St. John Culture: Sugar Cane

Being that sugarcane has been so much a part of the history and culture, I felt that I should at least have some sugarcane plants around the house to show people that sugar in fact comes originally from sugarcane plants and not just from the grocery store. Planting sugarcane is one thing, but harvesting them is another. For this I enlisted the help of the locally famous poet ans culture man, Curtney Chinnery better known as “the Ghost from Jost.”

A Little St. John Sugar History
Sugar production in colonial times was an arduous and labor intensive activity; especially on St. John with its dry climate, rocky soil and steep hillsides. Nonetheless sugar was a profitable commodity and the industry, fueled by slave labor, dominated St. John’s economy until the latter half of the nineteenth century.

The virgin landscape was slashed and burned changing the ecology of the island forever. The cleared hillsides were then terraced using the native stone as retaining walls. Holes were dug and sugar cane slips were planted. Water was painstakingly hauled from cisterns located at the sugar factory to the cane fields either by donkey cart or by hand.

At harvest time slaves worked 18-20 hours a day. The cane was cut, loaded into donkey carts and taken to the horsemill for crushing.

Four slaves were needed to run the horsemill. One drove the animals, two worked the rollers, feeding the stalks back and forth, and a fourth man took away the leftover sugar cane pulp called bagasse.

Some plantations used windmills to crush the sugar cane. On St. John only six plantations; Annaberg, Carolina, Denis Bay, Susannaberg, Caneel Bay and Catherinberg used the windmill, which was far more efficient and faster than the horsemill. The remains of these windmills can still be seen at these estates…. Read more

St. John Virgin Islands Live Music Schedule

Aqua Bistro
Stephan Sloan
5:30 – 8:30
776-5336

Beach Bar
Funck Show
9:00
777-4220

Castaways
Mikey P
9:00
Dance Party
11:00
777-3316

High Tide
Steel Pan
6:00 – 10:00
714-6169

Island Blues
Brother Nature
8:00
776-6800

Morgan’s Mango
Lauren
6:30 – 9:30
693-8141

Ocean Grill
Rascio on Steel Pan
6:30 – 9:30
693-3304

Shipwreck Landing
Tropical Sounds
6:30 – 9:30
693-5640

Skinny Legs
Chris Carsel
Plus Comedian Tim Hofmann!
6:00 – 9:00
779-4982

Spyglass
James Milne
5:00 – 8:00
776-1100

Virgin Islands News

Caribbean Kidney Center Opens St. Thomas Facility
By Susan Ellis — January 10, 2014

Although the territory’s hospitals are often criticized for the quality of care or the lack of available services, dialysis patients now have state-of-the art options to meet their needs, according to the physician/owner of the private kidney centers on St. Thomas and St. Croix.

Dr. Walter H. Gardiner, nephrologist and proprietor of the Caribbean Kidney Centers, spoke to members of the St. Croix Rotary on Thursday about treatments and his facilities, especially the newest Caribbean Kidney Center on St. Thomas. He also commented on the state of the territorial hospitals’ dialysis units…. read more

st john sunriseSt. John Weather

Sunny, with a high near 82. East wind around 23 mph.

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