Friday, July 13, 2012

Grenada Tour: Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station


Waterfalls, nutmeg, local food, organic chocolate, rum, rainforests, bustling towns, fishing villages, Atlantic Ocean, plantations, Caribbean Sea, churches and forts, skin-up, mangoes, bananas ... 
The ambiance of Grenada is full of a rich cultural heritage which we learned during our tour of the island with Joe George of Joe's Taxi and Tours. The day-long tour included many stops which I will blog about separately and in no particular order.
Our tour of the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station, EC$ 2.70 each.
  
Picking up the nutmeg fruit, you find the nut encased in what looks like a red, waxy lace. This is mace, which is removed by hand and laid out to dry in the sun. As it dries the color darkens and dulls. In 1300s England, one pound of mace would have bought you three sheep. Medicinally, it has been used for a variety of stomach disorders, from diarrhea to indigestion.
 Link to "Nutmeg in Grenada"
Many hands touch the nutmegs through the processing.

In 2004 many of the nutmeg trees on the island were destroyed by hurricane Ivan.
The Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Plant is one of only a few remaining processing stations on the island.
Here the nutmeg is dried on racks for six to eight weeks and aerated with a shovel.
  
The Floating Room
Ladies strain and collect nutmeg in the Floating Room. The floaters have less oil content than the sinkers, and are sorted and shipped for use in cosmetics and medicines, while the "sinkers" are separated and used for baking.
I take a turn straining the "floaters".
The nuts are hand processed through a screen strainer, and placed in burlap sacks. Top-grade nutmeg is sorted by size; 110 small nutmegs will equal one pound in weight, the same as 80 large nutmegs. Each sack for export contains a total of 140 pounds of nutmegs. The sacks are sewn closed and hand labeled on the premises.
In the Stencil Room you will find tin molds for labeling the names of countries and cities for shipping around the world.
It is impossible to go to Grenada and avoid the nutmeg. The spice is sprinkled on your rum punch, mixed in sauces, an ingredient of pastries and the tree grows profusely throughout the island. Mysristica fragrans is the botanical name of this sturdy evergreen that bushes up to a height of 70 feet.
Link to "Nutmeg in Grenada"

To arrange a tour with Joe's Taxi and Tours, contact Joe George at 473-416-5332 or 443-4207
or email: jgeorge.78@hotmail.com
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