You’ll have to watch your step in lots of small communities in Thailand right now.
If they have an abundance of naturally occuring cashew nut trees locally, it’s probably time for a Cashew Nut Festival too.
Village sidewalks (you could hardly call them pavements) will be a continuous carpet of cashew nuts, out in the sunshine to naturally ‘roast’.
And a sweet smell will hang in the air.
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Now, I’ve known for some time that cashew nuts are expensive because they are enclosed in a shell which also contains a caustic fluid. So they need careful preparation.
But I had no idea they grow like this : attached to a large colourful fruit, singly.
It was magical to come across these groves of cashew nut trees, with science fiction fruit and plump cashew nut commas dangling below.
Locals shun that flesh - “gives you a sore belly” is the warning.
But if you have a go it’s rather like eating a rubbery plum. Friends made a good jam of the yellow ones.
If you chop that beige comma open, you’ll see the paler nut inside, and a couple of husky layers around it, soaked in the nasty stuff.
So when you hand over a lot of money for your cashew nuts, you are paying for the tedious labour of extracting that nut, washing it and drying it.
Where we stayed, an island near the Burmese border, it’s organised by a women’s collective - and is a major income for villagers otherwise dependant on the vagaries of tourism.