Make $20k a Year for Life & Save the Forest by Growing Chocolate in the USA


Alright this is John Kohler with GrowingYourGreens.com. Today I have another exciting episode for
ya, and I’m here on vacation in Puerto Rico and today I’m visiting a farm. And this is unlike any farm that I’ve visited
previously, through all my over twelve hundred videos when I visited farms. This is a quite unique farm, and it’s actually
behind the gate right there and for those of you guys that don’t know Spanish, it
says, “No Entre.” That means basically do not enter and it says
uh, “Propriedad Privada.” It means private property, do not enter. Anyways, um this is actually going down a
slope, so if I move down, you can see I’m getting smaller and smaller. That’s cause this is a slope, but the camera
can’t pick it up. One of these days I’ll get a 3D camera or
something, uh, but yeah, this is down a slope and it actually goes down a hill. So this farm is actually, literally in like
valleys and there’s like a nice river running through it, literally. It’s in a valley, and uh, there’s all
these big huge trees around me. I mean literally, the farm that I’m gonna
show you guys today is actually in the forest and this is a forest farm or an agroforestry
farm, and I believe this is the future of farming and we need to be working more with
nature like this farm that we’re visiting today. Again, instead of against it, you know, most
farms would see, would want to make a farm here on this beautiful land, and they would
take bulldozers and they’d bulldoze everything. They’d probably terrorize everything. They’d open it up and when they’d open
it up right. They’d start ruining things. They’d ruin all the trees. All the plants here, right. They’d be gone, cause they’d basically
decimate them all, right. Consequently, when all the trees and all the
plants get decimated, what happens to all the animals, the wildlife, the birds, the
bees, right? You hear all the creatures? There’s croaky frogs, there’s um birds
I can hear in the background. You guys can probably hear them, too. What happens to all those, when those guys,
when all the their, all their food sources go away. Right? They go away, too, and there’s endangered
species in the planet that we’re losing all the time, and whether that’s, we think
of endangered species, we think of like animals or panda bears or, you know, spotted tigers
or leopards, but there’s other endangered plants. Right? All over the world that are disappearing at
alarming rates due to man, you know, basically clear cutting things and growing corn and
soy and oil palm trees and all these things, and this is not really the future, in my opinion
or for a, uh, a sustainable future that’s not what we need to be doing. What we really need to be doing is what the
farm today, the Jeanmarie Chocolat Farm is doing in an agro, agroforestry approach. Literally in this valley here which they own
seventy some odd acres. Uh, and just they bought this two years ago
and they have approximately 35 acres under production as of present time after only two
years all on slopes. Right? They have it planted out and in, um, going
into full production. Full production is gonna be reached in maybe,
um uh, depending on what part of the farm, but the ones they planted out early will be
reached in a year and a half, two years more. And they’re gonna be full production of
cacao, but they also grow many other crops that I hope to show you guys. And the reason why this is important is because
we can not only make a living for ourselves, not only help the old school trees and endangered
plants and trees and wildlife, but at the same time we can make a living. And provide a service and provide food for
other people and other creatures on the planet, and we can all do this at the same time. So this is like the synergistic affect, and
you know, unfortunately most farms and gardens basically do the clear cut method, and it’s
not totally sustainable. This is actually even beyond sustainable because
it’s regenerative. It’s basically helping the land regenerate
itself, and also you’re loo. You’re using, not losing, the, um, potential
of the rich fertile ground, right. If they clear cut this forest and they started
planting corn or, you know, soy beans, or oil palm trees, or sugar cane, whatever. Maybe the first year, maybe the first two
years you would get amazing harvest because the soil’s really rich, but as you’re
growing the crops in the ground, the plants are pulling nutrients out and at some point
the plants are going to pull all the nutrients out and then you’re gonna be left with literally
sand. You know, the soil will not have any life
and that’s when you come and you gotta use the chemical fertilizers and now you gotta
use the chemical pesticide because now you’re getting, um you know, bugs, and pests and
disease because the plants don’t have all the nutrition they need and plus you removed
all the different native plants that attract the beneficial insects that, you know, eat
the bad insects when they come to your crops. Right? So we’re really disturbing a lot of systems
and the reason why I really wanted to bring this episode to you guys today is because
really they’re working with nature and uh, you know, allowing the ecosystems to work,
uh, together, uh, for their benefit. Anyways, let’s go ahead into the, uh, farm. I gotta head down, open up this gate, and
show you guys around a little bit. Alright, so now about to enter the farm and
here’s the thing. Like, actually I was at the farmers market
today in Rincon and actually I bought some cacao from the farmer here and then actually
a viewer, one of my viewers actually came up to me and started talking about my program
and say, “Hey John. I watch you.” And all this kind of stuff. And then one of the other guys said, “Hey,
what kind of program do you have?” And then I explained to the farmer like what
I do, like hey I have a lot of videos on Youtube, over two-hundred videos, over four-hundred-fifteen
thousand people that are following me, over nearly sixty million views amongst all of
my videos. And then he started telling me about his project
and then I’m like, you know what, after hearing about his project, what do, what do
you want us to do, which I’ll share with you guys. You know, I said I had to come down here and
film this. I mean number one, just cause he’s really
restoring and making the land better, improving it, but also creating income for himself and
his family, but in addition, he wants to literally spawn a whole industry here on Puerto Rico. Many of you guys may not know that, you know,
Puerto Rico, uh, you know, back in I don’t know, the thirties, forties, fifties, you
know, they were strong producers of agricultural products. Right, and then what happened is, manufacturing
jobs came and companies came because the US government enacted laws that basically said
if you have a company in Puerto Rico you don’t have to pay all these different taxes. But then, uh, you know, so then people would
leave the farms and then come in to manufacturing jobs, right, and that went really well for
a long time until about 1990 when, you know, there was a law enacted that basically put
taxes back on some of the big manufacturing companies and things. And they’re like well hey man, if we gotta
start paying taxes and we have to pay to ship our products from Puerto Rico to the United
States, which is either a plane or a boat ride, we’re not gonna do that. And they basically packed up out of Puerto
Rico so Puerto Rico has been in some, um, financial challenges as of late. And, you know, I heard there’s a statistic
of like two-hundred some odd Puerto Ricans basically leave Puerto Rico and basically
go to the US. And before I go any further I want to explain
to you guys. A lot of you guys maybe live in the US, maybe
you’ve never heard of Puerto Rico, been to Puerto Rico, or anything. Here’s the thing, Puerto Rico is a territory
of the United States, so it’s not like it’s a state where the people here have voting
rights to vote for the president, but it’s a territory, so you know I can come here to
