GNAW co-founders, Chief Squirrel Matt and Chief Squirrelette Teri, are currently in Colombia to explore and learn more about how we can make our chocolate even more sustainable! On Monday morning 03/10/2022 at 6.20am they hopped on a flight to Periera, followed by an hour long drive up into the mountains to visit Granja Luker, Luker Chocolates' research and education farm.
Here, they learned about the history of cocoa, the science of cocoa reproduction and how Luker are investing in research into developing different flavour cocoa, which is more resilient and has better yielding plants, biodiversity, and waste reduction.
Interestingly there are 3 main varieties of cocoa pod, and we are able to graft one type into another - using the more resilient and higher yielding as the host and adding a variety with a more complex and refined aroma. Matt has been trying his hand at harvesting and has tasted the cocoa beans fresh from the pod - he reported a surprising refreshing and fruiting taste. They were delicious! (Much like our chocolate, if we say so ourselves!) All of this before heading out again to see the process after harvest - fermentation & drying. Apparently, the smell from the fermentation room is pretty eye watering!
Finally, they had a presentation from the sustainability team. It is truly wonderful to witness first-hand how they are putting the farming families and the communities at the heart of the project, helping them to learn about the science of farming and advising on complimentary farming such as plantain and papaya that can be planted alongside the cocoa to bring in additional earnings for the farmers, improve the biodiversity of the farm and assist in pollination of the cocoa.
It is truly a pleasure to work with like-minded organisations who share a passion for more than just quality chocolate, but also sustainable farming, living and waste reduction, among many other factors.