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Entered By: Mark
Entry Date: 2016-06-03 10:36:47
Subject: Rainy Season

The rainy season, also known as winter in Honduras, started right on schedule. We were virtually inundated on both June 1 and June 2. While we received quite a bit more rain than the ground could handle, I was relieved to see some normal precipitation after last year's drought.

After a couple years of seeking out quality of sources of cacao and resisting the requests to grow our own cacao, we are now working to prepare the land for trees. I don't know that we can grow it profitably, but the problem is that the quality producers in Honduras prefer to export everything they grow in order to keep their large customers happy, even if the price I pay is higher. So I know that long term, unless we sell much more chocolate, we will need to rely on what we can grow.

Cacao trees are not high yielding. It takes about an acre of cacao to produce 200 pounds of dry cocoa beans annually. We only have about 7-8 acres to work with and we like our cows, we like our beef. Cows need pasture, a lot of it. Still, it would be quite an experience for visitors to see the whole life cycle of chocolate, from soil to bar. It would also provide full time work for Carlos, whom is a solid father and husband.

We like Carlos and his family and want to make sure they are cared for. Right now Carlos is only half time as we can buy most items at the supermarket for less than it costs to grow them. Chalk that up to inadequate labor law enforcement. Large scale farms in Honduras do not pay a legal wage.

It takes three years for Cacao to begin producing. A local forestry school graduate advised us to dig holes four feet wide, two feet deep, add a whole bag of chicken manure, along with some crushed limestone to the soil and wait six months before planting. He said to space the trees 7.5 meters apart. We are going to follow his advice as best we can. We are starting with a field that has space for 70 trees, which is just under an acre. He also advised us to plant a guama/shade tree for every group of 8 cacao trees.

So the digging begins this weekend. I know I need the exercise. Grab a shovel and come join us. 

Replies to this message
re: Rainy Season  by Jake Karam on Thursday June 09, 2016

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