Puerto Rico on a plane with no passport or anything, you know. As an American citizen, I could buy land here
and likewise, people who are Puerto Ricans can go to the US. They are also US citizens, and they can also
own land in America, right, and buy land and settle and many of them are because there’s
not the economic opp, opportunity here in Puerto Rico anymore, and that’s what the
owner of this farm wants to change. He wants to bring back farming, uh, to Puerto
Rico, and specifically certain crops that he’s identified that are really good for
the economy and can be easily grown here and that can be grown better and done better here
in Puerto Rico than other places, you know, in the US. You know, the cacao grown here in Puerto Rico,
uh, due to certain reasons, is actually better than the cacao grown in Hawaii, but also even
better than some other places in the world because they have selected varieties and what
really got me here is because I know a lot of you guys are looking to get a farming job,
looking to create an income by growing certain crops. And here’s the statistics, right. On one acre of forested land, you could grow,
depending on the land, um, from eight hundred to a thousand cacao, uh, trees, and then after
about three and a half years when you’re in full production that land, that one acre
will make you approximately fifteen thousand to twenty thousand dollars a year. Right, every year, and here’s the think
about cacao. Unlike, you know, apples, right, if you plant
an orchard of apples, the apples basically, they come one time of the year. You have your apple harvest, then you gotta
deal with all these apples, sell them, turn them into juice, whatever, put them in cold
storage so they’ll last a year. The cacao basically you harvest it every month. It’s always putting on flowers and fruit
and with different varieties, you could be harvesting twelve months out of the year. So you’re always working, so you’re always
having workers on your farm taking care of the trees, pruning and harvesting and all
these things. Whereas like when you have apple farms, apple
trees, you gotta bring in all the workers at once to work and then basically for, you
know, eleven months out of the year they’re doing nothing. So, you know, this is a great economic benefit,
uh, for Puerto Rico, the farmers, and possibly you, if you want to come here as an American
and buy land. That’s the other thing. You know, this, uh, seventy, over seventy
acre property, approximately, you know, and depends where in Puerto Rico you buy. Could be three thousand to five thousand dollars
in acre or even less in some areas. So property here is really inexpensive plus
this is the beautiful tropics. Anyways, the suns going down. I gotta get in here to show you guys some
stuff before it actually gets too dark. Alright so now I thought I’d take you guys
in the farm with me real quick, and I don’t know if you guys can see, but I’m basically
walking down this big road, goes all the way down, and uh, drove in the truck there, but
if we look around in the forest, I mean basically we just see all these plants. Now this is the entryway, uh, this forest
or this area was formally used as a coffee plantation back in the 1950s, and it was only
accessed actually through donkeys and horses, so there was no roads through here. You know, they did come in and put in some
roads so they can have some access. Nowadays, just a main road, but basically
this whole farm is worked with no machinery, only hand tools, and uh, along the road here
they put lots of different crops. Uh, they’ve got coconuts, uh, bananas, as
well as just some of the old school trees. Let me go ahead and turn around here for you
guys. I don’t know if you guys can see that, but
now I’m standing on the edge basically of a drop off, and this is like a cliff, and
if I kind of shine the camera up. I don’t know if you guys can see that all
the way behind me. Right, it just basically goes down and down
and down, and if I show you guys all the way down you can maybe see a little stream down
there at the bottom. It’s kind of hard to see. It’s getting a little bit late, but, uh,
if you guys look closely, down behind me, you guys can closely see, uh, different kinds
of trees, so there’s some cacao trees. Those are the ones with the long skinny leaves
and even the longer skinnier leaves are bananas. So they interplanted cacao and bananas and
have a lot of other things growing, but, you know, on this farm unlike many farms that
I’ve visited, you guys can see like all the old school trees, like look at all those
big trees behind me. Right, and they go up and up and they’re
huge. They didn’t like just come in and clear
cut the whole are, right. They removed select trees just so they can
plant their cacao and you know, cacao, they don’t like full sun. They like some indirect shade. They left some mango trees and some other,
you know, hardwood trees and other beneficial trees. Some rare and endangered trees they left,
but they cleared out some just so they can get their crop in here, right. So they’re working more with nature instead
of against it. Uh, let’s go ahead and continue down into
the farm and, uh, share with you guys more about the cacao they’re growing here. So this is what we’re looking at here. This is probably one of the main focuses of
the land here is the cacao, but of course besides cacao they’re growing things like
bananas right behind me there as well as other tropical fruits, and pumpkins, and other crops
you know down on the ground in an agroforestry type situation. So really, they’re not clear cutting the
land. They’re leaving most of the growth here. They’re not doing like weeding and stuff
and the cool thing about the cacao is, if you guys look at this tree, it’s not very
old, but the leaves are really filling in really tight. So the cool thing about cacao is because basically
is creates a lot of shade underneath it so you’re not gonna have the problems with,
you know, weeding and things underneath a cacao because it basically shades out everything
once it’s fully grown and fully established. And likewise, on the cacao, you know, the
cacao market is big, if you’ve ever had chocolate. I mean every supermarket has chocolate bars. They gotta get that chocolate or cacao from
somewhere. Basically, cacao is the fruit and then once
its processed, its turned into chocolate. I mean, that’s, uh, the short version of
it, but there’s many different kinds of chocolate. I mean, you could go and buy one of those
expensive chocolate bars or, you could go buy, you know, a chocolate bar for fifty cents,
and the quality can vary widely, and actually literally today I got a schooling in cacao
or chocolate. And I mean I’m gonna try to sum this up
for you guys real quick. There’s three main varieties of the cacao,
right. There’s a Criollo, uh, lets see, there’s
a Foresto, Forest, Foresto, or something like that, and then there’s a Trinitago. Anyways, uh, each variety has certain characteristics,
like one variety is kind of like weak growing trees, but they, the chocolate tastes really
good. One kind of tree are actually really vigorous
trees; the pods are bigger. They yield more. Uh um, maybe the chocolate quality doesn’t
taste so good, and the other variety is kind of a cross between the two that happened in
Trinidad and Tobago, and uh, you know, that’s kind of a cross. You’ve got nice hearty trees with uh medium
size pods that have good yields that actually also, uh, taste better, and anyways. Along the ways they’ve actually selected
about ten varieties, maybe up to twenty, uh, that grow really well here in Puerto Rico
and also have special flavors and uh produce well. Right, cause even if a variety tastes good,
if it doesn’t produce well, and is not financially viable, they’re not gonna grow it here and
it’s not a variety, uh, there gonna basically be putting out to farmers, and so they found
the best varieties that grow the best, and the whole model of the business here at Jeanmarie
Chocolate Farm or Jeanmarie Chocolate is to basically help other people start chocolate
farms, right. Whether that’s individuals like you or me. You know, you could buy the cloned trees,
