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Gouyave Nutmeg Station - A view from our expert author


Nutmeg, Grenada by Paul CraskThe nutmeg processing station at Gouyave, referred to by local people as ‘the pool’, is located in the centre of the village on the coastal side of the road, just south of the bridge to L’Anse. Owned by the Grenada Cooperative Nutmeg Association, it is the largest of three nutmeg processing stations in Grenada. It was constructed in 1947 on the site of a former coastal battery that was built by the French in the 1700s to protect this west coast settlement from attack and invasion.

(Photo: Visit Grenada’s nutmeg stations, or ‘pools’, to see how this traditional spice is collected and prepared for export © Paul Crask)

The co-operative was formed in 1952 with the aim of removing the monopoly of nutmeg processing, sales and export from the plantation owners. Farmers who are members of the co-operative agree to sell their produce exclusively through the co-operative. In its heyday Gouyave would process up to 2,700 tonnes of nutmegs per year for export. The impact of Hurricane Ivan devastated the industry, however, and today Gouyave is the only station on the island still processing nutmegs for domestic consumption and export.

A fascinating picture of the island’s cultural heritage that provides an educational insight into the processing of nutmeg.

Despite this serious setback, the Gouyave station is a fascinating place, and a visit there gives you an insight into an important aspect of Grenada’s agricultural tradition, its troubled past, its stark economic present, and its uncertain future. Wooden machines and long curing trays, together with men and women engaged in manual sorting, grading and packaging activities, combine to paint a fascinating picture of the island’s cultural heritage as well as providing an educational insight into the processing of nutmeg and mace.

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