The growers of the cacao who do all the work and hard labour to bring you the ingredient to make your lives immensly enjoyable do their job more as a labour of love than to get rich. The cacao grower receives a low payment for their product which then makes its journey to far flung places to be made into the chocolate treats we know and love and which make a lot of profit for the manufacturers.
There are three main cacao farmers on the island of Grenada who produce fine, single estate chocolate and I was really thrilled to spend the day on one of these. Crayfish Bay is run by English born Kim Russell and his wife. Kim has formed a co-operative with his workers ensuring that they get 90% of the money he makes from the chocolate production which enables his workers to provide more than the basics for their family such as schooling and medical treatment but this wasn't always the case. It took a vision and a lot of hard work bring together the local farmers and to build up the three main chocolate companies on the island; The Grenada Chocolate Company, Crayfish Bay and the Diamond Chocolate Company.
We arrived at Crayfish Bay early one morning during our second week on the island, equipped with bottles of water, hats and sunscreen, long trousers to keep the bugs off our legs and plenty of mosquito repellent. Kim with his casual personality that hides a deep commitment to the island and the cocoa trade enthralled us with the history of Crayfish Bay, the work needed to look after the cocoa trees and the hard work that goes into the whole process.
Picking and processing the cocoa is a long and laborious process and one that cannot be factory mechanised and done in mass production.
On the day I was part of the picking team we picked twelve buckets of 'wet' cocoa and below you can see five of the twelve buckets that the two teams had picked. We really thought we had done well as our haul weighed 475 lbs and we were like rung out washing. Kim quickly brought us down to earth with a bump - on a typical day his crew would pick approx 2,000-3,000 lbs of wet cocoa! Nevertheless we felt proud of our achievement.
I was a guest of Crayfish Bay Chocolate Plantation and want to thank them for a life-changing experience. All opinions and photos are my own.