Rains spoil Christmas flavour - Sorrel farmer can’t even find a pound on her farm
No sorrel this Christmas, just sorrow. That's the unfortunate reality for 42-year-old Marlene Parke, of Yellant, St Ann, after her sorrel farm was destroyed by heavy rains from Tropical Storm Eta.
Parke, who is one of the biggest and most well known sorrel farmers in the parish, would be looking now to supply various markets with sorrel for the Christmas season.
When THE STAR team visited Parke last Friday asking about sorrel, she responded in a defeated tone: "Me nuh really have nuh sorrel right now."
Upon journeying to the farm, it was bare.
"Me nuh have nuh Christmas! If the rain never come and mash up the farm, right now me woulda a pick sorrel and a supply the market. Me nuh have nuh sorrel. The rain come and mash up everything. Me did have about an acre of sorrel, because I plant other things. I had about three different sections of sorrel," Parke told THE STAR.
"Usually at this time, me a pick sorrel fi go a market. I would start from like Monday, and then Wednesday and Thursday me go market. Boy, me wouldn't even have enough hand fi pick sorrel. Now people a call me and me nuh have nothing fi give dem."
Acclaimed and depended on by many, Parke says she is usually an early starter. She would start reaping by October, and that would allow her to have sorrel on the market by late November going into December.
"It rough, because a this me do fi make a living. Me start sorrel from October and when it touch December, that's when I get the most demands. And they go for a better price that time, too. December, go to the end of the year, me phone nuh stop ring. Right now, me nuh see how me and my children can have no Christmas," she said.
Parke says she is overcome by disappointment.
Leaf dem just a dry up
"That is all me feel. Because yuh see when yuh have expectations and it nuh work out, it rough. After the rain done and me come over here and me see the leaf dem just a dry up and drop off, me just feel disappointed. Everything gone! Me not even have sorrel fi sell a pound."
But not being able to satisfy customers isn't what pains her the most. Parke has six children whom she promised an amazing Christmas this year, because of the rough year they have had. When she looks at her farm now, she is reminded of a promise that she won't be able to fulfil.
"A dis me set directly fi mi Christmas. A year time, a this me definitely look towards fi Christmas money. You know that when Christmas come, children all over a look. Dem a look fi dem toys and all of that. Me promise my children that I would make sure dem alright fi Christmas, but now me afi a tell dem fi nuh expect nothing at all," she related.
"Me woulda usually buy them clothes and make them feel good. My big daughter come over here and seh, 'Mommy, weh the sorrel?' Me afi tell har seh dem gone.