cocoa plant

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Walk into a row of greenhouses in rural Britain, and a late English-winter day transforms to a swampy, humid tropical afternoon. You could be in Latin America or Sub-Saharan Africa. Which is exactly how cocoa plants like it.

“It’s all right this time of year. It gets a bit hot later on in the summer,” says greenhouse technician Heather Lake as she fiddles with a tray of seedlings — a platter of delicate, spindly, baby cocoa plants.

Every cocoa tree that travels the world starts with a vacation here in the British countryside.

The Fate Of The World’s Chocolate Depends On This Spot In Rural England

Photos from top: Courtesy of Dr. Andrew J. Daymond; Rich Preston/NPR