This summer we've taken on some amazing interns to learn the chocolate making process at Hello Cocoa.
One of those interns, Kayla, spent the beginning of her summer traveling to Belize to learn firsthand what cacao development is like.
Kayla is pursuing her Associate's degree at Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) and joined the Hello Cocoa team after visiting our chocolate factory through one of her NWACC classes with professor Laura Sossamon, who works with cacao farmers in Belize. Their class focused on the cacao business!
Kayla was selected to participate in her professor's farm visit this summer, and it couldn't have been a more timely and educational experience!
"As the class progressed I fell in love with learning about cacao, and I knew in my heart I wanted to do more with it. Little did I know Laura was watching me! She noticed how much dedication I put into my farm profile, so she picked me out of the class to go to Belize to lay down the research."
This trip to Belize was Kayla's first out of the country! We at Hello Cocoa are passionate about travel, and are pumped one of our own could have such an amazing opportunity.
"I hope to continue my cacao passion through helping Laura and working for Hello Cocoa. Hello Cocoa has completed my cacao dream."
We are so glad to have you with us, Kayla!
Want to learn more about cacao? Here are a few of Kayla's findings of cacao in Belize:
"Typically it takes 3-5 years for a cacao tree to bear beans. I know, a long time right?! Farmers will normally plant other things while they wait for their cacao to grow.
In Belize, cacao is grown in the rain forest. Cacao trees also like shade and hot weather, so farmers in Belize plant shade trees.
Madre de Cacao and Plantain trees are the two most common trees planted around cacao in Belize. This is a picture of a baby cacao tree."
Kayla brought a lot of knowledge and experience back with her from Belize, along with a small bag of cacao beans (which we made chocolate from, of course!).
Stay tuned for more cacao fun facts!