Plants in the ground

This guy, Gil Querido.  Gil is a farmer, entrepreneur, and Kria partner. In addition to the strawberries pictured here, Gil grows papaya, mango, bananas, herbs, and, of course, passion fruit. He has a dog named Condoleeza Rice. You'd like him. 

This guy, Gil Querido.  Gil is a farmer, entrepreneur, and Kria partner. In addition to the strawberries pictured here, Gil grows papaya, mango, bananas, herbs, and, of course, passion fruit. He has a dog named Condoleeza Rice. You'd like him. 

It’s been two months since we returned from our last trip to Cape Verde, when we made big plans to start the country’s first domestic juice business. It’s easy to lose momentum from those trips, when you return home and get back into life’s routines. And as anyone who’s worked in a developing country (an island nation, no less) knows, things sometimes move at their own pace.

The good news is we’re still making progress. Three thousand passion fruit plants are now growing in the Santa Cruz Valley. We’re conducting due diligence on a big capital investment on equipment and a facility. Our adjunct Kria partner on the ground in Cape Verde, Gil Querido, is helping us navigate legal documents, pay the farmers, and take care of all the stuff we can’t do from Vermont.

Plants are growing

We’re working with three partner farmers on our first round of passion fruit planting. We currently have over 3,000 plants in greenhouses and in the ground, with an expected harvest date of fall 2017. That gives us some breathing room to focus on our business plan.

We’re in the weeds

Aseptic processing. On-site warehousing requirements. Pasteurizers. Regulatory fees. Water filtration systems. Making fresh organic juice in a place that’s never produced it for the domestic market is complicated. Dan’s 20 years as a brewery owner is a great asset for learning the juice business, but we now know more about juicing than we ever cared to learn.

These plants will grow up to be Kria passion fruits. Assomada, March 2017. 

These plants will grow up to be Kria passion fruits. Assomada, March 2017. 

This is a big investment

We’re serious about this project, but Kria Juice has to be a smart business decision if we’re going to make a big capital investment. Like we do with any investment, we’re conducting due diligence. We recently hired a consulting group to help us create a comprehensive, detailed business plan with hard numbers. We’re now in the sausage-making phase of our work: water tank specs, production targets, composting protocols, and packaging requirements.

The next eight weeks are big for Kria Juice. With better data, we’ll be able to make big decisions about the future of this venture. It’s a lot more fun to blog about adventures in faraway places than to talk water tanks, but these are the details that will tell us if our dream is just that, or if this is real.