Technique: Cocoa Growing
THE TECHNIQUE : COCOA GROWING
The Little Market is proud to partner with Divine Chocolate in Ghana and Madécasse Chocolate & Vanilla in Madagascar to bring delicious, fair trade chocolate to our customers.
Divine Chocolate works with cocoa farmers in Ghana. Most Ghanaian cocoa is grown on small family farms, among the other crops, such as plantains, maize, and spices. After three to four years, flowers begin to appear on the cocoa tree, and the cocoa pods can soon be harvested for the beans inside. The main harvest in Ghana is between October and January. Beans must be harvested at the perfect time to produce the high-quality, aromatic cocoa beans that are used in Divine Chocolate.
After the beans are harvested, they are wrapped in large plantain leaf “parcels” and fermented in the sun for five to eight days. Next, the beans are dried for eight to 12 days to remove most of the moisture. Throughout this process, the beans change color and begin to take on the traditional “chocolate” flavor. Each farmer harvests and ferments his or her own beans and then dries them on the communal village table. A recorder in each village will then collect and weigh the dried beans and ensure that the quality is high enough to sell. Finally, the recorder sells the beans to the local government, who then sells them to factories where the rich, flavorful beans are turned into Divine Chocolate.
Our artisan partner Madécasse sources cocoa from farmworkers in Madagascar. The chocolate is made with heirloom cocoa, which means it is superior grade and organic cocoa. A main part of Madécasse’s mission is to keep the supply chain — from the first step to the last step — in Madagascar. They have made over four million bars that way!
Divine Chocolate's vision is a world where chocolate is cherished by everyone- including the family farmers who grow the cocoa. Divine is co-owned by the 80,000 farmer members of Kuapa Kokoo, the cooperative that supplies the cocoa for each bar of Divine. The farmers of Kuapa Kokoo get paid a fair trade price for their beans and receive a social premium that the cooperative invests in schools, clean drinking water, medical clinics, and women's entrepreneurship projects. Plus, as owners they get a share in the profits, a say in the company, and a voice in the global marketplace. Together with the farmers who own Divine Chocolate, you are ensuring income and opportunities to cocoa farming families and a much sweeter future.
Madécasse Chocolate & Vanilla was founded by two former Peace Corps volunteers in Madagascar. They fell in love with the country and the people after teaching English there from 1999 to 2001. In the years following, they started to make chocolate and vanilla in Madagascar, gained some outside business experience, and launched the company in 2008. A main goal behind the company is making chocolate where the cocoa grows, as this helps to create jobs in some of the poorest communities in the world. Approximately 70 percent of the cocoa in the world comes from Africa, while less than 1 percent of the world’s chocolate is made there. Their goal is to make chocolate from start to finish in Madagascar and help the industry, farmworkers, and those who love chocolate. Madécasse works closely with cocoa farmers to train them and provide necessary equipment to enhance their output, giving the farmers an opportunity to invest in their own future. To this day, more than four million bars have been made start to finish in Madagascar by Madécasse.