farmers across the globe.