News & Events

Conservation, Celebration… and Chocolate!

Author: Lilly Schneider | 06/28/21

Six people sit at a picnic table in a courtyard.

Land Trust staff members (clockwise from left) Lilly, Sarah, Richard, Paula, Kristen, Tali, and Erik eagerly volunteered to participate in the Cocoa Forge chocolate tasting.

Recently, in the courtyard outside the Jefferson Land Trust office, our staff could be found hard at work, pens in hand, brows furrowed. This was serious business: chocolate selection for FutureFest, our online gala, coming up on July 8.

This is not just any chocolate, but some of the world’s very best, sourced from all around the equator and made here in Port Townsend at the Cocoa Forge — an artisan micro-batch chocolate factory with a core focus on sustainably sourced cacao beans.

A smiling woman cuts chocolate squares on a cutting board.

Sarah Zablocki-Axling portions out samples of Cocoa Forge chocolate.

Guests purchasing tickets to FutureFest on or before July 1 will receive a sampling of Cocoa Forge chocolates.

The Cocoa Forge is owned and operated by Sue Fitch, who aims to seek out “the world’s most extraordinary, rare and exquisite” responsibly grown cacao, sourced directly from small-holder farms.

“It’s very exciting that Sue has chosen to run her business in a way that’s so aligned with our mission,” says Sarah Zablocki-Axling, the Land Trust’s Development Manager. “As we’re preserving our amazing local forests, she’s working to save tropical forests through the use of sustainably harvested cocoa beans.”

All Cocoa Forge chocolate is made from heirloom cacao beans, stone-ground, and minimally refined. This respectful treatment of the source ingredient results in nuanced, bold and flavorful chocolate that carries the unique tasting notes of its beans’ origins.

“I never realized how much of a story a cacao bean could have,” Sarah says. “Beyond making amazing chocolate, the Cocoa Forge is supporting forests in other places, and the creatures and communities that rely on those forests. That’s one of the many reasons we’re excited to partner with the Cocoa Forge this year.”

Packaged chocolate tiles.

The Cocoa Forge sources its cacao beans from small farms around the equator.

The Land Trust staff is pretty pleased with the partnership as well. Though it was difficult to narrow down the final selection from a range of delicious chocolate sourced from South America, Mesoamerica, Africa, the Caribbean, and beyond, the staff were ultimately able to arrive at a decision, and headed back to work savoring the sweet aftertaste of a job well done.

If you want dibs on the lovingly curated selection of mouth-watering chocolate from the Cocoa Forge, click here to purchase your FutureFest tickets today!