donderdag 27 oktober 2011

Madre chocolate Hawai, Delicious and Original Chocolate Bars Now Available


Our chocolate is now available at one of the most celebrated chocolatiers in Belgium, Patisserie Vercruysse (Share what is great and good in the world!). Thanks for all the support of bean-to-bar chocolate makers like us, Geert! We are honored to be carried in your shop with such great company and can't wait to see the amazing truffles you create with our chocolate.

This chocolate is made with cacao purchased directly from an organic farm cooperatives in Central America and Hawaii and crafted from bean to bar in small batches. Our processing preserves a high level of healthy antioxidants and provides a rich delightful flavor. At Madre Chocolate we use a selection of traditional fruits and spices of the Aztec, Maya, Olmec, and Barra tribes of Central America that invented chocolate, to both celebrate their cultural heritage and bring you delicious original flavors that few have had the privilege of tasting…until now. All of our products are vegan and soy-free. Most chocolate has soy-lecithin in it as an emulsifier. Our chocolate does not, so it is fine for those who have soy allergies.

Delicious and Original Chocolate Bars Now Available

Dominican Single Origin Roasted € 6.00
Hibiscus € 6.00
Amaranth Crunch € 6.00
Xocoxochitl Chipotle Allspice € 6.00
Hamakua 70% Hawaiian € 7.75
Hamakua Coconut Milk & Caramelized Ginger € 7.75
Hamakua Passion Fruit € 7.75

Beyond Sustainable: bringing you cacao and chocolate direct from its roots, ecologically


David Elliott: Cofounder and Chocolate Production Manager Dave is a bicontinental chocolate maker, avid traveller, and promoter of all things delicious. After working on rural development and environmental justice issues in cacao growing regions of Ecuador and Bolivia for many years, He tasted many excellent, traditional drinking chocolates there, but couldn’t find a fine eating chocolate that gave testimony to Mexico’s long love story with cacao and he saw an opportunity. His excitement only grew when he saw the potential for a chocolate company with a social mission to make a positive impact on the lives of cacao farmers and their communities.

Nat Bletter: Cofounder and Chocolate Flavormeister Dr. Nat Bletter has 15 years of experience in botany, documenting exotic fruits and vegetables, gathering food in the wild, herbal and traditional medicine, and exploring Asia, South America, Central America, and Africa. He has a Ph.D. in Ethnobotany from the City University of New York and New York Botanical Garden, where he researched medicinal plants of Peru, Mali, and the Guatemalan Mayans, ethnobotany, taste-modifying plants, and stimulant plants such as cacao, which has spurred him to start a traditional-ingredient, high-antioxidant, artisinal chocolate company Madre Chocolate. http://madrechocolate.com/Home.html

woensdag 26 oktober 2011

Cacao Diseases in Central America 5

The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) is a regional center dedicated to research and graduate education in agriculture and the management, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
Its members include the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Venezuela and Spain.
Source:  Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center, CATIE, 2009.


Other cacao diseases
Thread blight    The fungus Pellicularia koleroga produces whitish mycelia threads that spread over the stems and leaves.
The leaves dry out and detach but remain suspended on the branches by the mycelia. The disease seldom causes major damage, but in extreme conditions it can kill the branches.
Thread blight occurs in abandoned plantations or in excessively shaded plantations. It is spread via direct contact, insects and work tools.
Good plantation management prevents and controls the disease. An effective way to combat it is by cutting and eliminating diseased branches and
then disinfecting the tools used.
Pink disease   The fungus Corticium salmonicolor attacks the branches, twigs and trunk of the cacao tree, covering them with a white crust that later turns pink. It causes defoliation, drying of the branches and, in very few cases, the death of the tree.  It usually occurs in young, dispersed trees in the plantation, which means that its economic impact is limited. The fungus is spread by windborne spores and survives in old lesions. This disease can be combated using a similar method to that for thread blight.

Galls or warts    These are growth abnormalities that occur on the trunk and branches of cacao and are known as green-point galls, flowery galls, fan galls, knob galls and lobed galls. The most studied is the green-point gall caused by Albonectria rigidiuscula.
This fungus produces a large number of very small shoots that do not develop and affect the growth and fruiting of the plant. The propagation of these diseased plants should be avoided. Highly damaged plants should be completely eliminated.
Warning!    Witches’ broom is a threat
This is one of the most damaging cacao diseases and is caused by the fungus Moniliophthora perniciosa (formerly Crinipellis perniciosa). It attacks all cacao plants, causing abnormal growths and lesions on the shoots, branches, floral cushions and fruits. It also attacks nursery seedlings. Some of the symptoms on the fruits can be confused with moniliasis.
Witches’ broom is present in South America, some Caribbean countries and areas south of the Panama Canal, which means it is a permanent threat to Central American cacao plantations.
The early identification of witches’ broom is essential in order to alert the appropriate authorities and prevent the spread of this disease in the region. The fungus can propagate in any kind of tissue such as seeds, whole plants, twigs, fruits, etc.
How do we recognize witches’ broom?
Brooms on the floral cushions
Brooms and dry fruits
Green brooms on shoots
Small pink umbrellas appear on dead tissues and then turn brown as they form millions of spores underneath
Infection of the chocolate (Theobroma cacao) tree and pods by cacao pathogens Moniliophthora (Crinipellis) perniciosa and Moniliophthora roreri. a. Witches’ broom of plant stems caused by M. perniciosa infection. b. Chocolate pods and seeds infected with M. perniciosa. c, d. Frosty pod rot caused by M. roreri on pods and seeds.

