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Fedna Stoll – A Caribbean Inventor With Global Answers
Captain Fedna Stoll is the inventor of a unique method of food preservation which makes it possible for the first time to enjoy all-year-round tropical fruit flavors and vegetable products. The distinction of the Stoll technology is its 100% natural, additive-free, preservative-free process and results. Natural and pure melon powder, orange powder, pineapple powder, banana powder – to name a few – are among the over 120 TropiTaste recipe creations of Fedna Stoll. Among the highlights of the Stoll creations is a unique line of instant tropical fruit-flavored cereals which require no cooking whatsoever – simply add water or milk, hot, warm or cold – and the full zest of tropical fruit flavors emerge for palatable enjoyment.
The Captain, as he is known and called by friends and associates, was a retired international sea captain who was born in the Essequibo region of British Guiana (now Guyana). This area, called the ‘Cinderella’ county of Guyana, is home to the world-famous Kaiteur Falls, the prized Tapakuma Lake – which boasts the world’s largest orchid collection, astounding natural beauty, in addition to vast mineral resources, and incidentally, the tastiest pineapple in the Caribbean, the delectable ‘sugar-loaf’ variety found at Lake Mainstay.
The second child of a family of six, little Fedna grew up on a sprawling three hundred-acre coconut estate that his family owned, where a plethora of fruits and vegetables grew almost effortlessly in the rich humus soil.
At 15, like four generations of male forebears, young Fedna went to sea. By 18, he was captain of his own ship and crew – a profession he practiced for the next forty years, and from which he supported his families and made his fortunes in Caribbean waters and international seas.
After retiring, Stoll turned his intellectual powers, forces of will, creative energies and financial savings to food preservation – a gnawing passion which first took root during his youth on the family’s coconut estate. Silently, with each passing decade of his adult mariner’s life, this passion grew more intense and obsessive as he witnessed first-hand – and at times was the one issuing the order to crew members to dump agricultural tonnage and food produce into the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean simply on account of market saturation or abundance, and the absence of preservation methods. With the advance of years, however, it seemed unfathomable and incomprehensible that on this fragile ‘caring’ earth, while millions starved for a morsel of food elsewhere, halfway around the globe, hundreds of thousands of tons of precious food were systematically discarded in an unconscionable manner to the fish and the waves in the senseless seas.
Thus it was, in 1984, at the close of the late Forbes Burnham’s failed ‘feed, house and clothe the nation’ socialist drive, the retired Captain’s tireless labor began in obscure earnest following his voluntary remigration to Guyana from his adopted homeland, Barbados. Having traversed the world and gleaned myriad experiences, the Captain was once again close to his boyhood roots in the Charity-Pomeroon area in Essequibo.
Seven years it took, amid routine taunts from acquaintances and villagers who saw him as a crackpot and eccentric, before the Captain emerged from the forests, victorious. Edison-like, Stoll persistently stalked his goal – to be the first man in modern history to achieve 100% preservation without the use or dependence on any additives, sugars, sulfites, or any chemicals. At the close of his seven-year ordeal, he was half a million dollars poorer, but he had mastered the scientific art of holistic preservation.
At his rural retreat and experimental station on the edge of the forest, quite deliberately, the Captain left no trace of his labyrinthine path to discovery. Even the principles he had uncovered and earlier prototype machines were discarded or dismantled – screened from the inquisitive purview of unappreciative eyes. Instead, he now chose to present his knowledge and discovery single-handedly in exchange for recognition, the happiness and wellbeing of others, and at least, a return on his investment.
But his descent from the mountaintop bearing the glad tidings did not prove to be an easy course either. The leap from discovery to recognition and success would prove to be in some ways more daunting than the preceding decade of patient determined struggle.
