Now that we’d seen the capital, it was time to go to the farm and see the cacao. To get there, we flew from Tana to Nosy Be (nosy means island and be means big in Malagasy) and then took a cab from the airport to the port in Hell-ville. From there, we took a small boat to Ankify back on the mainland, where Ivan, the farm manager, picked us up in his truck.
During the cab ride from airport (and after the driver fixed a flat tire), we saw the guy below crossing the road. He was nice enough to hold this pose while we gave him the full paparazzi treatment.
As cool as chameleons are, it was the cacao that had started the whole trip:
As we were looking at all the pods, Bertil pulled out two that made it really easy to distinguish between unripe beans and ripe ones:
The top beans are firm and tightly packed, indicating they’re not ripe yet. The bottom ones, in contrast, are softer and looser so you know they’re ripe. We spent more than half the day traveling all over the farm and looking at different parts of the cacao growing and harvesting process. We spent the other part of the day looking at what happens after the fresh beans are collected, but I’ll leave that for another post.
If you want to see more pictures of the trip, check out our Facebook page.