grafted trees from them. They’re about six dollars each and you could
plant out your property, and basically they will guarantee that they will buy all the
cacao or chocolate from you, you know, once you’re producing the cacao. So this is an amazing veggie. You don’t have to grow chocolate, go to
the farmer’s market and hope a couple tourists buy the cacao from you and one of the cool
things about, I like about Puerto Rico actually the reason for my trip, uh, this time is actually
I’ve been looking at land. I’ve been driving around for a while for
almost a week now looking for some property myself to buy and I’m not sure if it’s
gonna happen or not yet but it’s a high probability because, uh, land prices are really
inexpensive. The people are super friendly here in Puerto
Rico. It’s part of the United States so you need
no passports, so you know, it’s a quite safe and stable unlike many other, you know,
South American countries that you may want to move to. In addition, unlike Hawaii which is also the
tropics, I like the Puerto Rico because, you know, in Hawaii basically there’s very few
fruits that you can actually ship back to the mainland. I think papaya and pineapple, but in Puerto
Rico the USDA actually has, uh, a approved list of things you can take back or ship back
to the states. You know, including cacao, including bananas,
including avocados, including, you know, certain other things and this makes it much easier
to do business when you can ship fresh fruits, but of course most of the cacao that’s being
shipped off island has been processed because cacao has a very short shelf life. You know, within about five days after harvest
it starts to ferment inside and actually starts to sprout. The seeds start to sprout and the flavor changes
a lot. The fruit pulp around the seeds starts to
break down and then you really wouldn’t want to eat it so much, but anyways, for these
reasons, I really like, uh, Puerto Rico and that’s why I’m, you know, potentially
here looking for some farmland to buy and invest in myself. Anyways, actually, I wanna show you guys like
one more part of the farm before I want to take you guys into the nursery and show you
and talk to guys more about the special variety cacao trees that they’re growing here. So as you guys can see behind me basically
we’re on like a slope. It actually it slopes down so I’ve got my
foot there so I don’t slide down the hill. Um, one of the really cool things here is
that you know all the trees and the big forest trees above drop all their leaves, they come
down and they hit the ground and they’re all like right in here and they’re all sitting
in place and composting down, right. They don’t got any compost bins here, right. They just let the forest do all the work and,
likewise, right where the camera is placed on the tripod. You know, some of the wood fell over and they
cut some trees down and they just laid it down right here, because it rains so much,
it’s so humid. The wood’s breaking down, the fungus is
coming in through the wood, it’s just feasting, it’s making the fungal dominated compost
right there. We’ve got the bacterial based leaf mold
going on right here. There’s so much happening to continually
rebuild the soil in this, uh, forest system, right. They don’t got any compost bins, yeah, give
me a break, right. That’s what we’ve gotta do cause we don’t
have forest systems where we’re growing our gardens, but this is like the ultimate,
oh my god, if you guys could see behind the camera. I’ll turn the camera around for a shot. I don’t know if you can pick it up, but
it’s just so beautiful all the big huge trees, and the river down below, if you listen
carefully if I stop talking for a minute, you can hear the water down below, which is
actually, uh, bringing some humidity here to the area and to the cacao that loves the
humidity, but anyways this little cacao here you guys can see and there’s some behind
me that are maybe only about three feet tall, but these grew, uh, to three feet tall within
just six months of being transplanted in. These guys are really fast growers, and within
about three and a half years you’re in full production, and in about one and a half years,
you start getting production of the cacao. And the cool thing about the cacao, right,
this, if you start a cacao farm, this is a farm you’ll be giving to your grandkids,
your great-grandkids, your great-great-grandkids, right. Uh, cacao trees can be productive forty to
one-hundred years. And as you lose trees due to age, due to whatever. You just replace them with new trees, but
you’ll always have a continual production cycle. And in the world, you know, they’re constantly
losing cacao trees and meanwhile we need new people, new farmers, hopefully one of you
guys out there watching, to start new farms to keep the cacao growing. Uh, as well as, uh, not just cacao, but intermixed
with many different crops that have, uh, uses. Whether they’re ethnobotanical crops or
herbs, you know, creeping ground cover. Um, you know, so many crops in the forest
are useful to man and its quite unfortunate that, you know, we’re using just a small
variety of the plants here on the planet that have uses for us and in our forest system,
literally. You’re literally unlimited. Anyways, I want to turn the camera around
before it gets too dark to show you guys just actually the beauty of this forest. I’d love to have a farm like this. Of course, I’d like to have areas also with
my vegetable garden, but in this type system, you now, I would surely be growing many of
my tropical perennial leafy green vegetables, such as kanuk, katuk, okinawa spinach, um,
longevity spinach, and so many other things as well. And then I’d plus I’d learn about all
the new different foods that’s growing in this ecosystem that’d be useful to me and
also edible. So this is the shot that I want to show you
guys actually before we head in cause it’s getting kind of dark here, but look at that
behind me. I mean this is what this farm looks like,
right. It’s not like monoculture with all these
trees. Or it’s not even like a permaculture system
that you’ve kind of artificially created. I mean, this is the forest and they’re literally
planting their form within the forest. I mean, this to me is like the ultimate, and
look behind me there just all the old school trees, super tall and if you look closely,
I mean this is HD, you look closely because there’s rivers down at the bottom, you know,
that’s causing the humidity to come up, and if you look there’s like fog just hovering
right over the top of the trees, right, to add the humidity layer for the different,
uh, plants in the area that really love it. I mean, this is just so amazing, so beautiful. I wish I got here earlier in the day to explore
more parts of the farm. Unfortunately it’s getting quite dark. We might check out one more place an, but,
uh, but the next thing I think I’m gonna do is actually head in to the nursery and
then maybe learn, teach you guys more about the cacao, the chocolate, and the, uh, uh,
good fermented chocolate, bad fermented chocolate, and then we’re gonna actually interview
the farmer here who is also himself a chocolatier. So now I thought I’d share with you guys
actually the, uh, cacao nursery here where they actually, um, grow from seed all their
different baby cacao trees, and then they grow for about three months and then they
get about this, about a foot and a half tall, and then what they do is they grab their special
variety. So in present time they have like ten different
special varieties and I wanna show you guys this one right here. Uh, this is just an example of one of the
varieties. This is, uh, known as the GM3 variety that
they’re grafting here and they’ve actually had quite unique graft. I’ll show you guys this up close actually
check it out. You see the graft right here. I’ve never seen a graft like this. Actually this is a 360 degree graft where
actually they remove, uh, some of the bark actually so that the, the new grafted material
forms new bark so it must be accepted onto the original root stalk, which is kind of
amazing. You know, so with this you’re gonna get,
