After a very delicious Liquid Cacao evening with Floris from Ms Sunshine Farms we asked her share her inspiring story. So here it is, along with a few photos from our Cacao tasting.
Ms Sunshine Farms, Tuana’i, Samoa – Our Story
From the age four while growing up in Samoa, part of our daily chores was to pick up the cacao leaves from under the “Chocolate Trees” on our family plot.
We learned from our mothers, aunties and sisters, how to roast, peel and grind these magic beans. I can still remember the heady aroma of roasted cacao, long before I knew about such a thing as “chocolate”.
Mum and Dad said that cacao beans (koko) were money. So we children, would help Dad to harvest the pods off the trees, crack and deseed them into palm frond bags between banana leaves, and leave them for days to ferment and develop their complex flavours. Then they were washed and massaged out onto flax mats… out in the sun to dry….
|On the tree
A life changing visit to Samoa
Fast-forward to 2013, I went back to Samoa to check out the family plot my brother had been working on for a year. A few months earlier, a phone call from an old friend who owns a chocolate company in Christchurch sparked the chocolate ad-venture we are now on.
But like any new venture, there are sure to be challenges. We decided to focus on a different market, boutique and organic. It is difficult, but we can see the rewards ahead as we are not willing to compromise our values and the true vision for our venture.
|Ready to be treated
|Cacao and chocolate treats
Farmers and families first
We put our Farmers and their families first. Few growers are dedicated to traditional methods and maintaining a pure strain quality of beans. This is our Mission. Village elder and grower Faletoeifo Aigoa is teaching us to listen to the land, the cacao trees and to our hearts as the source of our inspiration and actions.
We are only working with our Village community because we have a lot to improve in this small place first; School buildings, Access road to the plantations and Fresh running water in every household. We believe it only takes a village and an idea to influence a nation.
We are also passionate about empowering our young men and women to see a future in Agriculture and more about anticipating a world shortage of food sources in the near future, which could put small nations like Samoa at risk of losing what little resources we already have.
Finally, we want to put Samoa on the World Map for growing the best quality trinitario beans for local and export markets.
|The winner of the chocolate hamper
Support She Universe Samoan products
We aim to build a centralised fermentry on our farm so that our growers without transport can process their beans in the village and not risk losing profits on carting their goods into town. Furthermore, the quality of our product is then consistent and efficiently despatched to the markets.
We want to provide employment for the 70% un-employed population of our village, of which more than half are Youth.
She Universe has helped in achieving some of our goals so far, and as our values align, we will continue to work together for this common vision.
Whenever you buy She Universe Samoan based products, know that you are making a colossal contribution to our efforts.
Fa’afetai tele lava, ma ia manuia!
Floris Niu (Founder Ms Sunshine Farms, Samoa)