Origin: Oko Caribe, Dominican Republic
ÖKO Caribe was founded in 2006 by Gualberto Acebey Torrejon and Adriano De Jesus Rodriguez,who both have over 20 years of experience in cacao production, including working as technicos (trainers who teach farmers agricultural best practices) at Conocado, the largest cocoa producer group in the Dominican Republic, and biggest Fair Trade certified cocoa co-op in the world. They decided to set out on their own and started ÖKO Caribe, a mission-driven cacao sourcing company based just outside San Francisco de Macoris. They buy wet beans from local farms, then ferment and dry them to perfection.
The farms are located in several zones outside of San Francisco de Macoris: Ponton, Pimentel, San Felipe, Los Lanos de Castillo (the biggest cacao producing zone in the Dominican Republic), Ramonel, Coto, and Duarte. Adriano and Gualberto have developed strong, long-term relationships with these farms to help cultivate a better and more stable price for their cacao than they were able to achieve selling to other buyers.
Origin: Finca la Amistad, Costa Rica
Finca la Amistad is a small sized cacao farm, awarded in 2011 as the Salon du Chocolat Best Cocoa Bean for Central America and the Caribbean.
Located in Bijagua, Upala, in the Huetar Norte region of Costa Rica, the farm is 100 hectares, of which 50 hectares have been planted in Trinidadian cacao and 10 hectares have been planted in native forest species, and 5 hectares have been planted in vanilla and other fruit varieties. Some 30% of the property is dedicated to absolute conservation.
The cacao planted species pertain to selected clone varieties and are propagated using grafting. These varieties include species of Trinidadian cacao from these collections: TSH 565, IMC 67, ICS 1/6/8/40/60/95, UF 29/221/296/613/654/668, SPA9, CC137/139, and EET400. It is believed that the land in the Upala region has the characteristics needed for successful organic cacao crops in terms of acidity, humidity, water levels, and composition.