Growing Cacao to Create Chocolate

In the earliest years of cacao

harvesting, the peoples grew the

trees in small stands near water,

and left the trees mostly grow

naturally. Cacao trees prefer

growing in the shade of other

trees, not to be protected from

the sun, but because this creates

the perfect home for midges,

(gnats) which are the only way

cacao is pollinated. The natural

litter and debris on the floor of

the rain forests (leaf trash,

animal carcasses and rotten cacao

pods) are the ideal breeding

ground for the midge. These

things are missing in the well

maintained grounds of the modern

plantation; therefore the

production of the cacao tree is

much lower with only 1 to 3

percent of the pods producing


After pollination, each of the

flowers growing from the trunk and

larger branches of the trees,

produce a pod, each of these large

pods contains 30 or 40 of the seed

or beans. The pods surround the

seeds with a sweet, juicy pulp

that the tree has no way to open

so the seeds can be dispersed. In

nature this dispersion is

accomplished by rodents (rats,

monkeys and squirrels) on the

plantations this is accomplished

by human hands. Alkaloids make

the sees bitter, so this is not

what attracts the rodents, they

are attracted to the pulp

surrounding the seeds, and this

pulp is probably what first

attracted humans to the pods as


The pods take four or five months

to reach maturity and another

month to ripen, the pollination

process with the cacao tree occurs

throughout the year with two

harvest times. The pods will

remain fresh on the trunk for

several weeks and remain usable

for another week after they are

harvested. Modern techniques

allow for continuous harvesting,

but must be done with care not to

damage the cushions that the pods

grow from; allowing them to

produce more flowers and pods.

Thank you,

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About The Author, Carmen Sandago
C. SanDago used to be an office and motel cleaner earning minimum wage on a contract by contract basis, working very hard to make ends meet. Being forced to stay at home after her baby, she says it was like a "visit from an angel"... She had to find a way to earn a living from home... with no pedigree, a high school dropout it was like a live changing event! Today she makes in excess of $80,000 a month and enjoys an extraordinary life! She considers herself extremely fortunate to have found the right business to give her such break in life!