Reflections on a day at the Chocolate Farm
By Tabitha Miki Floral Designer for Jolene Kaneshige Photography
There was a light shower, but the tropical azure blue skies were still gracing the road to the Chocolate Farm in Kaneohe, Hawai’i with their gem like colors! My amazing partner and I were headed on another fun filled adventure to the 21 Degrees North Chocolate Farm, and I couldn’t wait to see, learn, and taste all the chocolate farm had to offer!
As we ventured towards the farm, I could see so many other plants and animals the farm had beside its main product of cacao! There were chickens, bee hives, and goats! The farm was a gold mine of products, knowledge, and romance! (Ok, Ok, I know what you are thinking, what? a farm romantic?!) You may not think of a farm as being romantic, but to me, I could see the fruits of labor by the husband and wife team; Michael and Maria. It takes hard work, passion, and love to tend to a farm; just like it takes a lot of work, patience, understanding, and love to nurture a relationship! This was a perfect place to learn and grow together as a couple with the love of my life!
This love between the couple was evident at their good natured teasing and building up of the other’s strengths! I was impressed at how Michael honored his hard working wife and thanked her for sticking through the tough seasons and working to build this amazing legacy! It was so sweet! It made me start craving for something sweet to put in my stomach! Haha!
Fortunately, the tour of the farm began with his wife passing out fresh oranges! It was the perfect opening to the tour! From there, my partner and I enjoyed feeding the orange rinds to some of the goats on the farm! Something fun, taking my sweet partner and I back to a carefree childlike paradise! I also noticed that nothing seems to go to waste on the farm! It is pretty impressive!
After our group finished with our little snack, Michael took us over to see the chickens, and the bee hive and told us the story of the farm’s humble beginnings and their goals and dreams! (I know you are wondering about the chocolate! I promise you, it’s coming). Anyways, it might be difficult to see how any of these things tie in together, but they do. They want to care for the land which seems to tie in to how the Hawaiian people actually lived! They felt a responsibility to care for the land and steward it’s resources, take time to craft the best product and not waste and over use its resources. I saw a correlation of all of the above to relationships, that we should build each other up and not tear one another down. If there are issues, they need to be recognized, addressed and fixed, but the whole world doesn’t need to know about every little issue. They can be recorded as an example of how to address an issue or learned from on how to better address and solve issues. Going deeper, I could also see how Michael and Maria’s passion to “malama” the “aina”, (hawaiian for protect, care for the land) reflected in their own relationship they cared for and nurtured their relationship!
I learned so much just from those first few minutes on the farm! Then the “Pièce de Résistance”,the chocolate grove!!! The trees looked odd to me at first glance. They looked like regular trees, but then they bore odd,football shaped, bumpy,ugly looking pods! It almost looked alien like! If you have never seen fresh cacao pods, they are not exactly pretty to be honest, but boy are the cacao nibs inside delicious!!
The cacao flowers, however, are very small and pretty! It made me think about how plants go through different seasons in life, so do relationships. We start out beautiful and everything is wonderful, just like that cacao flower, but then we have bumpy, “ugly” patches of the relationship like that cacao pod; but that bumpy rough spot is necessary to produce the delicious “fruit” or in this case bean! But I digress.
Michael proceeded to teach us about how chocolate grows, what they need to flourish, the harvesting process, and what happens to turn it to the chocolate we all know and love! The next part was delicious! He opened the pod and we all had an opportunity to taste the white fruit of the pod that also contained the nibs! The fruit was white, sweet with a slight tartness, something like lychee or longans. It was such a treat!!
Once the tour of the farm lands itself came to a close we were ushered to the porch of the main lodge. The table was set for an informal tasting of several different types of chocolate from a local chocolate manufacturer, which included a single source chocolate bar that they provide the beans for! It was such a treat! Their Premium bar was elegant, rich, dark with hints of tropical fruits! It was ambrosia! For true chocoholics, this is a tour you do not want to miss! It would make a great place to visit during your proposal trip, or maybe a possible locale to propose?! The possibilities are endless and I truly enjoyed my trip to the farm! If you enjoy hiking, the outdoors, and enjoy adventures I would recommend this locale to you! Considering this as a locale and need more ideas or would like us to help you plan? Contact us, We would love to tell your story!