Have you ever seen a cacao pod? In the wild or on the farm, it awkwardly hangs from the trunk and branches of the Theobroma cacao tree. An alien fruit of seemingly endless variety —shaped like a papaya, hard like an acorn squash and often ridged like one, too. It comes in reds, browns, golds, purples, sometimes different varieties growing right alongside one another. Cutting one open reveals a world no less strange than the exterior—filmy, gooey white membrane enrobes brown and purple beans that are about the size of large grapes. The aroma from the interior is alluring, though: citric and bold, floral and sweet, even woodsy and minerally, depending on the variety of pod you’re sniffing
Frankie PondolphNovember 8, 2018Categories:
Frankie PondolphAugust 6, 2018
By Laura Bechard, Chocolate Supply Chain Coordinator, Equal Exchange
Frankie PondolphMay 7, 2018
I came away from a recent visit to our cacao partner CONACADO with a feeling of tremendous appreciation for the way that co-operative has promoted women in roles that traditionally are assigned to men. I have even more appreciation for the strong women who have taken opportunities for leadership and have excelled, despite the challenges. According to the organization Farming First, “female farmers receive only 5% of all agricultural extension services from 97 countries, [and] only 15% of the world’s extension agents are women.”
Laura BechardDecember 11, 2017
As rain drizzled down from slate grey skies, thousands of visitors took refuge inside Smith Cove at Pier 91 to attend the Northwest Chocolate Festival in Seattle. The festival has been a staple of the city’s events scene since 2008. This year, the chocolate team at Equal Exchange participated in the festival workshops and unconference from Nov. 9-12.
Ashley SymonsOctober 31, 2017Categories:
Happy Halloween! This year, it's expected that Halloween candy sales will reach a record $2.75 billion in retail sales. According to the National Confectioners Association, Halloween is the biggest holiday for seasonal candy sales, accounting for about 34 percent of seasonal candy sales (outnumbering Christmas, Easter and Valentine's Day). And, if you took all the candy that’s sold during Halloween week, it would equal about 300,000 tons or two pounds of candy per American!
Equal ExchangeOctober 9, 2017
In 2010, Equal Exchange and TCHO Chocolate embarked on a journey to partner in new and innovative ways with cacao co-operatives in Peru, Ecuador and Dominican Republic. With support from the USAID Co-operative Development Program, we set out to develop a project focused on three key factors for cooperative success: quality, productivity, and capitalization.
Laura BechardSeptember 18, 2017
Two weeks ago, workers from Equal Exchange and La Siembra (a sister worker co-op committed to small farmers, based in Canada) had the opportunity to visit our mutual sugar partner, Manduvira co-operative in Paraguay, and share a day and a half at the homes and fields of several of its 986 farmer members.
Laura BechardJuly 12, 2017
In April 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador’s coastal region, killing over 650 people and wounding another 16,000. The epicenter of this destructive phenomenon was located within one of our cacao partner co-operatives, UOPROCAE. Last year, Equal Exchange, the Cooperative Development Foundation, Pronatec (our Swiss partner for chocolate making), food co-operatives, and caring individuals came together to donate over $35,000 to support recovery efforts to two of our partner co-operatives in the region.
Equal ExchangeJuly 5, 2017
Sugar. It seems like such a simple thing. The essential ingredient we so often buy in the U.S. that ends up in something delicious that makes us happy - a morning cup of coffee, a celebratory cake, or a pan of brownies. The reality is, sugar is far from simple.
Dary GoodrichFebruary 14, 2017
For me, this Valentine’s Day feels different. Yes, I’ve got chocolate on the mind—as Chocolate Products Manager, I think about it all the time—but there are two other things I keep coming back to. First is the current state of U.S. politics and the division that seems to be the defining character of our country at this time.