Throughout history, agriculture has played an important part in St Lucia’s economy.
The first crops to generate an income for the island were tobacco, cocoa and cotton. These then gave way to the great sugar plantations (why not visit some of these during your stay at Marigot Beach Club and Dive Resort? La Sikwi, in Anse La Raye, and Fond Doux Estate are easily reached from the hotel). This industry was the main income generator from the 1700s until the 1940s, when it gave way to bananas (“green gold”). St Lucia’s valleys gradually became covered in the banana’s broadleaved plants, swaying gracefully in the tropical breeze.
Many of St Lucia’s more exotic fruit and spice species are found as ingredients in local recipes, of course. You’ll have the opportunity to taste some of St Lucia’s delicious cuisine at Doolittle’s Restaurant and Bar.
The local spices and fruits that are most commonly used in St Lucia’s cuisine are as follows:
The small round yellow nutmeg fruits grow on trees. When cut in two they reveal a shell that holds within it the popular nutmeg spice that is often sprinkled on eggnog, rum punch and rice pudding.
Cocoa trees are mainly grown in the lush south of the island. The cocoa forms on the tree trunks and branches, and long yellow pods which encase the seeds that are processed into raw cocoa that supplies some of the best-known chocolate makers in the world. The seeds are contained in a sweet white pulp which local children love to eat as a special treat.
An ugly green spiky kidney-shaped fruit which contains a sweet off-white pulp, which is very popular on the island for making ice cream and delicious juices.
These grow on large trees, dangling from the bottom of a fruit that looks remarkably like a red pepper. However, there is only one nut per fruit, so they are very precious. The fruit can be eaten like an apple, but watch out – they are one of the juiciest fruits around; one bite and the juice is dripping off your chin! The nuts have to be roasted before eating as they grow in a brown shell that contains a caustic substance.
When you think of the Caribbean, you’ll probably think of the coconut tree swaying on a beautiful sandy beach under the brilliant sunshine. You won’t be disappointed in Marigot Bay, as our beach is full of coconut palms! Why not try a green coconut (a younger version of the brown nut that most people know); its juice is very refreshing and cleansing, and the jelly (which later hardens into the flesh that most people know) is a delight to eat – soft and very tasty.