In the province of Esmeraldas along the Pacific Coast of Ecuador
On a 100-hectare cacao farm, the Salazar family owns and operates the business. The cacao orchards were established six years ago on former cattle pasture with very steep terrain. All members of the Salazar family actively participate in the cacao business and have been able to create forty full-time jobs for the local community.
Along with Nacional hybrid cacao trees, different fruits -- oranges, limes, lemons, bananas, plantain and papaya, to name a few -- are interspersed to reduce erosion on the steep terrain and the fruit is eaten by everyone on the farm.
The post-harvest facility is built on a nearby off-farm site with an unusually dry and sunny micro-climate which greatly limits mold development and bacterial spoilage during the drying process.