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Day 6 - CB fermentation and Practice Audits

Well rested from our Indiana Jones wild jungle style ride yesterday – we get back into work mode amongst the rugged beauty of Makira. We start by inspecting the nearby fermentary, where we get to see the strenuous turning and drying process in action.      The fermentation process hasn’t changed much from the ancient Mesoamerican methods. In the large wooden boxes, yeasts feed off the cocoa pulp and consume any oxygen within the heap, forming ethanol. The Lactic acid bacteria species start to take over, producing lactic acid, before the farmers turn the cocoa heaps to oxygenate and promote the growth of Acetic acid bacteria. This produces the acetic acid which causes the temperature within the heaps to reach around...

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Day 5 - Tropical haven.

Imagine this. Michael our driver, Kathe and I, crammed in the front of a little white ute. Its dusty, ridiculously humid, the aircon doesn’t work and we have been driving on a very bumpy and at times dangerous road for more than 4 hours. The back is filled with cocoa farmers, who are chewing their Betel nut and smoking cigarettes. Yes, its as hot and uncomfortable as it sounds.  Solomon driving!  We are on our way to Waimarae to do more organic certification sessions. The long drive has enabled us to see the wild beauty of Makira, passing through tropical jungles, lined with small seaside villages and unfortunate glimpse of empty space due to the continuation of logging.    We finally arrive...

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Day Four in the Solomon Islands.

Its 9am, and Kathe, Brian and I have just arrived for the first organic certification session in Kira Kira – Makira Island. We had 22 local cocoa farmers come to the event, there was lots of information to take in, lots of questions, and we finished off the event with some chocolate tasting that I made with one of the farmers beans. That was my favorite part.  We think the island of Makira will be easy to become certified, as no one uses chemicals here. The farmers work incredibly hard and use traditional farming practices, meaning it has a very low risk for contamination (like zero). One thing that stood out to me from our session was there was only one female...

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The land of bananas and the legend of the Kakamora

Sapped by the morning spent in the organic workshop, we rush off to the domestic airport – EnRoute the island of Makira. We are seated evenly to even out the weight in the tiny plane, which I'm sure would terrify anyone afraid or not of flying!  We take off quickly, and I can't help but sheepishly hold on tight to the chair, butterflies in my stomach. Did I mention tiny plane...Brian has been telling me about the local legends of the Solomon Islands, giants and the moon loving kakamora. I think of them living here as I'm looking down over the mountains and coconut plantations.   We arrive in no time, and Makira is another world! A wildly world, mapped...

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ORGANIC. A better choice for everyone.

Its day three in the Solomon Islands, this morning we are doing our first session with NAASA on the ins and outs of getting certified organic. We had 33 attendees, from bee farmers to coconuts, noni to kava. The local people here have heard that organic products are in demand, which not only make a difference to the earth, but can be used as a marketing tool to increase their local market and international export.   The session is ran by Kathe, the NAASA auditor and trainer, who is VERY passionate and knowledgeable on all things organic. She has over 20 years’ experience and has even had her own backyard certified. :-) Everyone here knows the basics, that organic means farming without...

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