Existentialism in Hawaiian Chocolate

Hawaii. Hawaiian cacao. It exists. Explorer botanists transplanted trees to those islands in the nineteenth century. In the twentieth, pineapple giant Dole brought in some more. The 21st century has brought small growers and artisanal producers here, looking for arable land and interesting soil in that optimal zone within twenty degrees of the equator. Madre and Lonohana, both based on Oahu, are the good stuff. I heard a lot of promising things about a chocolatier on Maui, and the company she started now owns a cacao orchard, though she's since relocated to Arizona, leaving that burgeoning bean-to-bar business to someone else. Her move was probably motivated by some things that do not exist: an assurance that bars en route to customers and retailers on the mainland won't melt at the Honolulu airport, a way to afford developed-world wages for workers, an economy of scale (across Hawaii, there are about 100 acres of cacao--you might compare that to Peru, the smallest of the top ten cacao-producing countries today, which harvests cacao from about 250,000 acres).

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