|Thanks to all the workers and volunteers who helped harvest the cocoa|
Throughout the day farmers lined up, hauling buckets and bags of wet cocoa loaded onto trucks, carts, wheelchairs, strollers - often borrowed from generous friends and neighbors. Large estates might fill a truck, while small farmers with a handful of trees fill half a bucket.
|Photo by Marietta Burdick|
Bags of cocoa are placed on a scale and recorded in books, with checks written to the landowners at $1.50 Eastern Caribbean Dollars per pound.
We typically harvest 200-400 pounds during cocoa season, with our record high at 586 pounds. In just over a year of rehabilitating the land we have more than doubled our yield. Our friend and fellow cocoa farmer George says the progress on our farm is "an inspiration to see" as he walks to his land every morning.
George helped us prune our trees in October. Proper tree maintenance is essential for rehabilitating old trees and rejuvenating cocoa growth. This allows trees to get the right amount of light and air flow and has to be done by a knowledgable farmer or expert who knows how to achieve the ideal shape without sacrificing bearing branches.
In addition to careful pruning, we're adding our natural compost around trees, digging drains for proper irrigation and working with natural controls for pests and diseases like witches broom and beetles.
In other news, our craft store is nearly complete in the cellar of the Jouvay chocolate factory. Stay tuned for photos of the beautiful artwork, crafts and woodwork!