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 dorisedoko@gmail.com

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!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Truly A Chocolate Lover's Paradise

Grenada is unique among the Caribbean islands. It is still largely unspoiled. The beaches are wild and gorgeous.

And the lush rainforest jungles are still full of surprises.

This past Sunday, CFFI volunteer Dorise Kowalewski and friend of CFFI John Prosper went hiking in the mountains.

They were foraging for bamboo.

They use the bamboo to build all kinds of interesting things, like the furniture at the CFFI gift shop.

Up in the mountains they found not just bamboo, but all kinds of juicy fruit growing wild--mangoes and golden apples, and even water lemons, a fruit that is not cultivated and is eaten mostly by Grenada's Mona monkeys.

On this particular trek, Doko and John even found wild cocoa trees, growing as they did centuries ago, before people started cultivating cocoa. The pods are much smaller than typical cocoa pods, and the beans are tiny. They are sweet and delicious, but taste very different from cultivated cocoa beans.

After feasting on all this wild-growing fruit and cocoa beans, Dorise and John sat back and took in the view. They could hear the bells from the church in the town below. Ah, Grenada!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Professional-Cultural Exchange: CFFI Hosts Visitor-Volunteers from the École hôtelière de Montréal

CFFI would like to thank the faculty and students from the Ecole hoteliere de Montreal, who traveled to Grenada last month to participate in a rewarding cultural and professional exchange.

We at CFFI, along with our friends at Jouvay Chocolate, shared our expertise on growing, harvesting, fermenting, and drying cocoa, and on the process of turning cocoa beans into high-quality chocolate. We also offered our guests the opportunity to meet with farmers from across the island and learn about the wide variety of fruits and spices that grow in Grenada.

In exchange, our guests shared their culinary expertise with members of our community, including students at the College of Tourism and Hospitality in St. George, and students at the Adult Skill Centre in Victoria.

Special thanks to our devoted board member and volunteer Dorise ("Doko") Kowalewski for working so hard to make the exchange program a wonderful success!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Developing CFFI's Model Cocoa Farm

Cocoa trees are "understory" rainforest trees.
They require the shade provided by the canopy of taller trees. 

So, after planting some new young cocoa trees and vanilla vines on our model farm, 
we knew we had to add some shade trees.

We bartered with a local farmer for some plantain trees.
Plantain and banana trees are perfect companions for cocoa.

They grow super-fast to just the right height, so they provide shade.
They also lend the cocoa complex flavor notes
as some of their fruit decomposes in the soil around the trees.

This is Trey, who helped up plant our plantains.
Trey is the son of Rita, one of the most
hard-working members of our Women's Crafts Cooperative.
We are grateful to Trey for his beautiful spirit
and all his hard work on the model farm!

Saturday, January 16, 2016