Maya Mountain Research Farm manages about 600 species of plants. As a farm, we have a broad diversity of plant and animal species we work with. Some of the plant species are medicinal or timber species. Others are for plants for domestic consumption. We do have several species that are both for domestic consumption and expressly for marketing.
One of the species we sell is cacao. MMRF has 15 acres of land managed as an agroforestry system that has reached the level of maturity that we can use the acreage as canopy for sub canopy species like cacao, coffee and cardamom. We market our cacao as either raw cacao, or processed into cacao balls, which we sell locally.
MMRF is a good place to learn about cacao. Our cacao is established in the context of a completely created agroforestry system, with multiple species, and our agroforestry system closely mimics the ecological functions of an intact ecosystem, with nutrient cycling, varied fruiting/flowers episodes, and a vertically integrated production model that resembles the arboreal architecture of the primary rainforest, though simplified and largely human centric in terms of species composition.
MMRF has a well established seed bank of rare and indigenous cacao. Except for some trials on a Nicaraguan heirloom criollo, and some Venezuelan cacao, all of our cacao originates in the Maya Mountains. Much of our cacao is criollo heavy trinitarios which were hybrid cacaos created in this watershed with the first colonization of the watershed by the first wave of Kekchi Maya migration, arriving here in around 1900. The cacao that the Kekchi brought in with them was already a criollo heavy trinitario, with a minimum %75 criollo parentage. A percentage of it was crossed with pure criollo cacao that was encountered here, creating cacao that is almost pure criollo. It is a very robust and productive cacao that yields superior cacao beans for chocolate.