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How Humboldt Inspired Our Newest Plant-Based Chocolate Bars

April 13th, 2022

The first time I visited Blue Lake in Humboldt County, I was blown away by Northern California’s scenery.

And I mean the actual north. Not the “Northern California” I grew up in with its trimmed, oak tree-lined streets. Cars jammed on freeways. Constant honks and vrooms. Craftsman bungalows and Victorian houses sat so close together they nearly scraped each other’s sides.

Our downtown used to be lined with simple oak trees that were common all over the island. However, some time in middle school, the city uprooted the trees on Park Street to make space for new lights and parking kiosks. I remember feeling melancholic when I saw all that was left in front of our local businesses were stumps cut so low to the ground. They reminded me of sewage drains.

Many years later, I took a four-hour drive up 101-N the summer I visited Blue Lake. I couldn’t believe that we were still in the same state! As each hour passed, I’d get lost in watching the landscape gradually change. From concrete jungle to rolling hills then rushing rivers that ebbed alongside the highway. As per usual, I fell asleep on the long car ride expecting to wake up to sparse greenery and gas stations. Instead, I awoke to majestic forests abundant with tall, towering redwoods and sequoias sprawled for miles.

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

“Instead, I awoke to majestic forests abundant with tall, towering redwoods and sequoias sprawled for miles.”

As the route veered west approaching Eureka, I caught glimpses in between the dense redwood forests and awed at the coastline. Rocky bluffs and smooth sand met undulating sea green and rich, deep blue water. The sunlight illuminated the waves so enchantingly. Cars coasted 50 mph on the highway and I think it’s so people can enjoy the view. When I stepped out of the car, I smelled crisp and woodsy air. I thought, “Wow. I think this coastline just became my favorite coastline ever.”

College Cove Beach / Trinidad State Beach

Launching right before Earth Day, the Humboldt Bars at Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates are inspired by the natural beauty surrounding our factory in Blue Lake. Old-growth redwoods inspired our 72% Extra Dark and Melk® bars. The Almond and Peanut Butter Bars are stylized after the exposed bluffs along Trinidad Head Trail. Each wrapper represents our deep admiration for Humboldt County.

At Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates, we aim to promote a more positive, mutualistic relationship with our planet, in the hopes that our future generations can continue to appreciate the Earth’s natural allure. We feel immense responsibility to conserve the natural integrity of our local environment. One way that we have taken action in being more Earth-conscious is using wrapper material made from compostable and biodegradable NatureFlex film. Our company is committed to continue finding better ways to be more conscientious and eco-minded with branding, packaging, partnerships and practices.

This year we are working with Save the Redwoods League, a non-profit organization with a mission to protect and restore redwood forests and connect people with their peace and beauty so these wonders of the natural world flourish. The organization sets out to educate and take strategic action in redwoods conservation, from advocacy to stewarding land. Save the Redwoods partnered with the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council to help protect redwood forestland within their territory and return Indigenous presence to a land they were forcibly removed from. 5% of Humboldt Bar proceeds will benefit Save the Redwoods.

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by Nina Kitapan, Contributor

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