Cacao trees are demanding to cultivate – they need very special conditions to be at peak production and the most flavorful beans grow on trees that don’t produce a lot of fruit. The pods must be harvested from the tree by hand to protect the bloom node and bark from cuts that can open the tree to disease. The delicate trees suffer from susceptibility to disease – especially if planted close together. Pesticides have kept some of the pests and diseases at bay but some regions such as Bahia and Ecuador have had their crops decimated by disease over the last century. Many family farms can’t afford pesticides, so their crops are always vulnerable.