When it comes to sourcing high quality organic ingredients that enhance the taste and nutritional value of our products, like the raw organic cacao used in One Degree cereals and granolas, we never compromise.
Our latest travels took us to the San Martin region of Peru, an area renowned for having the best climate and soil for growing cacao. There we met and were impressed by Villa Andina farmers who are committed to cultivating organically and who have been doing so for generations.
Their deep-rooted respect for nature is inspiring. As one farmer explained: “I’ve been farming cacao all my life, just like my father. Now my sons carry on the tradition. It is part of our identity, our heritage. We manage the plants with care, from seeding to harvesting. It is where all the nutrition, taste and aromas are born.”
Plants are pruned by hand to ensure healthy growth, and insects and disease are controlled the natural way without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Farmers know the healthier the plant, the more cacao it will reap, which translates to greater profit and a sustainable livelihood for their families.
Beans are split by hand in the field and the seeds are taken to collection centers for drying and fermenting following organic protocols. Not only does the pure mountain air and low humidity facilitate the dehydration process, the cacao is essentially processed raw, at temperatures below 45ºC (110ºF), to preserve the bean’s natural health properties.
The cacao bean is full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, plus oleic acid, which is a heart-healthy essential monosaturated fat. Even minor changes in temperature can ruin the bean or its distinctive taste, which is why the temperature is continually monitored throughout the drying/fermenting process.
Once dry, the cacao is packaged and sent to a central warehouse where it is inspected, organized and shipped worldwide. Systems are in place from start to finish to ensure high product quality and consistency. And traceability is all-important. Every lot has a tag that tells you exactly where it was grown, as well as how, when and where it was harvested and processed.
Villa Andina was officially founded in 2007 and we are proud to partner with this forward-thinking company. Their goal is to be a leader in the sustainable production of top quality organic natural health food products that make a real contribution to improvement in the human diet.
We applaud their efforts and can attest that the raw organic cacao they produce enhances the taste and nutritional value of our granola and cereals. We hope you approve!