Helping the environment for one Springfield businessman is as easy as making a sweet treat.
His chocolate factory is helping make the Ozarks a little greener.
After two decades in the criminal defense field, attorney Shawn Askinosie needed a career change.
Now he's making chocolate from scratch and selling it all over the country. But through this labor intensive process, he's also giving back to the environment.
A by-product of the cocoa beans used in Askinosie's chocolate processing is the shell, which Askinosie donates to the Commercial Street Farmers Market.
The shells are then sold as mulch and fertilizer. The profits are used to help run the Farmers Market.
So far, the Springfield chocolate maker has donated about two tons of shells.
Paul Parker, president Commercial Club.
"It provides more nutrients to the ground when it breaks down and it is a deterrent to insects and it discourages squirrels from digging your plants up," says Paul Parker, president of the Commercial Club.
Askinosie says his chocolate factory location on Commercial Street made the donation a no-brainer. "Right down the street is the Commercial Street Farmers Market and it was a perfect way to promote their market and have a very unique product and you really can't find it anywhere else."
Askinosie says this mulch can even be put in livestock feed as a supplement. You can buy chocolate mulch on Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings at the Commercial Street Farmers Market.
One note about chocolate mulch for pet owners. Because it is a by-product of cocoa bean, it can be harmful to dogs.
One local veterinarian says it depends on the concentration of cocoa, but he does not recommend dogs or any pets ingest a large amount of the mulch because it could cause chocolate intoxication.
Learn more about the Commercial Street Farmers Market
Learn more about Askinosie Chocolate