Organic Chocolate Makes a Transat
Mott Green guided his organic chocolate on a transatlantic voyage aboard the brigantine Tres Hombres. "Shoreline: Green Wakes" from our November 2012 issue.
Imagine Willy Wonka with a lifelong love of sailing, radical roots, and an anarchist bent, and you get an inkling of what drives Mott Green, one of the founders of the Grenada Chocolate Company. He and two friends started their small, ambitious company in 1998, and they’ve since determinedly stuck to their utopian ideals while creating award-winning organic dark chocolate that’s received multiple awards from outfits like Britain’s Academy of Chocolate.
First the trio perfected their recipe, carefully crafted from bean to bar on Grenada, one of the Caribbean’s Windward Islands. Then they refurbished a house in the hills at Belmont Estate into a pastel-hued factory and installed solar panels to power it. To ensure a steady supply of organic cacao, they helped create a cooperative for local farmers, bringing them into the company’s egalitarian folds.
This spring, they realized one more dream that Green had harbored for years: wind-powered delivery of this food of the gods. For the past couple of years, he’d already been transporting chocolate, stored in a small waterproof box and loaded onto his 13-foot catamaran, across 18 miles of open, rough seas to the nearby island of Carriacou; now it was time to go the distance.
“By the grace of chocolate,” Green said, “my dream of sailing chocolate bars across the Atlantic Ocean using wind power only—the first sustainable delivery of chocolate bars across the ocean—came true with no scary moments.”
Indeed, it was smooth sailing for the 32-meter brigantine Tres Hombres, a traditional, engine-free cargo carrier that’s part of Fairtransport, a Dutch-owned freight service. In May 2012, the Grenada Chocolate Company loaded 26,000 chocolate bars into the hull of Tres Hombres and set off for a two-month voyage to London, and then on to Amsterdam. The sailing delivery is part of an emerging slow-cargo movement, a natural next step for fair-trade companies that want to bring products to distant markets but care about the ecological impact of transport.
Most of the bars were destined for the United Kingdom, but 3,000 bars went to the Dutch distributor, who organized a bicycle caravan to carry the chocolate bars the final 60 miles of the journey, from Amsterdam’s Maritime Museum, where the ship was docked, to the Dutch storage warehouse.