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The Journey of Cacao

Planting the trees
  • Fresh seeds are taken from a freshly cut open Cacao pod, washed and placed in soil, normally in a black plastic bag filled with soil, to germinate.

 

  • This is then allowed to grow into a sapling (a small tree).

 

  • When the sapling is about 10cms tall, it is planted in the ground.

 

  • The young cacao tree grows successfully in an environment where there is about 40% shade, so planting amongst taller trees is favoured.

 

  • In a healthy environment a young cacao tree will have tiny flowers within 2 years, and fully grown pods before three years.

 

  • Trees are planted approximately 5 meters apart, as the trees do not like to grow closely together.

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A seed will be taken from a fresh pod – often from the farmers favourite tree, or a high yielding tree. Often the farmer will check the colour inside the seeds in the pod and plant the finest. The whiter the seed, the finer it is in flavour profile.

 

Fresh seeds can be used to plant new trees, or put into fermentation for cacao beans.

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White seeds are rare and are from the Criollo variety. When a farmer finds white seeds they will use these to grow seedlings.

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This is the majority of beans colour in Solomons. Light purple means low acidity and from the variety Trinitario. Once the beans are fermented, all beans will go brown regardless of the colour they started out as, so post fermentation it is impossible to tell the variety of the bean.