have higher levels of success with the trees here instead of, you know, other types of
grafts that don’t have the 360 and it looks like these guys are filling in really nice. Once they graft here, and they use of course
the paraffin uh tape or parafilm tape and uh what happens is they grow them here for
even a month and a half after they graft, just to make sure it, it is accepted and to
make sure that the farmer or the person who buys these trees will have success in their
farm cause it’s no use in buying a tree that wasn’t properly grafted that will fail
and then you don’t get the economic value out of them. The other thing is that they select very selected
varieties of cacao trees to graft. And for example, this one, um, is a special
variety. Number one, it is actually quite productive. So to be considered productive as a cacao
tree, the cacao tree needs to produce seventy pods a year. This one on average will produce around a
hundred pods a year. So this is like twenty, twenty-five percent
more productive than just an average, uh, cacao tree. So that means you’re gonna make a higher
yield which means, you know, more money for you on the same amount of space. Um, in addition, this one has unique flavors,
right. So this one has more floral overtones but
a nice dee, deep and rich, uh, cacao notes or chocolate notes which are very important
to some chocolatiers. And so they have ten different kinds that
have unique different, uh, tastes and notes, and but they’re all really productive. So yeah, lots of them here, uh, over a thousand
ready to go out to new farmers and maybe even you if you wanna buy some land here in Puerto
Rico and grow some cacao trees. I think the next thing I want to do is actually
I want to get out from outside because it’s actually quite dark now. You can hear the Coqui frogs. They’re competing with me. I think I’m louder than them, and uh, we’re
gonna go ahead and talk more about the cacao, the pods, and some of chocolate, and uh, so
you guys can learn about cacao. Cause most people just know chocolate as a
chocolate bars, but you know, cacao is, uh, much more than just chocolate bars. So now, I wanted to give you guys actually
a quick lesson on cacao and the chocolate that’s growing here. Unfortunately, I didn’t, I didn’t even
get to show you guys any full size trees with actual pods on it. I saw plenty on my trip here today, but it
just got so dark so quickly here, and so, sorry about that, but what I, what I can show
you guys are the cacao pods. This is the fruit that houses the little cacao
beans that is then turned into chocolate and chocolate bars. And as you guys learned in this episode, there’s
many different, uh, varieties of chocolate, but there’s three main types. And I have, I’m glad to have the three main
types here to share this with you guys, alright. So let’s talk about the two original types,
right. So this one right here called the Criollo,
Crio, Criollo is, uh, kind of like smaller, doesn’t have a whole lot of seeds per pod. They’re kind of like rough and it kind of
comes to a point right, right like you wanna jab somebody, right. Anyways, that’s how it looks right there
and this variety actually has white seeds on the inside which I’ll show you guys in
a minute. The next kind is known as the Forastero and
this kind, if you look at it, its more kind of rounded, right, and it’s kind of more
smooth like a watermelon. Look at it, see the difference on that, big
difference. Unfortunately, you know, uh, most people will
grow this variety, because this variety will yield more because the pods are larger, but
also they’re more, uh, tolerant of weather, disease, and pests and whatnot. But if, so, you know, many plantations across
the world including like in places like Africa where they planted, you know, lots of cacao,
um, they grow this kind, which is actually, unfortunately, not the best kind of flavor,
right. So this one unfortunately has good flavor,
but it’s so small it doesn’t, that it’s not as productive, right. So how can you get the best of both worlds,
well that’s when this one and this one basically had sex so they cross pollinated and they
made this one, which is the Trinitario and this is kind of a cross. So you can see it’s a cross between both
these guys, right, it kind of has a point on it. It’s not super like, you know, soft like
this. It kind of has some ribbing to it. Kind of like this one, but it’s a cross
in between it. Actually this happens to be the exact one
I was showing you guys in the nursery. The GM3, so this is the cross between these
two with the best of both worlds. Its disease resistant, gonna grow well for
you, gonna grow high quantity, uh you know, nice sized pods, but more importantly the
best flavor, right. So um yeah, so once you guys harvest the pods
which I did say, you know, they do every month, so you always have cash coming in. It’s not like, oh we’re harvesting, you
know, in September every year. Always something to harvest, always something
to do on the farm. So you’re gonna be employing, you know,
people year round and actu, actually this farm they employ like a handful of people
year round to continually maintain the trees, plant new trees, build new buildings, and
all this kind of stuff. So anyways, let’s go ahead and cut one of
these open for ya. I think I’ll start with the more common
type first. And unfortunately, you know, when you buy
cacao or chocolate bars, they don’t necessarily tell you the variety it is. So I want you guys to support companies that
will tell you the specific variety. I know when you by raw cacao beans in many
cases, they’ll say oh we’re selling the Criollo variety or whatever. Anyways, to open these guys up, it can be
a little bit dangerous so be careful. What we’re gonna do is we’re gonna take
a nice knife here and we’re just gonna take it and just chop it in. And then we’re gonna rotate. We don’t wanna cut all the way through cause
we’re gonna damage the uh important beans inside there and when they open here on the
farm, they take special care to open each and every one properly. You know, kind of like this and as you’re
rotating it around, you don’t want to go too far. You kind of like wiggle the knife back and
forth to kind of crack it open. Oops I kind of went too far and basically
what happens is you can open it up and look at that. Beautiful on the inside, right. We’re gonna go ahead and take this guy out. And there we go. So the cool thing about the farm here is that,
you know, they just don’t want to use only the beans which is what’s normally used. They want to try to use all the different
parts of the cacao, right. 80% of the weight of the cacao is in the shell
here, whatever you want to call it, and it’s usually just discarded. Hopefully most farms would be throwing it
back into the land, composting it and actually rebuilding their soil, but there are many
other uses of the shell here. Like this is actually high in pentin. So the pentin can be extracted out of this
as many other ingredients that they’re actually researching here to make the best and most
use of all the resources of the cacao. Likewise, if you guys look inside here, you
know, here’s a little, uh, cacao beans, but around the beans is like this white stuff. And the white stuff is actually known as the
cacao fruit, which unfortunately most of you guys will never get to taste unless you are
holding a cacao pod in your hand like I am. It’s quite rare that they actually, um,
sell the beans with the fruit dried on or just the fruit alone. You know, I think they should just have a
cacao fruit and you could just buy the, the fruit pulp, either dried or even better probably
freeze dried so it preserve longer, preserve more of the flavors and antioxidants and nutrients
in the fruit. Anways, I’m gonna try this for you guys. Let’s go ahead and see if I can, uh, pull
out one here. So around it you guys can see its all like
light and ooey and gooey. So what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna put
it in my mouth. I’m sucking off the fruit. It’s a tad bit sweet. I mean, wow, kinda tastes florally. Reminds me like a little bit like uh eating
uh, maybe like a liche cause it’s like kind of slippery but there’s not a lot of fruit
