Cacao Coralina

Finca Coralina

Born in Spain and educated as a Priest, Esteban Santos Prieto Casas set sail from his homeland in 1898 when he was 22 years old. Bound for America via Puerto Rico, the young dreamer never made it to the United States, delayed in San Juan for reasons that now seem obvious. Esteban met Carmen Buenaventura Pena in March of the year 1900, and they were soon married.

That same year the young couple emigrated to the Dominican Republic where they settled on a plantation in San Pedro de Macoris. They were to have eight children. Esteban, Carmen, and their descendants remained in the Dominican Republic where he ran a plantation cultivating Sugar Cane and Cacao.

First generation New Yorker Daniel Prieto Preston has rediscovered his roots and is keeping family tradition alive with the founding of “Coralina farms”. This farm is being co-founded and developed with visionary partner Fruela Roces Arbesu, director general of Morteros.

Coralina farms is home to the largest germplasm repository of white (albino) cacao trees. These special breeds grown at our farm are called “Coralina”s,  and are similar to breeds in Venezuela referred to as Porcelena. Coralina is a nod to our history: Christopher Columbus built the first and now oldest Cathedral in the New World using blocks cut from coral reefs.

These beautiful white blocks are called Coralina, and were used to build most of Santo Domingo, the first european settlement in the New World.

Coralina farms mission is to preserve the valuable bio-diversity of cacao in the Dominican Republic. We focus on preserving and continually propagating rare strains with direct lineage to colonial times.  Columbus believed cacao to be a valuable food for feeding armies. He made note that a man eating one cup of cacao could march and fight all day with out additional food. He set out at the time to collect the finest trees available and brought back to the Dominican Republic, where they were propagated and disseminated to the rest of their empire.  Through years of surveying we have collected many colonial era strains. It is now our responsibility to steward and protect these heirloom strains for future generations.

Coralina farms serves as an important test platform to showcase high technology organic farming techniques for increased yields. Its nursery will be the first in the country to propagate cacao by direct rooting and somatic embryogenesis. Organic plants with guaranteed genetics will be made available to all farmers in the Cacao Alliance.

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