Webinar: Cacao Across the Islands
Cacao Quality & Post-Harvest ProcessING
Advice from award-winning cacao growers.
A conversation offering key lessons learned for the post-harvest processing of premium quality cacao in Hawaiʻi, at diverse sites and scales, from Hāmākua to Kapaʻa.
This is a farmer-to-farmer event featuring a panel discussion with some of the leading growers working to raise the bar in Hawaiʻi’s flourishing tree-to-bar chocolate industry. The webinar will include a Q&A session and provide insights into site-specific challenges growers have faced in different regions as well as the tips and innovative techniques they designed to overcome them.
This session offers a valuable opportunity to get ahead of the curve and avoid costly mistakes relevant to existing, new and prospective growers at any scale.
Co-owner of Mauna Kea Cacao
Susan grows and processes award-winning cacao on her Pepeekeo farm on Hawaii Island. The farm grows 1800 cacao trees aged 1-9 years in a climate averaging 120-140 inches of rain per year. Susan began planting cacao during vacations, then began full-time farming in 2016 after a career as an environmental engineer. A single-estate chocolate bar made from Mauna Kea Cacao beans won the 2018 Good Food Award for chocolate. Cacao from the farm was selected as one of Hawaiʻi’s entries in the 2019 International Cocoa of Excellence Programme.
General Supervisor, Coffee and Cacao
Waialua Estates (Dole Food Company Hawaii)
Jon grew up on a ranch on Kauaʻi and is a UH CTAHR graduate with 14+ years of coffee farm management and one year in cacao production/processing.
Owner of Lydgate Farms
Will owns and operates Lydgate Farms on the east side of Kauaʻi. Lydgate raises cacao beans that have been rated top 50 best in the world by the Cocoa of Excellence awards. They also raise award winning vanilla, honey, and other fruits and spices. Will is excited about the future of farm to bar chocolate in Hawaiʻi, the new demand for fine flavor in cacao beans, and the education and fun that come along with teaching customers more about their favorite food — chocolate. Will believes that Hawaii will be a center of innovation in cacao production because of our unique position as the only state in the USA where chocolate can be grown.
Founder of Lonohana Estate Chocolate
Lonohana Estate Chocolate is a tree-to-bar chocolate company on Oʻahu focused on crafting world-class chocolate from Hawaii-grown cacao. The Lonohana Estate orchard is on the North Shore of Oʻahu, and the factory is in the neighborhood of Kakaʻako, Honolulu.
Prior to beginning Lonohana in 2009, Seneca involved himself with leaders of the artisan chocolate industry worldwide and became part of a new generation of chocolate makers concerned with transparency in the food chain. After creating his own line of bars called Bittersweet Origins and co-founding Bittersweet Cafe, a chain of chocolate cafes in the Bay Area, he followed his dream to start his own estate-grown chocolate company. He continues to lecture throughout the U.S. on both what it takes to start a estate-grown chocolate company and why it’s so important to change the centuries-old business model; has earned multiple awards for his chocolate and continues to play a leading role in helping to establish Hawaiʻi as a world-class origin for cacao and the young chocolate industry that has blossomed since his dream began a reality.
Maui Kuʻia Estate, Maui (VP Farm and Factory Operations)
Kamananui Estate, Oahu (Co-founder/Owner)
Dan researched cacao and chocolate at the University of Hawaii Manoa until founding Cacao Services in 2012. Locally, Cacao Services designs cacao farms, conducts R&D on clonal selection and cacao breeding, and developed the first successful fermentation inoculate for cacao farmers in Hawaii. Internationally, the company works on post-harvest processing in over 20 countries to improve quality and import cacao for the US bean-to-bar market. As VP of Operations at Maui Kuia Estate Chocolate, Dan oversees farm management and quality, as well as making chocolate and coordinating factory operations leading to Cocoa of Excellence Gold designation for cacao quality and Good Food Award-winning chocolate.
Deep Dirt Farm
Sage retired to a 15-acre farm on the Hāmākua Coast on the Big Island in 2004. He began growing cacao in 2015 on the advice of an acquaintance who assured him that growing cacao was easy, effortless, and profitable.
Dave has twenty years of experience working in agricultural development and natural resource management in Hawaii and Latin America as an entrepreneur, researcher, and non-profit program director. He was a founding board member of the Hawaiʻi Chocolate and Cacao Association and has been active in the industry since 2010. He is passionate about sustainable agriculture and working alongside farmers to identify stewardship practices that benefit farm productivity and Hawaiʻi’s water and soil resources.
Cacao News & Updates
Manoa Chocolate Hawaii
Colin will share information about the grafted variety trial tour he will be hosting at his farm at the HCCA 2022 Conference in Hilo.