As you might know, we recently invited everyone to ask us anything about cacao!
Yup, ask Firefly anything! What are you curious about?
We’ve had some AMAZING questions come in. Below, we answer two critical questions about:
- Cacao & Slavery
- Assessing Farmers & Cacao Quality
P.S. If you missed the blog describing this new way that we are engaging with customers, please click here. You can anonymously send us more questions anytime by directly clicking this form here! We are grateful to be in communication with you!
Question & Answer #1 - Cacao & Slavery
Are children being enslaved to help in the production of your cacao? Please, I need to know. I’m against any slavery of any kind.
The good news is that, like you, Firefly is absolutely against slavery of any kind—and oppression, manipulation, and extraction for that matter. All of our cacaos are 100% child-labor free and slave-labor free, and always will be.
In fact, one of our metrics for success in our sourcing is that a new generation of young adults in the region is excited about growing cacao for a living. Young adults have many choices and frequently choose to leave the farm for more opportunities in the cities. That has been the case even in the US, where the average age of farmers has been steadily increasing. To see a new generation excited about growing cacao is a soft indicator that the compensation offers a competitive and good livelihood and that the ecosystem is being respected.
Now, the bad news is that children and adults are in fact enslaved in the production of industrial chocolate candy (by large corporations, NOT Firefly). 70% of cacao is grown on mono-cropped industrial plantations with unethical labor practices in West Africa, which is where many chocolate candy makers get their supply. In our recent newsletter, we spoke about our involvement in a legal battle between Nestle and the United States Supreme Court (read more on this in our blog here). The government-mandated for Nestle to prove that it doesn’t use child labor. However, Nestle claimed that it “cannot prove” that it doesn’t use child labor. Nestle claims they cannot prove it for two reasons: 1) Nestle is blatantly lying and 2) they cannot actually trace 100% of their supply of cacao. On the contrary, Firefly does not use any child or slave labor, and we are proud that we can directly trace 100% of our supply, thus verifying that there is no child/slave labor involved. Firefly is proof to Nestle and to the Supreme Court that it is possible to prove that you don’t use slave labor. Unfortunately, these large corporations have some of the best legal teams in the world and continue to get away with murder.
Question & Answer #2 - Farmers & Cacao Quality
What questions do you ask farmers when you're sourcing cacao? What's most important?
In actuality, our cacao sourcing works backward, from the cacao bean to the cacao farmers. It’s not enough to just find an amazing cacao farmer to source cacao. We source from regions and communities. The individual family farms that we purchase cacao from are too small to have a sufficient harvest of cacao beans for a high-quality fermentation so we need to find regions of small cacao farmers that all practice cacao farming to our standards and that together time their harvests to ferment the cacao collectively. Furthermore, we need to find partners on the location that manage the fermentation process in a consistent way, and that have the ability to maintain cacao exports even during major global events like the pandemic in 2020. Our partners are also an integral part of extending working capital to our cacao farmers to plant new trees or prune trees, and for maintaining organic certification.
Fortunately, the cacao bean is absorptive of the energy that it is surrounded by, so when we receive samples of cacao from a prospective partner, we can usually tell a lot just by sitting in ceremony with the cacao and inquiring into its suitability for us to share it. We have a very clear prayer guiding us to the cacaos that we are looking for and desire to bring into our cacao family. Sometimes that leads us to unexpected places, like Tanzania. When we listened to the cacao the message was loud and clear that Africa was our next destination, but we had to work through our own internal resistances against working with cacao from Africa (due to the majority of industrial chocolate being grown in Africa). Eventually, we made the trip and discovered one of the most amazing cacaos we know of!
When it comes to sourcing cacao, we rely on our on-the-ground local partners to ask the farmers individual questions. We go through an extensive vetting process with our partners before committing to work with them. Our partners visit each farm at origin and run centralized cooperative fermentaries—where cacao beans are taken after being harvested. Anywhere from 12 to 100 farmers might contribute to a single fermentary. Our partners require very strict quality standards before they agree to ferment the cacao: organic, regenerative, grown in biodiverse environments, fair and just labor practices, etc.
We hope you enjoyed getting more insight into Firefly and all that goes into sharing our beloved cacao! As always, we're here to answer any questions! Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for personalized cacao recommendations and anything else you need!
With Love, Gratitude, & Cacao,
Jonas & The Firefly Family
Our Cacao Recommendations
P.S. - 🚚 We are now back to our regular shipping schedule w/out ice packs now that the weather is cooling back down!
📦 Orders ship Monday through Thursday without ice packs.
🕰️ Thursday @ 1pm PT is the last order time to make the above shipping window.
🏡 Bring your package inside as soon as you can after it is delivered!
📲 We recommend opting in for text message delivery notifications; to do this, enter your phone number at checkout and you will receive updates on your cacao!
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