I want to take my chocoatiering full circle by visiting a cocoa farm. I am wondering if anyone has recommendations. Not necessarily interested in the Kallari tours in Ecuador. I'd like to visit Costa Rica, Peru or another safe place. I don't speak Spanish at this time, so am hoping there would be some English speaking individuals. Also, when is the best time of year to go to be part of or present at harvest, fermentation, drying etc.? I'm sure I'm missing questions, but wanted to get this out there. ~Thanks!
Thank you Ancel. Please email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in smaller farms that may be a bit "closer to home" you might consider Hawaii. There are a number of folks we can introduce you to if you want to visit and see the process (then visit the beach..:) Contact me directly if you need any contacts.
Thank you Steve! When would you suggest going to Costa Rica? Any particular recommendations for where to go?
Within the area of Costa Rica where most cacao is grown (the province of Limon) the driest month of the year, statistically, is September. There are two "dry" seasons which are centered on September and March and the wetter seasons are in December and July. This better distribution of rainfall favors cacao growing, as opposed to the areas that get so much rainfall during the September/October months but have a six month dry season that is a bit dry for cacao production. While there are different peaks of harvest the principal harvest is in October/November and this also corresponds to the harvest season for a plethora of fruits in the zone of Limon. Cacao has been grown traditionally in Limon since pre-colombian times and was first planted by europeans in Matina, Limon around 1650. We proudly continue to grow the heirloom Matina cacao.
Thank you for the information! I love heirloom varieties of almost anything as I grow heirloom vegetables on my farm. Would love to plan a visit at the best time for harvest, processing etc. ~Lisa
Actually there is much to harvest and dry September through early December: cacao, durian, mangosteen, rambutan, pulusan, columbian sapote, duku, langsat, santol, various garcinias, cupuasu and pataste among others! Oh yes, and that's when the vanilla is ready too. Where it's wet during these months is the Pacific coast and the Central Valley; neither of which are major cacao areas (too high in the Central Valley). September through early December is dry on the Caribbean coast and in the Northern Zone: where the bulk of the cacao is grown. I'm not sure where you are in Costa Rica, but perhaps you should pay us a visit in October and dry out :)
If you come to Costa Rica, I can help you. Please contact me at email@example.com
Tao from Samaritan Xocolata, Perez Zeledon, CR.