Saturday, July 21, 2012

It has been fun, creating blisters on our hands, sweating in the hot Caribbean heat, and falling a couple times on the slippery slopes while learning how hard a good days work is for a Grenadian Farmer. Getting the pleasure of learning how to use a cutlass takes time and a little bit of the desire to destroy. A mixture of precision and strength the main tool of a Grenadian farmer is used for Everything. You learn to respect the tool, the sharpness, strength and versatility. Today the tool was used to harvest cocoa pods. Earlier in the week the tool was used to clear and cut trees into smaller decomposable pieces to replenish the soil. They are also used to peel a juicy orange for a nice afternoon snack while working in the bush.
As said, today we harvested Cocoa for our first time. Walking up and down Kim’s farm with my cutlass at the ready, I picked up the cocoa pods that Devon had knocked down with his tool of choice, a long bamboo rod with a knife at the end. Using the back tip of the cutlass, a simple flick of the wrist and the cocoa pod becomes stuck to the end then placed in a bag. Making piles of cocoa pods as we gather more and more pods we decide we have gathered enough for today. The next process is splitting the pods and pulling the wet seeds out. Using the trusty cutlass, another flick and twist the pods split apart and seed fall out. Picking out by hand the couple seeds that hide in the bottom of the pods, the wet seeds are placed in buckets and hauled down to the sweat boxes. To finish off our day of harvest the wet cocoa seeds are poured in the sweatboxes and cover with banana leaves to keep the heat in. Now we wait and let the fermentation of the seeds do their own work. With a good days work along side a handy cutlass, our first harvest was a success.  

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