Saturday, March 10, 2018

Living Fences Make Good Neighbors

We've been having lots of unexpected visits from hungry neighbors lately. 

The sheep aren't too bad--they just eat the grass--but the goats help themselves to our vegetables, too. 

On the theory that good fences make good neighbors, we're building a "living fence" along the edge of our farm. Dorise "Doko" Kowalewski, CFFI's current president and jack-of-all-trades, designed the fence.

As the surrounding vegetation grows (which happens really fast here in the tropics), we will weave it into the criss-crossing supports. Et voilá!

Monday, February 26, 2018

CFFI's Annual Exchange with the École hôtelière de Montréal

In January, CFFI once again hosted a group of students and faculty from the École hôtelière de Montréal for a professional and cultural exchange in Grenada.

This year's volunteers from Canada did an outstanding job, learning about how cocoa is grown, harvested, fermented, dried, and made into chocolate.

The learning was definitely hands-on.

As in previous years, the students and staff also shared their expertise with students from Grenada's top culinary school.

Thanks, as always, to François Matthey-Jonais of the École hôtelière and Dorise Kowalewski of CFFI for making the exchange a success!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Growing Cocoa the Natural Way

In our last blog post, we wrote about the importance of growing cocoa in its natural habitat, among flowers, fruit and spice trees. The taller spice trees provide just the right amount of shade for the smaller cocoa trees; the tiny midges that thrive in this environment pollinate the cacao flowers; and the fruit that falls from the other trees decomposes in the soil and lends the cocoa a rich and complex blend of flavors.

On our model organic cocoa farm, we grow all kinds of delicious fruit. Passion fruit grows on vines that climb up other trees and over the trellises we build for them.

Oranges, of course, grow in trees.

Deron Georges, one of CFFI's farmers, has harvested some "figs," as we call them
here in Grenada.

The money that we make selling our fruit helps keep CFFI going, so we can continue supporting local cocoa farmers by providing high-quality seedlings, organic fertilizer, and training in sustainable agriculture.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Abundant Harvest on Our Model Farm

Thanks to all the sustainable farming practices we use on our farm, including grafting, pruning, and amending the soil with our own organic fertilizer, our yield increases every year.

This year our harvest was so abundant that we had to build lots of extra drying trays to keep up. This is Jeffrey "Yellow" Mark, an experienced local farmer who mentors our young cocoa growers.

We had to improvise, but it all worked out.

Like other cocoa farmers in Grenada, we grow our cocoa in among fruit and spice trees. Not only does this arrangement provide a healthy, sustainable ecosystem, it also produces a rich, complex-tasting cocoa, with hints of nutmeg, banana, and all the other fragrant neighboring plants. 

Our model organic cocoa farm is a popular destination for local growers and ecotourists. Come visit us when you're in Grenada. We'll be here 'til the cows come home!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Support CFFI at Christmas Market in Hanover

Get a jump on your holiday shopping
And support CFFI at the annual 
Christmas Market with a Difference 

We'll have fragrant spices from the "Spice Isle"

Jouvay chocolate bars, made with Grenadian cocoa in a farmer-owned factory
Beautiful handmade crafts from CFFI's Women's Crafts Cooperative 
And of course our famous panforte, a rich holiday cake
Made with Grenadian spices and dried fruits

Thursday, November 2, 10-6
Friday, November 3, 10-6
Saturday, November 4, 10-2

Church of Christ at Dartmouth College
40 College Street, Hanover, NH 03755

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Annual Mother's Day Fashion Show to Benefit CFFI

Please join us Monday, May 8th, from 6-8pm for a Spring Fashion Show.
Come see your favorite local characters sporting the latest styles from Ruggles & Hunt!


WIN a Gift Certificate for the Best Decorated Hat or Umbrella!

Buy tickets for a chance to win amazing prizes from 
Johnny Was, Laura Zindel, Velvet, Kut From the Kloth, Cape Clogs and Cut Loose! 

