Main harvest: December – April
The unique and rare wild cacao, Criollo Amazonico, originates in the Bolivian lowlands in the province of Beni. The gatherers, mostly Chimane Indians, seek out the widely scattered cacao islands, where they collect the ripened fruit from the trees. They then bring the pods to pre-designated collection points using horses or dugout canoes. The beans are then fermented and dried in the sun at these points. The trees are not cultivated, they are left to nature and are not cut or fertilised. Volker Lehmann is responsible for quality control, purchasing, drying and transportation of these cacao beans on behalf of Felchlin Switzerland. He has lived in Santa Cruz de la Sierra with his family for many years. He also gathers and ferments his own cacao on his Finca “Tranquilidad”, in Huacaraje.