Money doesn’t grow on trees, not in this economy. But chocolate does and Easter, Passover, and American Chocolate Week can be financially rewarding seasons for cocoa farmers and chocolate stock owners.
The thing is, Cocoa farmers can’t be found in the U.S. because the fruit tree that produces the cocoa bean, the cacao tree, only grows in remote tropical regions in Central and South America, Southeast Asia and West Africa.
In fact, chocolate is a prime crop in the Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) where 40 percent of the world’s chocolate is produced. West Africa may as well be called the Milky Way because the region has about 1.5 million chocolate farms.
The average cocoa farm in West Africa is seven to ten acres. Typical cocoa farming families in West Africa average eight people.
It certainly feels good to know that Africa’s a natural resource for one of the richest foods the world and not just its mineral diamonds, silver, copper and gold.
Chocolate is addictive. This is no longer a Snopes research question. University of Michigan researchers, after a study on lab mice, discovered that chocolate activates neurotransmitters in the brain that are responsible for addictive behaviors like drug addiction or binge eating. (Barry, Jezebel).
Interesting asides on chocolate:
*400 cocoa beans yield 16 oz or 1 pound of chocolate
*Chocolate farmers produce 3.8 million tons of cocoa beans per year
*New England’s first chocolate factory opened in 1765 by an Irish immigrant John Hammond and M.D. James Baker. They sold hard cakes of chocolate under the name Baker’s Chocolate and colonists ground and mixed it with boiled water to make hot chocolate.
*Domingo Ghirardelli sold his chocolate to Gold Rush Miners in 1849. A few years later, in 1852, his San Francisco factory opened and today, his company, The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is America’s oldest chocolate maker.
*Milton Hershey, however, made chocolate affordable. Hershey’s opened his Pennsylvania Chocolate Factory in 1905. He purchased equipment that mass produced chocolate bars at low prices after visiting the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.
(source: The Story of Chocolate)
Keep an eye on chocolate shares. Chocolate stocks just may be the money that grows on trees. Hershey, today opened at 83.44 with a high of 84.06 and a low of 83.32. Average volume on the Hershey trade totals 1,151,000.
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