on here. Most of this stuff is actually the seed. So, uh, yeah this is a Forestero. We’re gonna go ahead and I tried to get
a lot of the fruit pulp out. We’re gonna go ahead and cut this in half
now for you guys. And if we cut this in half, inside the, uh,
bean is actually not gonna be the brown color that you guys are used to, but if you can
see that on the camera. It’s actually a little bit purple on the
inside. So uh, these make the purple. Um, and that’s when they’re fresh, but
once they’re properly, uh, fermented they turn the chocolate brown color that you know
and love, and unfortunately I didn’t get time or have time today to show you guys their
whole intricate fermentation process because it is very important process of making high
quality cacao like they do here. You know, they take special steps to ensure
that they get proper fermentation and with the steps and an amazing climate here in Puerto
Rico, they get 90% fermentation. So that means that 90% of these fermented
beans in here were properly fermented. 10% were not. Unfortunately the industry standard is 80%
and when this happens, when you have 20% of the beans that were not fermented they taste
more bitter. This throws off the, the, quality of the cacao
the chocolate that is being made so I am glad that they are able to do that. And I mean, just picking up a handful of these,
uh you know, fermented beans here I can see that most of these guys have been properly
fermented. You might find the rare one that didn’t
and the way you’ll know is like if they’re properly fermented the embryo on the inside
is basically a hollow, so the seed that we break it open is gonna be, um, hollow on the
inside. Like for this one. Let’s go ahead and cut this one open for
you guys. Alright yeah, so on this one if you guys look
in the middle of that, you guys probably can’t see that on HD, but in the middle it’s totally
hollow. So this is a well fermented bean. Lets see, oh, this guy, this guys a little
bit flat. Lets go ahead and open this guy up. Yeah on this guy it’s like, uh you know,
it’s not hollow, so inside this is maybe like not fermented, but that out of all this
whole bunch here, like this one was the only one that wasn’t properly fermented. So yeah the fermentation process is critical
and due to the climate and the weather here and the process that they figured out here,
they get good fermentation. Uh, let’s see, next I want to go ahead and
open the Criollo for you, variety. Once again be very careful with the knife. I feel like this is a little bit softer to
cut into, so we’re just gonna rotate it all the way around and then we’re just gonna
go ahead and, uh, kinda wiggle it back and forth and it basically just breaks open nice
and easily. And we’re gonna go ahead and open this guy
up for you guys. Alright. Look at that. That’s is what it looks like, a hollow shell. And right here are the little bean pods right
here with the fruit around it. There’s not a lot of fruit on the cacao. I’ll try this one. That one to me, actually tastes a lot better
than the other one. The other one was kinda neutral flavor. This one actually has a much more stronger
flavor. There’s not a lot of fruit meat and its
not like super sweet, but it’s really flavorful. And I really look forward to the day that
they do a lot more research, you know, about the on the qualities vitamins and minerals
and especially the antioxidants of the fruits. And we were able to buy like maybe fruit powders
of the cacao. I think that’d be amazing. Let’s spit that out and now when I cut this
actually, uh, little seed for you guys in half. Wow check this out alright. Inside this seed it’s actually white. So the Criollos are white inside. This is actually quite rare. Now this is not where they get white chocolate
from. Because when these are actually properly fermented
they actually turn a light brown color versus like a dark brown color and so I remind you
guys, uh, this is what, uh, a more sterile, whoops, if I can hold this without it going
out of my hands. It looks like it’s a lot darker. Alright so now we’re gonna open up their
very special, uh, Traditario variety here that GM3 that they grow here. And let’s see what it looks like on the
inside of this guy. So once again this is a nice large pod, you
know uh, more beans than the last variety we opened. In addition this is a more productive tree. So, you know, this is the kind of crop I think
you guys should grow whether you’re growing cacao or other crops, you know, a crop that
really yields well that has superior flavor and taste and other traits that you want. So like for example like, I like to grow purple
carrots instead of the standard orange character cause they’re a lot more higher in nutrition. But yeah, this one, especially for chocolatiers
it has a better flavor note and it’s actually quite productive. Alright so opening this up, lets see, rock
it back and forth a little bit and there we go. So I’m gonna open this for you guys. This is like a Pac-man do do do do do do do
do, alright, open this guy up. Alright wow this comes off quite nice and
easily. And, uh, here it is, lots of beans in there. This one has, you know, a good amount of pulp. Let’s go ahead and, uh, pick a bean out
and let me go ahead and taste the fruit off this little bean here. Wow, so this one, kind of like the last one
I just opened actually, has a lot better flavor than the first one that I opened which was
kinda like really mellow. It’s kinda like really fruity, so this might
be an indicator of like what the seed on the inside tastes like. I’m just trying to scrape off all the fruit
with my teeth here, little bit difficult. I wish they had a lot more, uh, cacao fruit
around the seed, actually I think I like the cacao fruit itself actually more than the
dried seeds. But you just can’t get it in the quantity
and it would take you a long time to eat this stuff. Alright, so here’s the seed on this guy
and let’s go ahead and cut this guy in half. Alright so we cut this guy in half, that’s
what this guy looks like, and comparing it to the first variety, the Forestero, you know,
it’s actually, wow check it out, it’s actually a little bit lighter. So this is kinda like a cross. One’s white, one’s like dark or purple,
and the last one’s kinda like in between. So it’s an in between color. Really cool. Anyways, most of you guys won’t ever get
to play with, uh, unfortunately a fresh cacao, like I am today. You know, it does have to be properly fermented
to have the proper flavor, cause eating it like it is its really bitter so fermentation
is necessary as I rec, as I said earlier. But if we pour this out these are properly
fermented beans and this is where they get the chocolate from. So chocolatiers like to basically buy the
beans, uh, raw like this just sun dried and in their process it does not exceed 110, 100,
510 degrees so these can be considered raw for people that are into raw foods. But the chocolatiers like to buy it raw like
this so that they can control the roasting process. Cause the roasting process is critical to
having, you know, good quality chocolate. It’s all in the roasting. So, you know, they will roast it here for
you. Or you could buy it raw like this and chocolatiers
can roast it and then, um, let’s go ahead and try this whole bean here. It’s kind of hard and, you know, to me it
kinda tastes like you’re eating a dark chocolate. I mean even the, I wouldn’t even say it’s
bitter. I don’t know what variety of seed it is,
but you can tell by the shape and what not. But it’s actually a nice good flavor and
I’m actually looking forward to the like, uh, the aromaing punch that will keep me energized
here at night for the, uh, second, the last half of the episode where I’m gonna actually
sit down with the one, the farmer and chocolatier here that actually created this farm and made
all this happen. We’re gonna share with you guys more about
how you guys can start your own chocolate farm here in Puerto Rico and why. We’re gonna kinda get into more of the cacao
and chocolate and why it’s important in continuing to grow trees. Some of the nutritional values and a lot more. So now I’m here with Juan Echevarria the
