Thursday, August 22, 2013
August 21, 2013
Today we had the chance to make our own cinnamon sticks from scratch. We were invited by Ceurvon, a Jungle Bay tour guide, to go to his house since he grew cinnamon trees in his yard. The tree looked like a normal tree until he described that cinnamon trees were a reddish tint, and thus we were able to find our cinnamon tree.
Our next task was to find a tree that was easy enough to peel the bark and cinnamon off of. After finding the right tree we were given the responsibility of cutting down an entire tree, which mostly all of us have never done before. We cut down the tree with a machete, and for most of us this was the first time we had ever even held a machete, and carried it to the front yard for Ceurvon to show us how to harvest cinnamon. After cutting the tree down, we had to scrape the bark off of the tree using a knife. This task was somewhat difficult because we had to scrape off just a small amount since putting too much force and scrapping too much would reveal the underpart of the cinnamon we wanted to extract. The next step was to cut the cinnamon tree into smaller pieces and to section off how long the cinnamon sticks would be. Next, we cut back layers of the cinnamon tree and took a dull knife to slowly peel back the cinnamon in order to make sheets. We brought back the sheets to Jungle Bay and laid them out in the sun to dry. The drying process typically takes about 2-3 days to fully dry and at the end of the process will give cinnamon sticks.
Cinnamon has many medicinal properties, for example it may be used for weight loss, diabetes, insect repellent ingredient, upset stomach, runny noses, blood thinning properties, and much much more! After seeing how grueling the process of making cinnamon really is, all of us are able to appreciate the preparations that are available and already prepared for purchasing in the United States.
After making cinnamon we continued on our tour to Tony's. Tony is a local resident of Dominica who has been farming for over ten years! All of his products are organic and he produces a variety of fruits and vegetables to sell to other locals, of which includes Jungle Bay. Tony's farm consisted of at least two green houses in addition to a multitude of land for farming. He gave us avocados from his farm and explained his techniques in farming. One of the interesting techniques were to grow cabbage above ground, of which his reasoning was to keep animals from eating his crop. We also noticed that with the above ground planting, he was able to use less soil and did have to worry about where rain water would go. After seeing all of his farm, we were able to learn about the importance of eating healthy and utilizing organic farming towards our advantage. We were able to learn about GM or genetically modified fruits and vegetables and why they were bad for us.
After touring Tony's farm, we came back and ate lunch and were given the afternoon to finish our herbal scavenger hunts. Overall today was very educational. Being given the opportunity to harvest our own cinnamon taught us how hard it is to harvest cinnamon and to think twice about how much cinnamon costs in the grocery store in comparison to how much work actually goes into making dry cinnamon. The tour of Tony's was also a good learning opportunity since it taught us how to create sustainability in terms of farming in addition to the importance of eating healthy while emphasizing on Sam Raphael's philosophy of putting in hard work but getting rewarded in the end. Tony puts a ton of time, work, and sweat into his farm, and in return he helps to feed many people, including us at Jungle Bay, with fresh, healthy, and organic food.
Theresa & Bianca