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Does To'ak farm and harvest cacao?

To’ak’s co-founder Jerry Toth started cultivating cacao in Ecuador back in 2008, as part of a rainforest conservation project with Third Millennium Alliance. He eventually started making chocolate with cacao harvested from the trees he planted in the Jama-Coaque Reserve (JCR), in a house without electricity in the middle of the woods. After honing his skills for several years, he linked up with Carl Schweizer and Dennise Valencia to create To’ak Chocolate.

Jerry has continued cultivating cacao ever since then–it’s a passion that continues through the present day.

To’ak sources its cacao from the nearby valley of Piedra de Plata, which has old-growth cacao trees that have been DNA-verified to be 100% pure “Ancient Nacional” cacao. These trees are significantly older than the trees Jerry manages in JCR. For this reason, most of To’ak’s cacao is sourced from Piedra de Plata, although we’re hopeful to produce chocolate sourced from JCR in the coming years, as more of the trees reach productive age.

Dennise, Carl, James, and Jerry join the cacao growers of Piedra de Plata on harvest days to help harvest and process the cacao. We then take this cacao to our post-harvest facility in the nearby farm owned and managed by Servio Pachard, where we ferment and dry the cacao. After these steps are completed, we bring the cacao to our Production House in Quito to hand-sort the beans and begin the process of making chocolate.

To’ak is a tree-to-bar chocolate company proudly based in Ecuador–the native origin of cacao.

Read about our social and environmental commitments (including how we are paying the highest prices to farmers, going beyond certification, up-cycling product, and protecting endangered varieties of cacao).

Further Reading

The Main Steps in the Production of To'ak Chocolate Timeline for To'ak Chocolate and Third Millennium Alliance's Conservation Project The Different Grades of Ecuadorian Cacao

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