The Seek Chocolate Shop story began while homeschooling my kids. We were learning together about different people and cultures and came across documentaries about people who make clothing and how they are underpaid and work in harsh conditions. We could see that change is necessary and wanted to do more to help.
As we became more curious about who makes our things, we started looking into the harvesting of food. We quickly became very interested in the harvesting of cacao and the communities that farm cacao.
We found that an alarming amount of chocolate is produced by companies who are buying cacao beans that are being harvested by slaves, trafficked children, or people living in poverty who are not earning a living wage. This was disturbing to us. We had heard a little about this topic and had become familiar with chocolate companies that call themselves “fair” or other names that seem to promise fair treatment to people, animals, and/or the planet and I believed that we were helping people when we purchased chocolate in these categories.
But I was personally curious about chocolate companies that labeled themselves fair and my research kept leading me down rabbit holes as questions kept arising. Through this research, I found that most fair companies bought cacao beans from a middle-man who happens to be far removed from the farmers who harvested the cacao beans and who only claims that the farmers are being given fair wages. And if the money does make it back to the farmers, typical fair standards only increase their pay by a percentage, which often still leaves cacao communities in extreme poverty.
After my research, I wanted to find chocolate companies that I felt good about supporting. I wanted to enjoy chocolate I knew was empowering people. I didn’t want to wonder. I wanted to know.
So I started my company, Seek Chocolate Shop, to do just that- SEEK out companies who are either growing their own cacao and making chocolate with their own cacao beans (farm-to-bar), or who are directly sourcing their cacao beans from farmers (often called direct-trade), or who are sourcing their cacao from cooperatives who work directly with cacao farmers and who are teaching them skills and truly elevating and empowering their communities (bean to bar).
I continue to find and add amazing companies and it’s a fun journey! And rest assured, if I find that a chocolate company in my shop is not empowering cacao farmers the way they need to be I will eliminate them from my shop.
A new goal my husband and I have is to get our own bean to bar chocolate packaged. We have been practicing making chocolate from the beans we have directly sourced from farmers and it’s been a fun new challenge!
I enjoy hosting in person chocolate tastings and putting together gift packages and monthly subscriptions. If you would like to schedule a chocolate tasting, I am happy to bring all the supplies to you and your group! I also love to put together at-home chocolate tasting kits, custom gifts, and custom subscriptions. Please reach out anytime!
And thank you for being here on this journey with me!
Tye Reeder owner,
Seek Chocolate Shop…pursue ethical chocolate!