Do not put your plantation or your country at risk.
Do not introduce cacao plants or any plant parts (fruits, seeds, twigs or buds)
from South America or any other affected country.

If you see any symptoms of witches’ broom on your plantation, do not move
any vegetative material and immediately contact officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Plant Protection Office, or other related institution.
Bibliography Capriles, L. Enfermedades del cacao en Venezuela. Fondo Nacional de cacao, Venezuela.
Hill, DS, and Waller, JM. 1988. Pests and diseases of tropical crops. Singapore, Longman. Porras U., VH. 1988. Enfermedades del cacao. La Lima, Honduras. FHIA: Serie Tecnología Comunicación y Desarrollo Fascículo
Rossman, A; Palm, M, and Spielman, LJ. 1990. A literature guide for the identification of plant pathogenic fungi. APS press, Minnesota, USA.
Wellman, FL. 1977. Dictionary of tropical crops and their diseases. New York, Scarecrow.
Wood, GR. 1982. Cacao. Translation from English by Antonio Marino, México, Continental.

dinsdag 25 oktober 2011

Cacao Diseases in Central America 4

The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) is a regional center dedicated to research and graduate education in agriculture and the management, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
Its members include the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Venezuela and Spain.
Source:  Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center, CATIE, 2009.

Diseases that mainly attack other parts of the plant
Phytophthora disease and trunk canker: (Phytophthora palmivora or P. capcisi)
diseases are caused by the same organisms that cause black pod

How do we recognize the disease?
Infected suckers (chupons), descending dieback in nursery plants.


How does phytophthora affect the plant?
a) It produces dieback (death) from the top to the bottom of the young shoots (suckers or chupons) of adult plants and nursery seedlings.
b) It causes canker on the trunk of adult trees, characterized by the appearance of circular lesions that are red in color when the bark is removed, and can eventually cause the death of the tree. Reddish-brown lesions appear on the roots and water and nutrient absorption are disrupted, which can also kill the tree.
How does it spread and what factors favor the disease?
The factors that favor the spread of the foliage damages are the same as those described for black fruit rot in cacao. Trunk canker usually occurs in waterlogged areas or during prolonged flooding.

How do we combat the disease?
In the nursery: reducing the level of moisture in the nursery and building raised beds covered by a layer of sand helps to mitigate the effects of the disease. During cool weather the seedlings can be protected by applying a copper-based fungicide weekly during periods of high humidity. Dead seedlings should be carefully eliminated.

In the field: suckers (chupons) should be eliminated periodically to prevent them from becoming infected and thereby becoming a source of contagion for other organs.
Proper construction and maintenance of the drainage ditches on the plantation helps prevent the appearance of trunk canker. When damage occurs, cut off all affected tissues and apply a tree-wound dressing to the cuts. 
Cacao tree with healthy pods on the left, and pods with black pod disease on the right.

Ceratocystis wilt (machete disease) Caused by the fungus Ceratocystis cacaofunesta  http://www.public.iastate.edu/~tcharrin/Cacao.html


How do we recognize the disease?
Sudden death of the tree with the leaves drooping down.
Dried leaves remain for a long period hanging on the tree.
Reddish lesions visible on the stem.
How does the disease affect cacao trees?
The fungus grows in the internal conducting tissues of the trunk and branches, blocking the flow of water and nutrients. The tree wilts and dies as a result. The disease occurs in a sporadic and dispersed manner on the plantation, but it can become a very serious problem when the planted materials are genetically uniform or when they are grafted onto rootstocks that are not resistant to soil-borne diseases.
How does it spread and what factors favor the disease?
The fungus produces most of its spores within the tree, especially in the galleries or tunnels made by barely visible Xyleborus beetles. The spores are disseminated by these beetles when they move from one tree to another, or by the wind, along with the wood dust and the feces of these and other perforating insects.

For an infection to occur, there must be wounds in the trunk and/or on the branches that are caused naturally or by the action of insects or tools such as machetes, shovels, pruning shears, etc.
Ceratocystis wilt of cacao, caused by a host-specialized form of the fungus, has been locally important in Latin America, where it is believed native and called mal de machete. Its importance in Brazil has been recognised increasingly since 1998 and has been associated elsewhere with drought, with South Bahia experiencing reduced rainfall in recent years. Xyleborus beetles are attracted to the diseased trees and bore into the branches. The frass from beetles is pushed to the outside of stems as a light, powder and contains viable inoculum of the fungus, which may be spread by wind or rainsplash.
How do we combat the disease?
A number of useful measures for preventing the appearance and spread of this disease include: disinfecting all work tools with a suitable product before using them; applying tree-wound dressing to the cuts and wounds on pruned trees; and avoid planting uniform material and grafting onto susceptible rootstocks.
Sick trees should be eliminated by burning or burying the residues. If a patch of affected trees is detected, follow the procedure indicated for controlling rosellinia (black root rot).

