Pumpkin pies and world history have something in common: They’ve both been revolutionized by a spice originally grown on a few tiny volcanic islands in the Indonesian archipelago.
For the love of nutmeg, European royalty sent explorers and armadas around the world. For the love of the nutmeg trade, the Dutch ceded Manhattan to the English. For the love of nutmeg and clove, cinnamon and pepper, Magellan circled the globe and Columbus sailed into a new hemisphere.
Empires have risen and receded, the world is no longer flat, but the simple nutmeg still grows on Siau Island, indifferent to its place in the grand historical story. Life sways to simple rhythms, governed by tides, trade winds and customs refined over many generations.
One Degree’s newest film invites you to spend a leisurely afternoon exploring the secrets of Siau Island’s treasured spice. Meet farmer Erasmus Rompah as he tends his nutmeg grove, checking the delicate apricot shapes that decorate each branch as they slowly ripen into bright yellow fruit. Erasmus’ world is bigger than Siau; there is a hint of history and cosmopolitan adventures in his story. In younger days, he sailed throughout the Far East on cargo ships that carried Indonesian lumber. After 11 years at sea, he returned to Siau to tend the family’s land, and soon to marry.
His parents named him for Desiderius Erasmus, the famous Dutch renaissance theologian. But his friends have long called him Thomas, based on another great theological reference: In life and in business, he wants to see it to believe it. It is a philosophy that dovetails beautifully with One Degree’s passion for transparency, capturing stories with lens and pen.
Share the colors, sounds and sensations of our visit with the film premiere below. Or enjoy the video along with photos and an essay on our Web site: http://bit.ly/1O4VtIz. And as you enjoy the show, treat yourself to our special nutmeg cookie recipe, featuring coconut and sprouted spelt: http://bit.ly/1O4STCf