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New Member Highlight: The Chocolate Farm
“We have the first organic cacao farm in the country,” says Nathan “Nate” Sisler, owner of The Chocolate Farm, based here in Waialua. Nate has been developing his 14-acre farm in Waialua for the last three years and production will be starting in 2019. He has done intense research and trials to propagate exceptional cacao plants and explains: “Here in Hawaii quality cacao genetics are nearly impossible to get in numbers required for an orchard unless you have big capital. The high prices of land, infrastructure and trees made it economical to open our own tree nursery to produce exceptional genetics for a fraction of the cost. These genetics are critical for high quality chocolate production and will assist solidifying Waialua as the best chocolate in the world.” Nate will be partnering with master chocolatiers on island to include, Nat Bletter, from Madre Chocolate, to create only the finest Hawaiian chocolate.
As The Chocolate Farm grew so did the need for more fruit trees. In the past year, Nate’s tree nursery has tripled in sized to support Waialua farmers with affordable plant stock and now has his trees in Home Depot. Through this effort he hopes to produce not only better cacao genetics but new hybrids of lychee and avocado. What started off as a dream is now a successful small business within our community.
Ten years ago, Nate and his wife, Cortney, moved to the island for a position with the State of Hawaii. They took a leap of faith moving here with only each other, a dream, passion and hardwork. “ Nate refers this to sweat equity,” says Cortney. Both grew up in rural parts of the mainland and found the people and country lifestyle of Waialua to be home. Growing up farming, they only dreamed of having a place which had 365 growing seasons; and today they find themselves going above their own expectations, as a part of the future of Waialua agriculture. With their two wonderful daughters, Nate and Cortney hope to one day pass The Chocolate Farm’s dream to another generation.