owner of the Jeanmarie Chocolate’s and the farm that I just showed you guys and the mastermind
behind everything you guys saw today. You know, I wish really that I had got here
a lot earlier today, but I’ve been busy all day. Whether it was raining and whatnot. I wish I could have shown you a lot more of
the farm, but I just got to show you a small segment of what I seen here looks totally
amazing. We’re gonna have some questions about why
he started this, why he’s growing the cacao and the way he does, and why it’s so important
for him to grow the cacao and many other things. So the first question I have for you Juan
is, um, why did you decide to start to grow the cacao or chocolate here in Puerto Rico. Yeah, we, uh, have a history of cacao started
back in 1600’s, 1700’s when Puerto Rico was producing a lot of cacao. So we lost the crop through time and now the
cacao market is back around the world, we found that we can do something special for
the cacao here in Puerto Rico, the special cacao. Not a large amount but the special cacao and
that’s what motivated me to start this project. Because I noticed that there is a need in
the market to get the best and we can produce the best. We have the, the methodology to produce the
best. They have an amazing climate here in Puerto
Rico and the Caribbean. So another question I have for you, you know,
instead of taking your land and cutting down all of your trees. Slashing and burning like standard agriculture
or big companies would do, Monsanto and all these other nasty corporations, why did you
decide to do the agroforestry approach where you’re working with nature instead of against
it? Well uh it’s the best way that we can, uh,
get the best from the land, to protect the soil, uh, protect the environment. So if we destroy the soil we destroy the environment
so our farms which will not give us the best. We need the, the best chocolate in the world. So the best chocolate in the world need to
grow with the best environment. And that’s what we are creating here, the
best environment to produce the best chocolate. Wow, yes, and also, you know, why destroy
beautiful Puerto Rico by leveling it out and taking away the beautiful forests, right,
and this is what is happening to not only America, here in, you know, the Caribbean
Islands, South America, everywhere in the world big corporations are stripping out the
land and ruining this beautiful planet earth. So another thing I want to talk to you about
Juan is, uh, why do you decide to do these organic methods without using any kind of
chemicals? Well uh, working with the nature and the nature
provides all the nutrients that the soil really needs. So you need to recycle the compost and the
compost controls the erosion with controlling the water, the running of the water in the
soil and maintain a good, uh, canopy in, um, in the soil to avoid that the wind and other
things damage the soil. Also, the combination of crops, what we use,
a the permaculture approach, when we put different crops in the same place one of the crops help
the others. And then this, uh, this, it’s a perfect
system, it’s like a forest but in productive way where you produce uh food but in the same
environment that the nature stay alone, you know. You see the forest, nobody take care of the
forest, but it’s very green and everybody’s very happy. So, we want to have a farm like that. Wow, so they’re basically modeling the forest
structure and it’s called a ecoforestry. So Juan what are some of the other crops that
you grow besides the cacao that also, you know, you have, you know, you make money on
it? Well, uh, the, the best way that the farmers
can live from farming here in Puerto Rico is to do the best in the farm. This way there is more crop. When you plant more crop you have one harvest
of the year, maybe two harvests a year for the same thing. It’s only a market for that. But when you combine crops, every year, every
time of the year, you will have something to harvest. And, um, there is this income that is entering
into the farm. I’m saying the farm is going all year round. So that’s what we looking for. We are looking to produce food for the supermarket,
produce food for people, produce food for the restaurants, and um, I’m not saying
that kind of forest is available for the people, because right now on the island we are importing
about 90% of the food that we are consuming. So we need to do something to produce more
and be, uh, sustainable in terms of food production on the island and combine, combine the crops
in the farm is the way to do it. Yeah and I would say not only sustainable
but regenerative to regenerate the land to make it better than what it was. And I mean, whether you live in Puerto Rico
where they’re importing 90% of their crops here or you live in a city in America, Los
Vegas, or Colorado, or Arizona, you know, most of the foods that you’re eating, that
families are eating in your area is also being imported. So don’t just think, oh I live in America,
I’m alright. No, most of the stuff is being imported and
it’s being shipped in. It’s not local food you guys are eating,
right. And so I want you guys to produce more of
your own foods, start your own local farms in your area or, of course, you can come to
beautiful Puerto Rico. So Juan can you tell the people that live
in Puerto Rico or even in the United States why they should, you know, use their land
if they live here in Puerto Rico or if maybe some Americans wanna come over to Puerto Rico
and buy some land that is available and start to grow cacao. Why is this so important to the economy here
and to the people? Yeah, we, we are living a very bad time in
this here economy because, uh, we are struggling. In terms of, uh uh, economy here in the island
right now. The poverty rate is so high and we have the
main resource that the island has which is the land. It’s available. It’s there. So what we need to do is find a crop that
is profitable. That can allow you to move forward in farming
product and the cacao is the, is that guy. So combine it with other crops it will be
more profitable. So then the farming would be, uh uh, let’s
say an activity that will be profitable and will save employees, create opportunities
for everybody, and starting the exporting, uh, process which is, we are spending our
money outside, buying produce to consume. What we need to do is change that. Produce and send the product out and then
receive the money to continue growing the economy in the island. That’s what we are looking for. Wow so if people like in the US like some
of you want to have a farm and they could buy the land here, right. They could buy the land here and start the
cacao production. How much can somebody make per acre for example? Well it’s, uh, it very simple. If you plant cacao, we are trying to put 800
trees per acre and why it is we are selecting which is very high yield production will be
producing, um, a thousand trees. We’re producing about, between 15,000 to
20,000 dollars a year. Wow. So no, you don’t need a big farm to be profitable
with the cacao. So you need to, uh, plant grafted trees from
the varieties that we recommended because those are special beans that we’re going
to sell at special price out there so the farmer will receive more income for that. That’s what we are producing. Wow and then you could also, besides cacao,
grow other things on your land as well and have even additional income. So and the land prices are actually quite
affordable here compared to other tropical locations, uh, that I’ve visited and especially
to know that this is a territory of the United States. It’s nice and safe, so I mean, and some
of the people here that I’ve met really are friendly. So another thing I wanted to ask you Juan
is besides just the money you can make from growing the produce what about the ecotourism. You know, I know you were planning ecotourism
on your farm and my viewers can even come down maybe in another six months or something
and visit his farm and get a personal tour and walk the whole property, which would take
