Cocoa trees are "understory" rainforest trees. They require the shade provided by the canopy of taller trees.
So, after planting some new young cocoa trees and vanilla vines on our model farm,
we knew we had to add some shade trees.
We bartered with a local farmer for some plantain trees.
Plantain and banana trees are perfect companions for cocoa.
They grow super-fast to just the right height, so they provide shade.
They also lend the cocoa complex flavor notes
as some of their fruit decomposes in the soil around the trees.
This is Trey, who helped up plant our plantains.
Trey is the son of Rita, one of the most
hard-working members of our Women's Crafts Cooperative.
We are grateful to Trey for his beautiful spirit
and all his hard work on the model farm!