How to grow Cacao - making chocolate

This is some interesting information for those of you wanting to grow cacao. These are not easy to grow even in the greenhouse in colder climates.

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@Evdurtschi was investigating this a few years ago for possible commercial production in Santa Barbara CA.

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It is just too cold here. If temps drop to the low 40’s for more than a few hours, you are pretty much toast. I was able to keep some growing with a lightly heated cloth greenhouse but it just proved more effort than I was willing to put in with my busy work schedule. It is more of a novelty anyway as it actually requires a substantial volume of raw cacao to get a proper ferment. It is still fun to try though.

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I have heard eating the pulp around the seed was delicious.

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Yes , !
Very good .!
…. Wishing I had some right now .!
Hah !

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It is quite tasty. Depending on the variety and origin, it can taste like mango, apricot, lemon, cherry… I often describe it as cherry limeade. There is not a lot in each pod and the acidity is around 4.5pH so you don’t want to eat it to often.
In some areas that I work with, they spin off some of the pulp and serve it like lemonade. It is delicious!

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@Evdurtschi

Anyway to harvest the pulp and if so do you know if we can buy some bottled? I can get the cacao pods shipped but it’s pricey.

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Unfortunately, there isn’t one that I can really recommend right now. Over the past few years, there have been a few companies, myself included, that have attempted to make this a commercially viable product but it is just tough to get a solid supply chain set up. The pulp has to be processed almost immediately after being pulled from the pod or the quality breaks down quickly.
I do have a new business that I am starting that will be focusing on some more innovative products and this is one that I have not given up on yet. I have been testing with freeze drying it as well. Fingers crossed.

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@Evdurtschi

This is one way to get fresh cacao

https://growingfruit.org/t/have-a-fruit-you-want-to-try-but-dont-know-where-to-get-it/48932

I can’t access that link. Says it is private or something.

@Evdurtschi

Try this Cacao - Buy Cacao online from Miami Fruit

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Got it. Thanks.
I have a good source that can provide different varieties. His pricing is better but I usually only do that when I am going to host a chocolate tasting party or instructional class. It is always fun for people to have a chance to see “chocolate” in its raw state and to try the pulp. :slight_smile: Might be time to place another order, after I finish the move to TN!

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This is what else is in season The Holiday Box is Back! 🎁 – Miami Fruit . If you have a good source that is less expensive on cacao would love to try them.

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