Green & Black’s launched Maya Gold back in 1994. Our founders, Jo Fairley and Craig Sams, were vacationing in Belize and while there, they sampled a local drink called Kukuh made with cocoa beans and spices. Kukuh was consumed by the Mayan farmers whose ancestors originally domesticated the cocoa bean. Inspired by the taste of Kukuh and the aroma of the rainforests, Jo and Craig decided to capture both in Green & Black's Maya Gold chocolate - a blend of intense dark chocolate with a refreshing twist of orange, perfectly balanced by the warmth of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.
At the time, no one realized what an important milestone for Green & Black's the trip would become. Jo and Craig discovered that the lucrative prices available to the Mayan farmers to plant hybrid cocoa trees instead of the indigenous variety subsequently plummeted with the world cocoa prices– leaving the community in economic ruin.
On discovering this, Jo and Craig initiated an agreement with the local farmers, paying them a premium for their organic cocoa and an additional Fair Trade price. So from our very first batch of Maya Gold, and every batch since, the cocoa has been sourced directly from the farmers, giving them a fair price for their crop.
This long-term arrangement to buy all the cocoa the farmers can produce has numerous positive by-products. It's given security to the farmers families, helping them to improve their quality of life, provide a better education for their families, and offer stability to the local community.
Today we continue to strengthen our link with the cocoa farmers of Belize by supporting a grower's cooperative, the Toledo Cacao Growers Association (TCGA). Our arrangement with the farmers made during that eventful trip meets the standards set by TransFair USA, allowing our Maya Gold product to be Fair Trade Certified™.