There has been an upsurge in news about unsustainable farming practices in Nigeria and other countries that use slave and child labor. Also farmers growing cacao in protected reserves. This article highlights some of the problem:
Pollinator Chocolate strives to use only the highest quality ingredients in our products. We also strive to be slave free from brokers we trust and organic where possible or makes sense. Below is a list of everything we use and why
Costa Esmeraldas from Ecuador - While not certified organic these are some of the highest quality beans around. Grown by Freddie Salazar along the northern coast in Ecuador in South America. https://costaesmeraldas.com/
Madagascar Bejofo estate - This is an organic cacao orchard that makes up one part of the 2000-hectare Akesson Estate in northwest Madagascar’s Sambirano valley. https://meridiancacao.com/pages/origin-bejofo
Dominican Republic Zorzal Estate - Is an organic agroforestry project of Reserva Zorzal -- a 1,019-acre private bird sanctuary and 130-acre organic cacao demonstration farm in the northern mountains of the Dominican Republic. Reserva Zorzal sets aside seventy percent of its land to be forever wild and is committed to reducing climate change through a collaborative approach to conservation and reforestation. https://meridiancacao.com/pages/origin-zorzal
Tanzania Kokoa Kamili estate - Organic Kokoa Kamili works with over 5,000 smallholder farmers, most of whom farm between 0.5-2 acres of cocoa. Kokoa Kamili pays a premium--well above the market rate--to farmers for their ‘wet’ cocoa, and conducts its own fermentation and drying. By taking over the fermentation and drying process, Kokoa Kamili can produce more consistently higher quality cocoa beans. This method gives farmers a reduced workload, along with greater compensation, and the farmers are paid immediately after the cooperative receives its wet beans. https://meridiancacao.com/pages/origin-kokoa-kamili
Uganda Semuliki Forest - Is a vertically integrated certified B Corp in Uganda sourcing from more than 4,664 certified organic smallholder producers, 2,266 (49%) of whom are women and 3,228 (69%) of whom are individuals under 35 years of age. LTC produces both award-winning specialty cacao and bean to bar chocolate in Uganda https://www.uncommoncacao.com/semulikiforest
Peru Cocoa Butter - We add between 5% and 10% cocoa butter to every batch. Why? Because it makes it run better through our machines. The cocoa bean is by nature around 50% cocoa butter, the beans are roasted and then then placed into a hydraulic press where the butter is pressed out and then sold to cosmetic companies. A smaller amount goes back to be sold to chocolate makers and confectioners like myself. We will use other country of origin cocoa butters occasionally when my supply is not available, and will always strive for organic but at least "natural" and never "deoderized". https://www.uncommoncacao.com/cacaolife-peru
Cocoa Powder - Once the cocoa butter is pressed out, the remaining "cake" has around 7% cocoa butter and is hard as concrete. Special milling machines with steel burs grind the cake into a powder where it is then packaged and sold to you as cocoa powder. We buy cocoa powder from Tanzania's Kokoa Kamili estate as an added ingredient in some of our confections (bonbons, chocolate coated items, etc) https://meridiancacao.com/collections/cocoa-powder/products/cocoa-powder-ly358
In October of 2023 we created a survey, posted it inside our coffee shop, that said simply: Would you prefer we use organic sugar from Brazil or non-organic from Colorado? The consensus was overwhelmingly in favor of Colorado sugar. So once every month or so I drive to Fort Morgan Colorado (I'm usually in that area anyway for a show) and pick up 500lbs of sugar to last us for a while. This is Colorado beet sugar, the cooperative has been around since the 1920's https://www.westernsugar.com/
Pistachios - sourced from Costco, roasted and salted.
Cherries - Dried Pitted Bing Cherries with no Sulphur Dioxide from Bella Viva Orchards
Honey - Even though we are beekeepers we source our honey from Colorado Mountain Honey. very consistent and delicious.
Pollen - My good friend a beekeeper Colby farms supplies me my pollen which I keep frozen till use.
Edible flowers -