THE MANUAL HARVEST FROM CACAO TO CHOCOLATE
Only one of every thousand flowers of the cacao tree will grow to be a cacao fruit !
The season to harvest the cacao pods arrives at dry period, around 6 months after the bloom and lasts from 10 to 14 days, between May and July, and then from October to March.
It is important to find the maturity peak of the pod as this will determine the sugar concentration of the mucilage and the content of butter in the seed. The optimal point of ripeness is detected with the color of the pod. Cacao fruits have to be harvested manually: with a sharp knife the farmer cuts carefully the corner of the pod, trying not to arm the tree bark or adjacent growths, leaving aside the under-ripe, over-ripe and damaged pods.
Once the selection process is done the farmer opens the pod in two with a wooden hammer and the cacao seeds automatically fall out of the pods.