Back in the sprawling capital of Georgetown, where national power is still to this day covetously grasped and brokered, and policies and decisions are made and dispensed in rarefied bureaucratic chambers quite removed from rural rhyme, sound reason and reality, the Captain was confronted with the bitterest pill he was yet to swallow. New food laws, which were passed unknown to most in 1971, began to be stringently implemented around 1987. These new inimical laws no longer permitted, promoted or even encouraged the development of an indigenous ‘mom and pop’ food cooperative cottage industry. As the Captain vividly puts it “from then until this day, even the ‘real’ Amerindian Casareep has been officially outlawed in Guyana. In its stead, burnt sugar has since been officially blessed, christened and sold at home and abroad as ‘authentic old-tyme Guyanese casareep’. It’s ridiculous, but true.”
Thus, the obvious platform for his invention – right at home in his native land – and the prospects of solving the national agricultural problem of harnessing the fertile bounty of the land and cashing in so easily on the huge post-harvest losses were totally shattered. The ironic tragedy is that this past trend has continued unbroken into the present. As late as 1997, although the heartland of his support base lay in the agricultural belt of Guyana, even the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan, former President of Guyana, died without effecting any change in the draconian laws implemented during a previous socialist government.
Deeply disappointed, the Captain has since adopted a reticent outspoken style towards bureaucrats and politicians whose objectives he unflatteringly says are only “control, votes and re-election. It’s not about problem solving and the genuine empowerment of people with the skills, the tools and the means to shape their own destiny and happiness.”
So from back in 1991, chameleon-like, Stoll changed to suit the ‘new era.’ He became the organic juice maker and the preservationist working on local herbs and medicines. From his small organic juice establishment in Georgetown, under the counter, he sold 100% natural dehydrated potency-filled pumpkin seeds power for prostate illness; mangrove bark powder tea for diabetes; and even wafer-thin dehydrated aloes. To this day, his private clients still include several noted city physicians, whose allopathic drugs dispensed to others are not good enough for themselves, and other clients in North America.
Outwardly, in recent years, it has seemed to the few who knew of his supreme achievement and seminal discovery that the Captain had shelved the passion of his life. But, in fact, the Captain would selectively put in an appearance at progressive scientific meetings – on the local NGO circuit, and also at international regional conferences on dehydration and solar energy. Of course, Stoll, being a man of few words, invariably appeared with the prized emblems of his achievement – the actual goods which others only spoke of: mango powder, pineapple chips, banana flakes, papaya powder, breadfruit flour, and salt-free dried fish, to name a few. For him, it was never about monographs and discourses or hypotheses and theories. As is often the case at such events, much to the bewilderment of his regional and international dehydration and preservation scientific counterparts, the entire Stoll product line is stunningly 100% natural.
Today, Captain Fedna Stoll, the obscure Essequibo boy who eventually grew nauseous and sick of watching the mass disposal of post-harvest agricultural abundance in the Caribbean, is the Chairman of TropiTaste International Inc., and the flagship carrier of the Stoll Thermo-Solar Dehydration system and technology. Over the past year, a subsidiary company has been engaged with Surland N.V., the banana exporter of Suriname, in the development of an HACCP food processing company to produce value-added banana products and a line of instant cereals – all 100% natural.
According to Jacques Drielsma, the managing director of Surland, the Stoll invention offers the national company a value-added production solution to its persistent problems with the bananas it cannot export to European markets. Recent estimates have placed Surland’s non-exported bananas as high as 60% of the total company production.
For decades or perhaps even centuries to come, the West Indies and the wider Americas will remember Fedna Stoll as the Caribbean’s own George Washington Carver. In pensive words that probe close to the hearts and core of environmental problems facing our fragile planet on the threshold of the twenty-first century, the Captain writes: “We’re looking for the yellow metal gold buried in the earth in the interior, whilst millions of tons of green gold go to waste daily right on the surface on the earth. It’s bizarre,” he continues, “to watch our leaders and people openly flirt with ecological disaster despite this discovery which has been made in the Guianas.”
With calm assurance, the inventive genius lucidly declares: “We don’t need to plant more acreage. We’re already wasting more than 50% of what we produce. First, let us begin to utilize fully and efficiently what the Earth with man’s help produces and the bounty of ‘green gold’ which grows all around us especially in the paradise of the Guianas and the Caribbean.”
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