Saturday, 16 January 2010

Hot News From Costa Rica!



Well the snow has gone and temperatures are gradually rising! The UK population breaths a huge collective sigh of relief….just as the grit was about to run out as well! Perfect timing. Something that you can almost guarantee is that temperatures will be slightly warmer in Costa Rica!
I thought it might be interesting to provide some feedback from the farmer who producers our ethical chocolate, Costa Rica 64 and 38.
Our 110 ha, family owned farm is located in the Caribbean Lowlands of Costa Rica. The cocoa farm was started in 1985 using mostly 6 Trinitario clones, selected by our own company for production and quality during more than 10 years of research. Special care is taken to ensure a good fermentation and drying of the cocoa beans, both very important for flavour development.
We have approx. 27 dedicated, loyal employees for the cocoa farm and our little cocoa liquor factory, which all earn good wages, and all have social security. We do not have minors working, and we stimulate the attendance of high school for the children of our workers. Most workers have been with us for over 10 years. We have turned to organic farming since 2000 and our farm is certified organic since 2003. We don´t use any agrochemicals. For fertilization we use organic fertilizer (compost) produced by our own company. We believe that slowly improving the soil is very important for the future of mankind. We use a cable system to take the harvested pods from the field to the processing plant and to bring the compost into the fields. 
The farm has also been certified by the Rainforest Alliance for approx. 2 years. A non obligatory questionnaire has been sent in the past to our workers to ask them if the change to organic farming had affected them.  Approx. 40% reacted, all in positive ways, that it was good to work with nature and not against it, and not anymore running the risk of intoxication, some even mentioned that it had changed their way of looking at life. 
It’s good to hear that the Rainforest Alliance is actually making a difference not only to the environment but also to the people employed in production of cocoa.