Saturday, May 16th, 2015: Aaron Humes Reporting: Crooked Tree, Belize District- The humble cashew is a fruit of many talents, and a welcome boon to the 1, 000-plus residents of this isolated inland enclave off the Philip Goldson Highway.
But it has the potential to be so much more, as will be demonstrated over the next two days of the annual Cashew Fest, which kicked off today at the village showground.
In bloom from approximately March to June, the cashew seed is the base for many products – wine, pastries, condiments and others.
But as a food in its own right, it raises thousands of dollars in its own right, though only after an exhaustive processing through fire – roasting and baking.
Carl Westby, an experienced cashew seed maker since his teenage years, estimates that he can roast and bake about 5 sacks of cashew seeds, broken one by one after roasting over an open pine wood fire, equivalent to 16 quarts per sack. At twenty dollars per sack that is a tidy profit.
But might there be a faster way to mass produce cashew for distribution and value-added products? That is the hope of village chairman Donald Tillett, who told us that any assistance along those lines would be helpful and appreciated.
Political hopefuls Dwight Tillett and incumbent Edmond Castro both share the hope of doing more with cashew. Castro wants villagers to take advantage of opened up lands behind the village in an area known as Black burn, while Tillett looked to planning the future with an economic summit for the village.
Former area representative Hon. Fred Hunter was honored with the renaming of the three mile causeway into the village which he originated while in office in his name.
Entertainment included ageless legend Gerald “Lord” Rhaburn and new sensations Sweet Pain Band.
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