One of the many wonderful things about our friends at The Grenada Chocolate Company is that, where many chocolate makers buy thousands of kilos of beans at rock-bottom prices from middle men, the GCC takes cocoa pods from trees just down the road from the factory and makes them into the finished bar hiding in your desk drawer (your desk drawer does contain chocolate, yes?).
The farmers who nurture the trees are involved with and own part of The Grenada Chocolate Company and their work, caring for the forest and harvesting the beans just a mile or two down the road from the factory is a vital part of the company’s process.
Growing cacao trees is hot, hard work and extremely labour-intensive. The farmers use machetes for almost everything, from clearing undergrowth to harvesting and splitting cocoa pods, and even peeling pomelos for lunch. In the tropical rainforest under heavy use these blades become dull quickly though, and good files for sharpening are hard to find.
A few months ago our founder Chantal found a company in the UK, Knifebargains.co.uk, selling the farmers’ preferred files. She ordered 20 to take on her last trip to Grenada, only to discover that they had only 3 remaining. When Chantal explained what the files were for, Peter at Knifebargains said that the files came from America, but promised to do his best to find us some more.
The next day, an email arrived. Their buyer had managed to locate some files. Not only that, when he heard about their purpose he asked if we could sell him cocoa nibs or, even better, whole raw dried cocoa beans.
As it happens we do sell bags of cocoa nibs, but knowing how difficult beans are to obtain, Chantal suggested a barter, files for cocoa farmers in return for their beans. Peter loved the idea and agreed, saying,
I am really pleased that we were able to do a bit of fair trade in perhaps its purest form, so many thanks for making this possible.
The files arrived at Rococo HQ with a few days to spare, and over Easter Chantal and James (our Chairman and Chantal’s husband) were able to hand the new files over to the farmers in return for dried organic Trinitario cocoa beans.