Deep Dirt Farm news
Deep Dirt Farm occupies fifteen acres on the Hamakua Coast north of Hilo at an average elevation of 450 feet above sea level. As of Fall 2017 we have 1100 cacao trees growing and another 300+ started in the greenhouse. We plan to expand to 4000 total trees. We expect to begin producing chocolate under our CacaoBoy Chocolate brand in 2018.
500 cacao seedlings, started 3 weeks to 3 months ago. Many are ready
to head for the field.
Cacao cages in the field - young trees
need protection from sun, wind, and, most importantly, voracious
rose beetles. A test is being done to determine if there is
any difference between the light and dark cloth.
Our 24' X 60' greenhouse has a Solexx
roof on the Conley's
frame, and shadecloth walls. This is where new cacao
are started. In the background you see snow covered Mauna Kea.
The young tree to the right was germinated from seed only ten months ago, and planted in the ground eight months ago. Already it is more than four feet tall and ready to have the cage removed. This fast growth is not unusual here.
We had over 200 inches of rain in 2015. This is part of what makes the Hamakua Coast an excellent place to grow cacao.
Many people have no idea where chocolate comes from. Here is a cacao pod split open to show the mucilage-covered seeds. A pod typically has 40 to 50 seeds which will weigh a total of 4 to 5 ounces. These seeds must be stripped by hand from each pod, then the seeds are fermented, dried, roasted, and then finely ground and blended with sweetener and perhaps other ingredients.