We all arrived at the co-op on Saturday, June 10th. Euler was waiting for us. We met the crew and began the task of finding out what need to be done and what we could do. The cacao was flowing into the co-op and the local breed of Criollo was the main variety being harvested. Euler's father-in-law was the first farmer in the valley. His plants, first introduced 47 years ago, were then disseminated onto neighboring farms. These are believed to be a cultivar of the Criollo variety.
These amazing trees have cauliflory flowering scars that are as big as a football, oddly mirroring the cacao fruit itself. We mapped the farm and added it into the database as the first resource for our new O.D.K project.
The first phase was negotiating a price for the pilot project and then learning the co-op's process. Taking delivery of the cacao, grading the raw bean and adding it to the fermentation chamber, collecting day 1 juice for re-addition to the latter fermentation process, turning the beans to oxygenate and ensuring thorough/even fermentation, re-addition of first day juice to 5th day ferment, transporting the beans to the drying area, raking, raking,raking and more raking until the beans are at around 7% moisture and then bagging for export.
Once I had worked through the full process we began formulating process flow for the co-op in order to maximize the quality and minimize the labor.