up to three hours and see his productions facility. But, you know, you wanna talk about the ecotourism
as a draw so people coming to Puerto Rico on vacation can see how chocolate is made. Yeah, uh, we are, we are trying to combine
different activities in the farm. The, our farms here are beautiful. You see, uh, the farm, it’s a jungle, it’s,
uh, has a river, a little stream. We have a lot of things to do there. Our tourist department you’re selling pictures
and uh pictures of sand and the offshore, but we want to move people inland to see how
beauty the land, the island is inside. And we are close to the corners so in twenty
minutes, twenty-five minutes you move from the town to our farm. So very close, very easy to come and see something
complete different. So it’s another opportunity that the farmer
has. It’s not only producing, uh, different crops
in the farm, it’s just social, getting some people to get tourists into the farm. And that is another addition of income that
they will have and makes the farm more profitable. Right, I mean, I can even see something like,
you know, minimal impact zip lining tours or rope tours inside the farm. I mean among the canyons, over the cacao trees. How beautiful and cool would that be? Yeah, that you are right, yeah. So, um, let’s see, another thing I want
to talk about is, you know, once you get the cacao and you grow it, you know, let’s talk
about the processing. So you have many different products here and
if somebody in the US, anybody watching this now could actually go to your website and
buy some of the roasted cacao, the raw cacao, and you know, if you didn’t wanna deal with
it yourself, you can buy even their chocolate bars. You wanna talk about more about the products
that actually you make yourself besides just growing it, you actually process it into food
and actually this is a value adding product now because instead of just selling beans,
you sell the chocolate bar which you make more money on. Yeah, that’s, that’s part of the what
we do. We think that it’s not only produce something. You just go to the end and produce the finest
product. We sell no chemical. We sell, uh, minimum use. But giving the customer the to taste the real
real thing. That’s what we do. That’s what we focus on. Wow, I mean yeah, I tasted some of the cacao
here today and it is completely amazing. If you’ve never tasted real cacao, war cacao,
this is it, and I mean if you want the roasted one, you could order one of these and compare
the two. And, of course, you can get their high quality
chocolate bar to compare, you know, what it tastes like against like the junky Hershey’s
chocolate bar at the store. So Juan we’re pretty much coming to the
end today, um you know, is there any other things that you’d like to share with my
viewers today to go out to everybody. Any other important messages? Well, uh, the important message, take care
of the environment and try to produce your own food. Go, uh, organically, avoiding the chemicals,
because they will impact to your health. So you want to eat healthy. You have to take care of what you’re eating. And uh, you can produce something, do it. You want to, you can protect the environment
in some way, do it. So maintain what we got. The environment is maintain us for life, so
we have to take care of it. And I would encourage you guys, you know,
I want to encourage you guys to support Juan here, right. He’s, he’s put in many years of his life
and lots of money into this project to make it happen to be a model for people to be sustainable
to the agroforestry in a productive and profitable way, and to prove that it’s possible, and
to show others to be the first one to do it so that other people will do this also, and
we will create a better Earth. So Juan if someone want to buy some of your
products to support you so you can continue your very important work, how can they do
that? Well, uh, just go to
the webpage, www.jeanmariechocolat.com there is all the products that we, that we produce
here in the farm that we are able to send it out to the states to any state. So you will like to, to taste our chocolate,
our real chocolate, just put an order in the web and we will send that. So the question I have for you Juan is can
somebody order that special one that I like if they just want that kind? Because I love it so much and it was so delicious. Yeah, it’s, uh, you will decide what you
really want to have and we would try to send you what you really need. Alright, awesome, so besides that do you have
any contact information so if someone is maybe interested in coming to Puerto Rico and buying
some land, and you know, Juan will help people, you know, properly grow an agroforest, cacao
farm, right? Yeah. And so how can somebody get ahold of you to
do that? Yeah, uh, through the, through our webpage
we got the email and we got a contact form. If you are interested to buy any, any land
in Puerto Rico, uh, we can advise you. Uh, we got friends that are moving out of
the island because they have to move for the company and they have land to sell. So if somebody needs something or are interested
on that we, we can help. Yeah, as I said before, you know, I also maybe
buying some property here to be farming myself. Growing, I’ll be growing cacao and many,
as well as many other things. And this is a beautiful place in the world
and I really like it a lot compared to many other places that I have visited in the past. Um, I guess any final thoughts or things that
we didn’t get to say, uh, Juan? Yeah, in the same line. If you decide to buy land in Puerto Rico,
feel free to contact us because I can help you to develop your farm, advise how the best
way to do it, and you will have a friend here so to help you. Awesome well thank you Juan for having me
today out to your beautiful farm and I’m glad I met you this morning. Actually at the farmers market, I’m here
now at the end of the day and I still got to go home and eat dinner. But if you guys out there enjoyed this episode
and want to see me again, visit Juan and show you more of his farm, please be sure to give
me a thumbs up. You know, very important. If I have over a thousand thumbs up next time
I come to Puerto Rico which hopefully will be soon, maybe when I’m buying the property. Um, I will come visit Juan and even show you
more of the process and more about cacao. You know, it’s definitely a food I like
to eat on occasion for special occasions, but of course many other people eat it like
almost every day of their life to feel good which we didn’t even get into today. Also, be sure to share this video with somebody
else, somebody else who is interested in buying a farm. Puerto Rico in my opinion is an excellent
place to do it and especially with some of the affordable land prices and ways you can
actually save the environment and actually make a living and a good living at that at
the same time. And of course living in the beautiful tropics
here and of course all the beautiful beaches here in Puerto Rico. I’ve been visiting one almost every day. We go looking for property, go to the beach,
and we do my other things and I go film and whatnot. So yeah a beautiful place here, many good
beaches. So be sure to share this video and also be
sure to click the subscribe button right down below. I’m still here in Puerto Rico for a few
more days so hopefully I’m gonna make a few more episodes for you guys. You know if you’re subscribed you’ll get
notified of all my new and upcoming episodes that l have coming out every three to four
days. You never know where I’ll show up or what
you’ll be learning on my YouTube channel and, uh, finally be sure to check my past
episodes. My past episodes are a wealth of knowledge. Over twelve-hundred-fifty videos at this time. Dedicated to teach you guys all aspects about
growing your own food, farming, creating your own job, where I visit farms literally all
over the world. As well as, you know, just videos of my backyard
just showing you how I grow food and in one of the probably most challenging areas of
the United States. So, uh, with that said, my name is John Kohler
with growingyourgreens.com, we’ll see you next time and until then, remember, keep on
growing!

