Arrowroot Jollification in Colombier

Today we attended the annual Arrowroot Jollification in Colombier. Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea) is a tropical plant cultivated for its starchy roots. A jollification is a St. Martin custom similar to an Amish barn-raising, where a community comes together to complete a task, such as building a house, fixing a wall, or preparing arrowroot, while also having food together and hanging out.

The main steps of the arrowroot process include harvesting the roots, cleaning them and removing the skin, pounding them in large mortars and then straining the pounded root with water to separate the starch from the fiber. The starch ends up in the water, and once it has settled, the water is carefully removed and the remaining starch water is dried in the sun.

The jollification also included food and drink stands, a DJ and a youth marching band. The event was really fun, and attendees are encouraged to participate in the arrowroot preparation, particularly the pounding. The jollification will continue tomorrow.

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We also happened to see some interesting things on our walk into and out of Colombier. The small stream that runs through the valley is completely dry in many places, including areas that were home to crayfish and three species of fish just one month ago.

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3 Responses to “Arrowroot Jollification in Colombier”

  1. I Love my Ram Day | Les Fruits De Mer Says:

    […] there is one festival that is more unique and captivating than the annual Arrowroot Jollification, it is surely I Love my Ram Day. The 11th annual event was completed on July 10th after being […]

  2. Agriculture on St. Martin | Les Fruits De Mer Says:

    […] Agriculture in St. Martin is a complicated issue for me. As a naturalist, it can be saddening and worrisome to see landscapes disturbed by agriculture. On the other hand, there are benefits, like fresh local food and important cultural traditions, best exemplified by events like the Arrowroot Jollification. […]

  3. Ion Says:

    Hear, hear! Conservationism has been a hand-wringing, doom & gloom paadrigm since Day One, attempting to save every single species and “preserve” some mythical “balance of nature.” What gets left out of the equation is the very basic tenet that nature is ALWAYS out of balance, seeking new relationships, accomodating new species and the loss of others, finding new ways to interact with itself. We are a part of that and should certainly act responsibly to have a minimal impact wherever possible and to mitigate those impacts that are unavoidable, but our paadrigm has been so fraught with panic and danger that ecologists in all fields are feeling depressed and overwhelmed.It’s time for a paadrigm-shift!Kelly