A farming village so remote, it’s accessible only by footbridge
The remote Guatemalan village of San Juan Chivite is perched on the side of a mountain, reachable only by foot. Part of the journey requires crossing a long, narrow wooden and steel cable footbridge across which all harvested cacao is carried by hand.
At the start of the Guatemalan civil war the village was part of a coffee farm, but when coffee prices declined the owner sold the farm and the land ended up in the hands of 64 indigenous Maya families who had been displaced by the war. They began by growing both coffee and cacao but switched entirely to cacao in 2002.
There are now 125 families living in San Juan Chivite, all of whom are descendants of the original 64 families.
Until recently they sold their cacao locally, at low prices, but are now working with Cacao Verapaz, which has provided them with technical assistance to improve their fermentation and drying techniques.
A new fermentation and drying facility meets the needs of the villagers.
When we first visited the village in 2015 the villagers told us one of their most pressing needs was to replace their old and inadequate fermentation and drying area with a new facility that would allow them to improve their post harvest capabilities. We were impressed with the villagers’ commitment to producing high quality cacao and Goodnow Farms agreed to fund the construction of a new fermentation and drying area. The villagers built the new facility themselves, with technical advice from Cacao Verapaz, and began using it for the 2016 harvest.
Flavor profile: The chocolate made from this bean has a delightfully bright fruit flavor, with light acidity and a mellow, dark fruit finish.