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The home of the cashew welcomes all to Cashew Fest 2023

Cashew Festival (Crooked Tree)

Posted: Thursday, May 11, 2023. 3:05 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: This weekend is Cashew Fest time in the insular village of Crooked Tree, Belize District.

The festival got its start as the Belize District Agriculture Show, being held in a different village each year but moving permanently to Crooked Tree in 1983.

Crooked Tree was one of Belize’s first settled places, from the earliest hunter-gatherers to the Maya, Europeans, and African slaves, the latter to log timber along the Belize River.

But for many years, the community has looked to a different tree – cashew – for its bounty.

Cashew trees grow in abundance, and this is the time of year they ripen and fall off the tree. The fruits are laid out in the sun before being roasted and cracked to obtain cashew seeds.

Each nut is cracked individually, then baked in a metal pot to remove moisture before the outer layer of the seed is removed and the nuts are bagged off and sold.

Village chairman George Tillett says this history and importance will be celebrated starting at ten Saturday morning, with official ceremonies at two in the afternoon. The guest speaker is planned to be Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations Anthony Mahler, with the Belize Tourism Board a proud sponsor. Activities will include maypole plaiting, greasy pole, cashew wine drinking, bitters drinking, and other contests, with a late-night dance to follow.

There is concern that cashew seeds are showing underdevelopment and samples have been taken for testing but the village is looking forward to the next stage of value-added produce from cashew so that it can live on.

 

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