Can’t Come? Make a donation or buy some raffle tickets to support a good cause. |

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Video from Ecole hoteliere de Montreal

Check out this video our friends from Ecole hoteliere de Montreal put together with the highlights of their trip to Grenada in January. The group was here in to learn about processing cocoa, making chocolate and to work with local culinary students.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Goodness for a Good Cause

Panforte is a dense, spicy, cake full nuts and dried fruit. It’s a classic Italian Christmas treat, but we’ve put an unusual spin on it, with a heady mix of Grenadian spices and, of course, pure Grenadian chocolate.

CFFI’s panforte makes a wonderful holiday gift. Traditional and hip at the same time, it’s an exotic mix of mango and citrus peel, almonds and cashews, cocoa and cocoa nibs, plus honey, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and white pepper—all from Grenada.

We can ship anywhere in the US, or hand-deliver within a 20 mile radius of zipcode 03607.
Contact Doko at

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Support CFFI at the Christmas Market with a Difference in Hanover, NH

Come support CFFI's Women's Crafts Cooperative
at the Christmas Market with a Difference!

Where: Church of Christ at Dartmouth College, 40 College St., Hanover, NH
When: Thursday & Friday, November 3 & 4, from 10 am to 6 pm
             Saturday, November 5, from 10 am to 2 pm
Why: Take care of some holiday shopping while supporting a variety of wonderful non-profits
           from around the world. In addition to our usual crafts, soaps, and spices, CFFI will be
           offering "Totally Nuts!" immune-boosting energy balls, made from pure Grenadian
           chocolate and antioxidant-rich spices, plus a delicious mix of nuts, seeds and berries!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

CFFI starts a cocoa nursery!

Thanks to a generous grant by the Clif Bar Family Foundation, our team has started to build a small nursery for tree seedlings. The nursery will be used to practice grafting techniques and experiment with growing seedlings organically – free of fertilizers and growth hormones! An organic tree nursery will be important as more cocoa farmers are turning organic and looking to source organic plants.

BEFORE: clearing space in front of the Prosper House
AFTER: The nursery building is near-completed

The nursery is a small, natural building using bayleaf wood for the frame. Bayleaf trees smell wonderful, but more importantly they are hardy, fast-growing trees that are resistant to pests and make excellent pillars. 

The beginnings of our nursery
building frame
Kelwin Noel puts up the bayleaf pillars and wooden roof beams

The nursery has two sections.
1.     A semi-shaded area with tables for grafting. Vulnerable seedlings that are very young or recently grafted will stay here, protected from the sun and rain.  This is where we will do the grafting as well.

2.     The other side of the nursery has shade cloth and is exposed to rain and partial sun.  Successfully grafted seedlings will go on this side to “harden.”

Some young men help build tables
The first round of plants are brought to the nursery

Under the direction of Organic Certification Manger, Kelwin Noel, we are producing our potting soil right here on the farm.  Our soil includes a mix of nearby river sand, goat manure and topsoil collected from areas of the land that have been left untouched for many years.  We may have to source our soil elsewhere when we get the nursery up and running, but for the first few hundred seedlings, this works great.

Kelwin Noel mixing soil - part sand, goat manure and topsoil.

We collected young seedlings and cocoa seeds found underneath trees – most often from ripe pods that have fallen and cracked open. The seeds and seedlings are planted into bags with our soil and kept in the shaded portion until they are large enough for grafting.

A cocoa tree shelters new seeds while we
construct the building

CFFI has been interested in grafting for many years, starting with our grafting workshop with local farmers in 2014.  Grafting shoots from older trees onto a young seedling allows the seedling to start producing cocoa earlier, which makes them much more useful for farmers.

Young cocoa seedlings in the nursery

The two young women working on our farm, Meryl and Sherol are very interested in vegetables, herbs and ornamental plants too. They have started growing these seedlings as well. We hope to have a plant sale in the future – stay tuned!