ChocoSol has been working with a group of communities in the Lacandona Jungle of southern Chiapas, Mexico, for over 10 years. One of our longest standing relationships, ChocoSol directly purchases cacao from 3 villages in the region. The cacao is first consolidated and tested for quality control by village elder, Don Flor, and his family. This community and family is also our home-base for many of our cacao fermentation experiments, such as the 2018 limited edition guanabana-infused fermentation!
The Chinantla mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico is home to over 4,000 species of plants and is recognised worldwide as a biodiversity hotspot. Renewing and regenerating the biodiversity of the land is vital for a resilient ecosystem and habitat for the natural flora and fauna. This region is home to ChocoSol's longest-running forest garden reforestation work and our most prized cacao: Jaguar! Also known as pataxtle, cacao blanco, or albino cacao, we have been supporting the growing of Jaguar cacao in the area for over 8 years. Don Max, a community elder, explains that a diverse forest ecosystem also diversifies and thereby strengthens the sources of subsistence and income for the community. Though cacao blanco can be sold for higher prices, the community continues to plant more cacao rojo trees alongside achiote, vanilla, coffee, and much more- creating a diverse forest garden that is resilient to disease, pests, changing weather, fluctuating prices, and unpredictable market dynamics- and that will feed and support the community of San Felipe de León for generations to come.
Rayen Cacao is our newest partner in Chiapas, Mexico. After a trial run in 2018, we started our first bulk purchase of their criollo and mixed cacao varietals in 2019. Rayen is a farmer-owned cooperative dedicated to renewing the region's name in international and national cacao, regenerating ancestral criollo cacao varieties, and shared learning from farm to fermentation. Did you know the Soconusco region of Chiapas is considered by many to be the origin gateway of cacao in Mexico?