At the docks in Guayaquil, Ecuador, loading cocoa beans for transport in 1927, courtesy of Joe Montgomery.
Over ten years ago, Joe Montgomery began his journey into the production of cacao fruit (pronounced “ka-kow”), thus becoming the 7th generation of cacao fruit producers within his family. From the rainforest cacao fruit regions of Ecuador, his journey and vision have taken the industry to extraordinary new levels.
It started during his visits to the local fincas (cacao farms), where the cacao fruit was harvested for just the cocoa beans. The farmers would cut down a cacao fruit pod, slice it open, remove the beans and discard everything else.
But going back to his youth, Joe remembered special times when his Grandmother took the pulp that surrounded the cocoa beans and brought it home to make juice for their lunchtime meal. It was this delicious citrus sweet juice that he kept remembering because he believed there had to be a way to share it with everyone. With these efforts, The Cacao Fruit Company was born.
Today in most of the Cacao Fruit Industry worldwide, the standard process of harvesting cocoa beans remains the same, and only 20% of the cacao fruit is ever used. Joe says, “…it’s a reverse comparison, where one eats an apple from the peel to the core and then throws the core and its seeds away. But with cacao fruit, it’s just the opposite. Instead, the cacao fruit is harvested from the inside out and only the cocoa beans [seeds] are used.” Joe wondered if it was really waste or are there similar benefits to be found in the rest of the fruit? This drove Joe to find innovative solutions in answer his questions.
After decades on the farms where only the family farmers shared the great taste and benefits of the cacao juice, Joe began testing the nutritional values of the rest of the cacao fruit and found that the benefits were off-the-charts good for you and more (see Cacao Benefits). So, he made the decision to develop new and innovative methods to share this "food of the gods" with the rest of the world.
Today, Joe's passion is to bring the energy of happiness found in cacao fruit to everyone. Cacao fruit has always been known for its delicious citrus sweet taste but now it's also known and tested for its valuable portions of theobromine, B6, thiamin, magnesium, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, flavonoids, and other phytonutrients, in addition to other vitamins and minerals. Since he began his quest, Joe and his team have now created sustainable, proprietary and efficient ways to gently extract the nutritious pulp and more from cacao fruit to provide ingredients and sugar substitutes for a multitude of cacao fruit ingredient products in today’s marketplace. Go to our Cacao Fruit Products and check them out!