Freddy Salazar, the owner of Costa Esmeraldas, produces unique cocoa that we make into one of our best-selling bars. Located in the Esmeraldas Province of Ecuador, Costa Esmeraldas began as a very different farm when the Salazar family acquired it over a decade ago.
Freddy’s father purchased two properties on the northeastern side of the beautiful Esmeraldas coast. On formerly dry pastureland and wild forest inaccessible by any road (and not ideal for growing cacao), he and his family created a 10-hectare (25-acre) plantation and cocoa-processing facility. What began as a passion project for the Salazars has evolved into a thriving farm of over 330 hectares (about 850 acres), approximately a third of which is used for growing cacao.
While most cocoa produced on the farm (and what we buy) is from Neo-Nacional cultivars, the farm also cultivates CCN-51 pods as a cash crop, selling to the local bulk market. In addition, the farm produces bananas and citrus, and 50 hectares (124 acres) of land have been left as virgin forest, creating a thriving habitat for flora and fauna.