Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Lodge at Big Falls: Meet Miguel Choco

One of the highlights of The Lodge at Big Falls packages is the opportunity to meet local personalities who influence daily life on a local level. Meet the pioneering and friendly Miguel Choco of Silver Creek Village. Miguel is one of the growing number of Toledo farmers that belong to the Toledo Cacao Growers Association (TCGA), and whose cacao product eventually finds its way to Green & Blacks in the UK where it is made into the famous Mayan Gold, orange-flavored chocolate.

Miguel, along with his wife, Florentina, and their five children, are happy to show visitors around their plantation, which lies along the farmers’ road about two miles north of Silver Creek Village. Small guided groups from The Lodge at Big Falls frequently visit the plantation, which makes for a fascinating day of show-and-tell, learning more about Miguel’s farming methods and techniques.

One of the most striking things about Miguel’s plantation is its magnificent location. A fifteen minute walk from the point on the road where visitors’ vehicles must park, the hills are covered with corn or annatto (achiote) plantations and other crops. Upon entering Miguel’s plantation and climbing through his cacao grove, visitors arrive at the vista point, enjoying views of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve. Look for Seven Hills about fifteen miles to the east and the hills lying west of Punta Gorda town. You can also spot the BTL tower in Punta Gorda, which means that Miguel is one of the very few farmers who have cell phone service!

At 44 years old, Miguel has grown up farming -- he’s been at it since 16. He grows rice, beans, corn, cassava, pumpkins and other vegetables. Cacao is a fairly recent addition; it was only in 2004 that he began to plant cacao trees, which are now producing their inaugural crop. Being organic is a requirement for the farmers supplying cacao beans to TCGA, but Miguel has chosen to make his entire acreage organic, a testament to his investment in local farming’s future.

Contact us to find out more about interesting and dynamic locals, and view different packages available at The Lodge at Big Falls in Toledo, Belize.

Photos by The Lodge at Big Falls.

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