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!