Updated: Jul 14
Island Sharks Chocolate started out as project to help the cacao farmers in rural Hawaii. Typically 10,000 pounds of cacao beans are grown in the area each year! We wanted to help the cacao get off the island too. You see that number of beans only accounts for 7 small farms. Island Sharks remains confident in its mission to support local economies and shipping cacao all over the world. There are about 15 commercially producing farms in the state. There are over 50 folks on the Big Island alone that are attempting to run small commercial cacao farms. There is one on the Island of Moloka'i I am aware of and plenty of cacao farms on Maui and O'ahu. Not to mention Kaua'i Island. The total number of commercial cacao grown yearly in Hawaii is unknown. Island Sharks uses a fermentary. Thats the place all 7 or so farms bring their harvested pods. All the farm's beans are fermented together here. The farms are all within the same growing region of Papaikou, Hawai'i so we do consider the combined acreage a single estate or single-origin.
Other times we go through more traditional routes of buying beans like via Meridian Cacao or Uncommon Cacao. We still get to support farmers but by not dealing directly with local Hawaii farmers we end up paying the middleman. Though there couldn't be a bean to bar industry without them. In the industry we practice what is known as, "direct trade". All our chocolate bars origin's are distinctly marked so you can always support the farms you want too.
Heres what buying Hawaii chocolate can and does for our tiny industry: It puts money in the hands of tiny independent island farmers, Supports brand new agriculture and manufacturing new jobs in the state, Promotes livable wages in the new sector,
Helps the biodiversity of our macro and micro climates, Develops tourism through new agricultural tours of the cacao farms.
We purchase enough beans to equal almost 35% of our Hawai'i fermentary's annual income.
From Vietnam we have only purchased about 100 pounds. However other companies like Marou have developed cacao farms in Vietnam for half a decade. Many, many chocolate companies buy tens of thousands of pounds of beans from multiple famous farms in Vietnam. Farms are getting famous in Hawai'i but I doubt you know their names yet so I won't mention any. I also want to avoid sounding biased. Because I am very, very biased. Favorites have been picked! A lot of farms are still developing their fermentation. During the pandemic Island Sharks was there for local farmers who needed some extra sales.
When one of our farmers had surgery we were there to help support their health care costs. By becoming a regular customer of local farms, we have been able to create stable and steady income for our local community. The Island Sharks team looks forward to continuing to promote and support local Hawai'i cacao farmers.
We put farmers first at Island Sharks, and pay some of the highest prices for beans in the state. We aim to continue to grow the salaries of everyone in this local industry.
Our impact on Hawai'i farmers is just one leg of our goals and journey. We would like to help the islands create a new chocolate manufacturing sector of the economy. That means jobs! Job creation in Hawaiian cacao? That would be, our greatest impact. Of course it is years to come. Currently, supporting locals farmers has been successful and we cannot wait to reach our second goal. Every time you buy Hawai'i cacao from us, remember we directly trade with local farmers. We use the funds from our customers, you, to pay the farmers what they need to thrive.
Do you want chocolate and a thriving Hawai'i cacao industry? All it takes is ordering some bean to bar chocolate from Island Sharks. We can pay livable wages, due to our pricing. Thats direct impact from you to our Big Island community. We will send you the chocolate and send the farmers a check. Our impact on Hawai'i farmers helps create ethical and child-slave free alternatives for chocolate lovers. Your purchase of Hawai'i chocolate can help send a message to illegal corporate profiteers that you no longer want chocolate farmed illegal by African children. Black lives matter in cocoa but profiting off of human rights violations only persist if people sadly ignore it. Send a message to "Big Chocolate", that you no longer wish to consume something created by slave-labor. Or created by mega corporations. Send a message that you buy ethical chocolate exclusively. And with the intention of supporting local Hawai'i farmers. Please, continue to help us make an impact on our local economy . We cannot do it without your help!