Since the conception of our project we firmly stood committed to support and source all of our core needs with local materials and renewable resources. Among those things kept in the pipeline was the proper identification and sourcing of the hardwood necessary for the construction of our fermentation boxes/modules. And I say boxes because is the most common method of fermenting cacao beans. But we’re planning to build some other prototypes with other form factors that may result in better fermentation and superior bean quality.
Because cacao farming is not a traditional commercial crop in Puerto Rico, there’s no infrastructure or proper institutional guidance on what are the best parameters for local hardwood selection that may best fit our need for its thermal characteristics among other traits. We’ve researched numerous publications and documentation prepared by entities in multiple fine cacao producing countries and are closing in on what is our best bet on locally sourced hardwood.
We’re firmly committed not to use any imported wood for this purpose. This is part of a solidarity economy approach that we also aim for.
After receiving some highly regarded references from friends and family members we were directed to a wonderful project named Eye on the Rainforest or Casas de la Selva (Spanish). Information from their website :
Established in 1983, the land known as Las Casas de la Selva is the home of Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry & Rainforest Enrichment Project, in Patillas, Puerto Rico. Silvicultural techniques developed and applied at Las Casas de la Selva over the last three decades, demonstrate, that on a small scale in Puerto Rico, secondary forests can be ecologically and economically suitable for sustainable timber production. This eco-technology was implemented to encourage similar practice in the Caribbean and globally, as a contribution to economic development that encourages local protection and sustainable management of secondary tropical forests. For thirty years Las Casas de la Selva has seen people from all over the planet live and work in her forest in all areas of science, art, and management. Learning by doing; gathering valuable experiences about life and human interaction in this forest biome, striving to continue and keep the process of creating ecological and sustainable communities, going, going, and never gone.
So after we contacted them (Wonderful and very helpful “3T” Vakil and Andrés Rúa) via email, we scheduled a visit to see how can we co-inspire ideas. First, the trip there is wonderful. Their location is contiguous to the beautiful and protected area of the Carite Forest Reserve provides a hint of what to expect. Exuberant vegetation, small creeks and waterfalls provides you with the perfect ambientation before arrival.
A word of advice if visiting : A non-all wheel drive car can get to the complex but only if it’s not raining, if raining I’ll choose to leave the car at the entrance and take the not too far walk there.
At arrival, I was warmly greeted by a very handsome dog who I miss it’s name. Later, I met 3T and Andrés who kindly offered me coffee, which I gladly accepted.
In this first meeting we talked a lot of the possible hardwood for the job and other interesting possible collaborations. We need to repeat the visit once we zero-in the most appropriate wood for the job. We plan to build it before we leave to our trip to Grenada next month.
We’re very grateful to 3T’s and Andrés hospitality and kindness.
We’ll keep you posted!
In exactly one month I’ll embark into a new and exciting learning adventure. I’ll be working as an intern at Crayfish Bay Organic Cocoa Estate located on the rural North West coast of the island of Grenada. A two hundred year old 15 acre estate which has been restored into a working commercial organic cocoa farm after it was severely damaged by hurricane Iván in 2004.
Crayfish Bay Organic Cocoa Estate supplies local chocolate factory The Grenada Chocolate Company with it’s fine cacao beans, which carefully crafts one of the best and probably the most ethical chocolate in the world. Also, they recently started providing bean-to-bar chocolatier Pump Street Bakery in London, with their premium organic cacao beans to create a hand-made, critically acclaimed single origin chocolate bar.
Grenada, also known as the “spice island”, has a long tradition of cacao cultivation together with mace and nutmeg, as the name implies. I’m eager to arrive and finally meet owners/hosts Kim and Lylette, grenadian farmers, learn about their history and visit their beautiful natural attractions. It will surely be a great experience meeting new friends. I’ll make constant updates to our blog section once settled.
From our still humble beginnings, we’ve made our goal to find the long lost and somehow forgotten trees hidden in abandoned farms around the island. Hopefully finding criollo ancestry that will in turn provide an unique touch to our carefully crafted cacao beans and future chocolate.
To this day we’ve found some interesting varietals that proves that Puerto Rico has one of the best kept and mostly untouched germplasm in the world. Since our ancestors stopped farming cacao so long ago (18th century), and replaced with coffee almost completely, pure varieties were left to evolve on their own, without any cross pollination from other introduced varieties.
Puerto Rico never started farming cacao again until recent years. (and in very small scale)
Our findings and adventures continue, with new additions to our criollo collection added every other day, we can’t wait to have our first production!
Keep in touch for updates!
So we started a new and exciting new chapter in our story. Starting today and hopefully every other Saturday we’ll be hosting our products at the Old San Juan Farmer’s Market. You can pick a variety of the fruits harvested at our agroforestry farm the day after.
You can also pick up seeds, cacao seedlings and have a chat with us. Hopefully, in 2015 we’ll have our first chocolate products! See you guys there!
Tuvimos el privilegio de visitar el “laboratorio secreto” de Indulge Chocolat en el corazón de San Juan. Creadores de asombros y deliciosos postres confeccionados con diferentes frutas, cultivos y especias tropicales cosechadas orgánicamente en Puerto Rico. Entre ellas el mangó, la calabaza y el limón, estos con toques de limoncillo, gengibre, albahaca, romero. Todos del huerto jardín ubicado en sus facilidades. Pero el protagonista principal de todo su ofrecimiento, es el cacao. Y no cualquier cacao, cacao orgánico de primera calidad de orígenes como Venezuela, Ecuador, Perú y República Dominicana.
Esperamos algún día tener el privilegio de ofrecer nuestro cacao y chocolate para que los creativos artistas y “chocolatiers”, como los que trabajan en Indulge Chocolat, ayuden a posicionar nuestro producto al nivel de los mejores orígenes de cacao del mundo.
Sus contactos son los siguientes :
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Information & Sales: +787 412 8910
We’ve made a new campaign available at Antrocket.com, a local crowdfunding service, and is live today.
You can reach it at : http://www.antrocket.com/yabisikakaw
If you have any suggestion, or want to include a reward, feel welcome to post it on the comment section.
Have a great weekend!
-Yabisi Kakaw Team
Hemos hecho pública una nueva campaña en la página de Antrocket.com que dio comienzo hoy.
Pueden darle un vistazo en :http://www.antrocket.com/es/yabisikakaw
Si tienen alguna sugerencia o quisieran añadir recompensas, siéntanse en la libertad de escribirnos en el área de comentarios.
¡Que tengan un excelente fin de semana!
-Equipo de Yabisi Kakaw