It's been non-stop activities every day, but it is really nice to see the energy and enthusiasm everyone has about learning new things. A lot of staff turned out to visit the cacao farms in Waialua. It's like my backyard. We went by the old sugar mill quite a bit when I was growing up, either going to Kaena Point, Mokuleia Beach or to the ballpark right across from the mill. Time is moving on. I have been to the fields many times, even worked at Dole picking pine forty years ago, but it's like coming home to me. I always feel grounded going out to that side of the island.
Almost ten years ago we were the first to use the Waialua chocolate. We got to taste and work with it, returning it back to David Murdock (who owns the land) in the form of truffles and candies. Now we serve the chocolate in our restaurants. Not only is it locally-grown and tastes good, but we are giving a local business a better chance to survive and grow into a bigger one by endorsing it. Former sugar and pineapple fields have been displaced, but now we have more crops to cook with, and a town still lives on in agriculture.
A canopy of cacao trees under the Waianae range.
Cacao pods on a tree. They have three varieties: trinitario, forestario, and criollo.
Pierson holding a bag of coffee.
Drying the cacao beans.
Fermenting the cacao beans.