AnthracnoseColletotrichum gloeosporioides
Caused by the fungus
How do we recognize the disease?
Dry, brown spots with yellow edges that spread over the leaves and dry them.
Diseased fruits show signs of the fungus.
Seedling blight of cacao caused by P. megakarya
A dry broom formed from infection of an apical  vegetative bud by C. perniciosa
How does anthracnose affect the cacao tree?
It attacks the young shoots, leaves and stems that are most exposed to the sun, particularly those in the crown of the tree, which limits the development and production of the plants.
It causes dry lesions with yellow edges that normally spread from the edge to the center of the leaves, eventually damaging them completely, and then the leaves fall off, leaving the branches bare.
This stimulates the growth of new branches that are also infected, which finally take on the appearance of small brooms.
In the nursery it causes similar lesions and defoliation, as well as deep lesions on the stem.
The damage to the fruits is not economically significant and can be identified by the appearance of deep brown lesions on fruits of a certain age. White mycelia appear on the lesions, which turn pink when the fungus produces spores. The diseased fruits turn black and die.

How does it spread and what factors favor the disease?
The spores are produced on the stem and fruit lesions when conditions are humid.
They are disseminated by the wind, rain water or irrigation, insects and tools.
Infection of the foliage occurs during the rainy season and is propitiated by wounds caused by insects.

How do we combat the disease?
Adequate amounts of shade in the field (30%-50%) and shade in the nursery (50%-70%)prevents damage by anthracnose. Infections in the nursery can be reduced by building raised beds covered with a thick layer of sand or mulch* to avoid the splashing of rain water.
Diseased seedlings should be carefully eliminated and a copper-containing fungicide should be applied to the rest of the seedlings at the recommended dose and frequency. In adult plants diseased tissues should be pruned 10 cm below the affected area, applying tree-wound dressing to the thick stems and disinfecting the tools properly.
* Layer of decomposing vegetal residues

next and last episode: Other cacao diseases

maandag 24 oktober 2011

Cacao Diseases in Central America 3

The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) is a regional center dedicated to research and graduate education in agriculture and the management, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
Its members include the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Venezuela and Spain.
Source:  Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center, CATIE, 2009.
 
Recommended practices for controlling cacao fruit diseases
Practice: pruning to rehabilitate cacao trees at the end of the main harvest season.
What to do? When the plantation is very tall, very old or has been abandoned, heavy pruning is recommended to reduce the height of the cacao trees to 3 meters, eliminating low-growing and tangled branches.

Practice: Shade regulation, at the end of the main harvest season.
What to do?  Regulate the level of shade to 30% or 50% by pruning and cacao thinning nearby fruit or timber trees associated with the cacao. 

this one fruit of the cacao black pod disease.
 Practice: Maintenance pruning, at the end of the main harvest season.
What to do?  Cut cacao branches that are misshapen, very low or tangled
with other trees to allow light to penetrate, improve ventilation and reduce humidity.

Practice: Sucker removal, Simultaneous with harvests.
What to do? Cut off suckers (chupons) when they are still young.

Practice: Drainage management, during the dry season.
What to do? Build drains and keep them clean to avoid waterlogging.

Practice: Weeding, at least four times per year.
What to do? Eliminate weeds, particularly large-leaved and tall ones. Also
control weeds around the edges of the cacao plantation.

crop losses from pests and disease inflict $700 to $800 million in damages to farmers each year
Practice: Timely harvesting, every 15 days.
What to do? Harvest ripe fruits with a knife or scissors to avoid damaging
floral cushions. Do not allow fruits to overripen in the cacao plantation, as these will be attacked by phytophthora or eaten by animals.

Practice: Complete removal of fruits, every eight days during the period of fruit formation and growth. Every 15 days the rest of the year.
What to do? Before the rains begin and new fruits form, remove all diseased and healthy fruits left over from the previous production cycle. Gather them together in an open site and sprinkle them with lime or products high in nitrogen so that they will decompose more rapidly.

Practice: Removal of diseased fruits (sanitary harvest), every eight days during the period of fruit formation and growth. Every 15 days the rest of the year.What to do? Cut all diseased fruits or fruits during the early morning hours so that the spores do not dry off and detach. The cut fruits should be covered with leaf litter or piled up in open sites in the cacao plantation, sprinkled with lime or a solution of 15% urea in water and covered with plantain leaves.

Practice: Rational application of fungicides, during the first two months of
fruit formation.
What to do?  Make two monthly applications of copper oxide (e.g., Cobre Sandoz*) with up to 1% of the active ingredient + up to 0.1% Pegafix* with a motorized pump. Use 200-300 ml per tree, applying the product both to the fruits and the foliage.
*Remember that if your cacao plantation is organic, you should consult the technician before applying these products.

next time: Diseases that mainly attack other parts of the plant