About the Region
Tucked in the mountains of the Duarte Province in the north of the Dominican Republic, Reserva Zorzal is a private 1,019-acre bird sanctuary and farm focused on conservation. About 70 percent of the land is warranted as a “forever wild” sanctuary, while the remaining 30 percent produces cacao, macadamia nuts, and bananas. In particular Zorzal focuses on the conservation of the rare migratory songbird called the Bicknell’s thrush (“thrush in Spanish is “zorzal”), a native North-American songbird that usually populates fir and spruce tree forests and whose native home lies within the reserve. This endangered species has a unique migratory period, usually flying between the east coast in North America and the Dominican Republic between mating season and a 25 percent growth of the entire species within the next 50 years. In partnering with Zorzal Cacao, we seek to participate in the burgeoning efforts to give back to our earth and its many species.
About the Famers
Reserva Zorzal is the first-ever cacao-producing private reserve in the Dominican Republic, and it’s dedicated to biodiversity. Co-founder Charles Kerchner originally came to the DR in 2001 with the Peace Corps to work on a cacao-related project, and while there he realized the great potential of the area. After getting his master’s and PhD with a focus on conservation economics, he returned to create Zorzal in 2012. The team there works toward greater community development through innovation in agronomy, fermentation, drying, and ecological sustainability. In addition to growing, harvesting, and processing cacao from Zorzal Estate, they also work with a group of 16 neighboring farms, called Zorzal Comunitario: They buy wet beans from these farms and ferment and dry them in a central location, currently in Los Arroyos. This endangered species has a unique migratory period and during mating season usually flies between the east coast in North America and the Dominican Republic. Based on its conservation efforts, Zorzal predicts a 25 percent growth of the entire species within the next 50 years.
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