Wednesday 11 December, 2019

Watch: Paramin, the herb capital of T&T

Photo: Alina Doodnath

Photo: Alina Doodnath

Known for parang, winding roads and crisp temperatures, Paramin is a remote village precariously perched on the hills of Trinidad’s Northern Range.

Loop News recently toured the area with the Trinidad and Tobago Incoming Tour Operators’ Association, which ran a series of local tours over the July/August school vacation.

(Video: Winston Sobers)

Paramin might be known for parang, but the village is much more than that.

Its steep hills are covered in crops of herbs of all imaginable types – rosemary bushes over 50 years old line the roadsides and a casual scan of the bush at one’s feet reveals Spanish thyme, chadon beni (bandania), parsley and more.

The village produces mint, parsley, basil, thyme, Spanish thyme, Chadon beni, chives, rosemary, and more to restaurants, hotels and supermarkets around the country.

Some of these crops, such as rosemary, are unique to the area as they thrive on the well-drained soil of the fertile mountain hillsides.

What’s more shocking is that there are no guard dogs, security cameras, or fences lining farmers’ crops, which lie openly next to the roadways.

Tour guide Podesta Constantine said Paramin’s close-knit community has little to no crime as everyone knows what’s going on. If a crime is committed by a villager, he or she will soon be found out.

She said there has been a slight increase in petty crimes, however these are not known to be committed by villagers, but strangers who are brought into the community.

“In Paramin we have a close community, people say we are unique, very hospitable and welcoming people. I do feel safe here however we welcome all into our village and sometimes the outside influences do come in. But we are still a very safe community to live in,” she said.

“Farming is the main thing Paramin is known for, it’s the herbs and seasonings as well as vegetable production,” she said.

Indeed, a passing farmer willingly sold his huge Pollock avocadoes, known for their buttery yellow smoothness, for the low price of just $15 per fruit – needless to say, some members of the group bought quite a few.

The village is also known for its homemade wines, while their herbs are also blended into seasonings and sold locally.

The people of Paramin have a mixed ethnic background of French, African, Amerindian and Spanish, and many villagers still speak in local Patois, one of the country's oldest surviving languages. 

And of course, the Paramin hills are famous around the country, with some who say their hills might be the steepest in Trinidad.

It’s not unusual to hail a Range Rover jeep or Toyota Land Cruiser as a taxi to take you up inside the village. Even so, a clever manipulation of the clutch is needed in order to prevent one’s brakes from smoking.

The tour culminated with a view from Paramin’s La Vigie, the fourth-highest point in north Trinidad, is over 2,000 feet and shows a vista of the Caribbean Sea with Tobago in the distance.

For more information on tours by the Trinidad and Tobago Incoming Tour Operators’ Association, contact them on 772-1899 or email experiencetrini@gmail.com, or visit them on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/experience_trinidad/

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