38 thoughts on “Make $20k a Year for Life & Save the Forest by Growing Chocolate in the USA

  1. Learn more about JeanMarie Chocolat and Buy Some Chocolate to help Juan save more Forests at
    http://www.jeanmariechocolat.com/products.html

  2. Awesome video! Hello John Kohler, I am Sam from Spooky2 Team and we are volunteers to help people improve their life. We are looking for health experts like you! Are you interested in our SAMA Episode? Thank you so much! 🙂

  3. Good luck John, I know you have wanted to own more land. I hope it works out for you, you are such a passionate person about the land.

  4. John which part of Puerto Rico were you in? Were you using a Realtor while you were down there to show you Farms? Do you have a referral you could send my way? I love your videos and your passion about loving the Earth and doing your part to create a positive footprint. xoxo

  5. quick question about compost tea. can you brew a tea and save the brew over a long period of time or is it recommended to brew the brew and use it immediately?

  6. Makes me sooo happy seeing you in PR. So many memories and family there-if only they knew how to farm naturally and cut lots of costs. I'm excited for you guys!

  7. Hi John, I’ve seen lots of your videos and think you’re doing a wonderful job, educating people about organic food producing and the agro-ecological principles. However, we in Puerto Rico are going through yet another crisis imposed by the United States; that government, as well as US based corporations, have been exploiting us for nearly 120 years now. They started with the land, our land. Then, with our beaches and rivers and forests. You talking about us leaving (which most of us have had to do because of the financial and environmental situation the US have put us in) and you taking advantage of that horrendous fact to promote the buying by mainlanders of OUR land seems at odds with the agro-ecological principles (which, as you know have among them, social, as well as political values you are betraying by the very title of this video). I am open to expand the explanation.

    For now, I exhort you to study and learn the implications of what you are saying, the privileges from where you are speaking to and inviting people to our dear island, we are so longing to go back to and recover for us, our children and grand-children. Thus betraying – perhaps without giving much thought to it – basic values of justice and general well-being entwined with the theory and practice of agro-ecology. Again, I am willing to expand on the explanation, but I know that once you consider what you have said and read a bit about this issue, you will get the point without the need of further explanation.

  8. there's nowhere near enough land that "tropical" or "luxury" crops can be grown in the united states. coffee, tea, chocolate, spices and bananas are all niches that only a few places in the united states can claim. That's why coffees grown in America, or teas grown in America, are so expensive. There's nowhere near enough to satisfy the demand.

    Now my favorite tropical plants; ginger, turmeric, lemongrass and tulsi basil. My tropical medicinal quartet. I would, however love to try and get a young chocolate tree for my collection at home, young tea bush too. 😀 I have an avocado tree and a lemon tree in pots. :3

  9. Hill. I live here in Puerto Rico. I just purchased a bar of jean Marie chocolate, very good. I am by no means the best gardener. I have tried growing cacao, my seeds rotted. I try. On our little piece of property We have had lots of problems with diseases. Right now I'm trying passion fruit again, aloe, grapes,again. My acerola has been struggling, my guanabana(soursop) has not done well. I have cashew, coconut,and a small sugarcane patch. Plantain and banana

  10. Irma and now Maria…. John please let us know how these guys are doing because some of us were really considering moving there!!

  11. John, Have you heard from the owners of the chocolate farm since Hurricane Maria rolled through? I am so concerned for their safety and wellbeing, as well as the state of their beautiful cacao farm! I sent them a message but haven't heard anything back yet. Please let us know if you hear anything. Thanks!

  12. Was just watching a video you had a part in in 2014 titled, "Cacao – Raw Chocolate not healthy warning" that makes me surprised you put out this current video.

  13. I’m so happy I found this video! I will now be doing more research into his project. My husband and I are very seriously thinking about buying land in PR and starting a self sustaining farm.
    We are still doing research into the logistics of it, but this sounds like such a great opportunity! I hope it’s still around by the time we are able to move there (in a year or two).

  14. Juan seems so cool that he has me seriously thinking about buying some land in Puerto Rico. He is doing so much to help the land of Puerto Rico, the people, and everyone who loves chocolate and freedom and Puerto Rico. That's really wonderful work and his farm is absolutely beautiful, even after that harsh hurricane that went through. Thank you so much, John, for bringing Juan and his farm to us through your videos. I really enjoyed them.

  15. That wooden cup you had next to you it's called a pilon and pilon is primarily use to make mofongo mmmmmm delicious

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