Grenada – The Spice of the Caribbean
November 2-10th, 2005

November 4 – We visited the True Blue Bay Beach Resort this morning for breakfast as well as a site inspection. As you can see by the pictures, a lovely place to stay and the food was very good. I loved the little cabanas surrounding a small pool and the sailboat out on the water looks so inviting.

After this the groups split into three and we were off to visit what we came to see…gardens. These ones were private. Faye and John Miller have a beautiful garden overlooking St. Georges. Full of plants, it was such a delight to wander around and see how others garden in a tropical setting. Her love of orchids was clear and it was a pity that they were not in bloom. She was so worried about us coming to see her garden, she made lists of all the plant material…she need not have worried…it was gorgeous and she and John were wonderful hosts.

Sunnyside was our next stop, the garden with the two chairs that seems to be on top of the world…a garden that was also featured in a tv program. Jean Renwick has reason to be proud of it, it was truly lovely and I especially liked the longer grass in the center of the huge lawn…it added a wonderful whimsy to the garden. I had never seen hibiscus in those colours either…stunning. Then it was on to Joydon Gardens, a smaller garden but never the less full of plant material. I can still see us sitting on those chairs on the veranda enjoying a glass of juice while we talked plants.

After this tour we all met at the Camahogne Park and boarded the First Impressions catamaran for a cruise up the coast to the fishing village of Gouyave for Fish Friday. We had a wonderful lunch on board and afterwards the boat made a stop in the beautiful Caribbean waters so that you could go swimming or snorkeling if you wanted to. I chose to just sit back and relax. Just look at that water! Upon arrival we boarded a bus for our first stop at the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station. I was a bit disappointed that everyone had quit work for the day, but you could still get a good idea of what the process was from our guide. The aroma of nutmeg was wonderful! All I can say after visiting this place is that I have a new appreciation and respect for those that process nutmeg.

Next stop was the historic Douglaston Plantation. Do you know what cocoa beans taste like right out of the shell?…that’s what that big wrinkly orange pod is. The first picture is the tree, then the pod that has ripened, then all the beans have been taken out and are drying in the sun on rolling racks, because sun is good but rain is not. Then a demonstration of how they used to crush them after ripening. The yellow round fruit is a nutmeg hanging on the tree and the next picture is that of the nutmeg opened and the cocoa pod, then pictures showing you how they spread the beans on the racks to dry. Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique are the world’s second largest producers of nutmeg. Introduced to the island from Indonesia in 1843, the nutmeg tree produces both nutmeg and mace, and grows up to 50 feet tall. The trees can bear fruit from their 7th year to their 90th! Nutmeg is a spice we are all familiar with and it can be kept whole and grated as needed, but Mace, the red, netlike, outer covering of the nutmeg which turns brown as it dries you may not be so familiar with. It is used in the production of perfumes and pharmaceuticals.
The next picture is of cloves, then cinnamon leaves and the bark behind it. We made a quick stop at a local pub to have a drink with some wanting fresh coconut juice, then it was time to head back for Fish Friday, where we could walk around all kinds of food stalls and sample the different dishes each of them made…it was tasty!! They also have bands playing music…a fun evening indeed. I especially enjoyed my sticks with big fat shrimp barbequed on them!






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