It is well known that Cacao grows best in the shade. It likes to have taller trees around it, and in this way produces softer less acidic beans. When forced to go in direct sunlight, it stresses the pod and produces more acidic seeds.
'Organic' Cacao or 'Fair Trade' Cacao does not necessarily mean shade grown. All of the Solomon Cacao beans we import are naturally shade grown. Often when people taste the Solomon beans we bring, they are surprised at how edible they truly are.
We don't believe that the growing of Cacao should create deforestation, so it is important as a consumer to have knowledge around this and to know what to ask for when choosing your Cacao source.
A note on 'Organic' Cacao:
Did you know that less than 1% of Cacao grown globally is organic? As a market we often demand it, but what will that mean to our farmers on the ground if we are only purchasing or asking for 'organic' cacao?
For a farming community in the Solomons to have organic status it would cost a huge amount of money to go through the process of labelling them as something they already are. The entire Solomon Islands, and much of the Pacific, is naturally organic. In these cases it is not always the right direction to push organic certification for the farmers who are focusing on building up their communities and trade opportunities. In the countries that heavily spray it can be important to ask, and to ensure, that the cacao plants have been grown organically to avoid all of the contaminants included in their process.