While we’re on the subject of cocoa (see my previous post) I had an opportunity recently to photograph the work of Uganda’s first and only chocolate producer, Pink Foods Industries. While farmers have been cultivating cocoa in this East African nation for decades, Pink Foods is the first Ugandan company to process the beans into a finished consumer product. My client, Shared Interest, is financing the expansion of the company into a bigger processing center. As a fair trade ethical investment firm, Shared Interest was certainly more concerned with seeing the people behind the product, rather than the product itself.
Once these pods are harvested, they’re split open to reveal a white, sweet, fleshy fruit, delicious to the taste, enveloping the cocoa beans. Many farmers make a habit of savoring this fruit as they work. Once this sweet flesh is removed, the beans are spread out in the sun, fermented, roasted, and ground before a sweetener is added and the mixture is churned into liquid chocolate.
All photographs Copyright Jake Lyell Photography, LLC.