Cinnamon Harvest in Sri Lanka: How the Peelers "Magically" Remove the Bark in One Piece
All photos in this post were taken in Sri Lanka by Mystica V. Here, her husband and several workers relax at a family farm in Nuala. Cinnamon is grown at another property in Elpitiya.
Have you ever wondered why cinnamon quills are curled like rolls of ancient paper?
Ceylon cinnamon, that is, the warm, woody spice that, when whole, resembles a single rolled layer of soft brown crumbly bark: This is the "true" cinnamon whose subtle aroma is faintly perfumed with citrus and clove, and whose flavor is both sweet and mildly astringent.
It’s a beautiful spice, one which too few Americans have tasted, given the fact that its more pungent and assertive cousin cassia has stolen its identity, at least in the supermarkets where it’s fobbed off as “cinnamon.”
Mystica V, who lives in Sri Lanka, knows all about true cinnamon. She and her family own a property at Elpitiya in the southern part of the island where the spice is grown and harvested. Elsewhere the family has fields in which “tea, pineapple, mandarin oranges, chillies, vegetables, rubber and a bit of cloves” are cultivated.
Does it sound like a tropical paradise? Maybe—until you hear about the monkeys that raid the corn, the porcupines that tear up young coconut palms and the wild elephant who pays daily visits.
“He just stands at a distance of 300 metres and looks at everything,” Mystica writes. “He comes again in the night and does not deviate from his route, so there’s no point putting up fences…he just breaks the wall and goes through!!!”
Farming is the same everywhere: Hard work and lots of it.
Although cinnamon trees can grow 50 feet tall, they are kept small to allow for easy harvesting. But let Mystica explain in her own words and pictures…