You may have noticed all those droppings from the trees that line Highway 115 near Amastad Park and all over the Island.
Those are Sea Almonds! Terminalia cattapa.
And they are delicious and nutritious. They are not almonds like grown in California, but they taste and feel very similar.
They are an abundant food source that is going to waste.
The biggest problem with utilizing the Sea Almonds is cracking open the shell. If you do it by hand it is very slow and laborious.
A big shout out of "thanks" to Maria Benedetti who connected me up with Laura Daen. Laura organizes the Old San Juan farmers market and has also been searching for a machine to shell the Sea Almonds.
And Laura found a small machine shop in Idaho that makes the perfect machine. Laura sent 100 Sea Almond nuts as a sample to Idaho. Mike, the engineer who builds the machines, ran the nuts through and made some short YouTube videos showing how well the machine works for our Sea Almonds. The video links are down below.
I'll be organizing a fund raiser to get the approximately $18,000 dollars needed to bring the machine to Rincon. My plan is to initially test it out and then setup a small business to shell the nuts. The idea is you would bring nuts that you've harvested and for a small fee the machine would shell them for you. Please let me know if you know any young entrepreneur who would like to be involved with running this business.
Please contact me if you can help with donations, fundraising, or know of an entrepreneur who is interested in this opportunity. Marjory Wildcraft, marjory @ mgwcreative.com
This is really a big win not only for Rincon, but all of Puerto Rico. The Sea Almond is a very important underutilized local food source. The trees grow pretty much everywhere near the coasts on the Island.