Just two days ago, we were in the middle of a cacao plantation (250 acres) harvesting cacao with a group of local, indigenous women. Our new friend (the farm owner) Samuel and his wife Anita graciously hosted our trio and educated us even more about the resources available (tourism, chocolate and otherwise).
Sam´s farm is one of the only in Ecuador to grow 99% Arriba cacao (the highest quality and the oldest variety). The day we went out to harvest it was hot and tropical (when we were finished, we looked like we had taken a swim). The farm helpers taught us how to use a machete to cut open the pod and get to the seeds. They made wielding a machete look easy. We took note that when the handed us the blades, they backed away (I would too!) It was a lot of fun and delicious. The pulp that is on the seeds is really yummy.
Walking through the groves of trees to the area where the cacao was processed and dried, we came across two fruits (one was guava and the other was like a passion fruit). We stopped and our lovely guide Mercedes cut the fruit for us to enjoy.
Today we are preparing for a flight out and we are excited to return and share some sweet stories and Ecuadorian chocolate with all of you. Adios for now. By morning, we´ll be back in the states.
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