The Everglades are separated from the sea by a strip of land varying from four te ten miles in breadth, and from two to three hundred miles in length, almost completely encircling it, and covered with a rich growth of pine. Scattered about at their feetis a modest little plant, the arrow-root ; the tops of which resemble tansey. Covered by a thin soil it is easily dug and removed. Its appearance is similar to the sweet potatoe, but more irregular in shape, and with a thicker, tougher covering. Carried by mules to the mill situated upon the edge of some one of the numerous streams running trom the glades to the sea, they are thrown into a large cylinder, the circumference of which is formed of bars of wood, and separated from each other a few inches. The cylinder revolves and a stream of water constantly flows upon the roots; they are thus thoroughly cleansed, and their surface coming in contact with the rough edge of the transverse bars, the roots are peeled and ready for the grinder. This machine reduces them to a pulp, which is passed through vats ol fresh water, and thoroughly cleansed from all impurities. The mass is now a milky white, resembling curd, and must be spread upon trames fvith cotton-duck bottoms, to the thickness of three inches, and exposed to the sun. This drying process is quite rapid in that hot climate, and is the last preparation (save raking the pulp and breaking the mass into small grains) in the manufacture. It is then boxed and ready for market. The whole process of digging, peeling, washing, grinding, and drying, may be gone through with between sun and sun. The simple manner of manufacturing arrowroot requires but a small outlay for machinery, and the mills now making the article are all small and the production not extensive. It makes excellent starch, and the supply ot roots is almost unlimited, and the production can be easily increased, so that if the potatoes fail, the pine woods of Florida will turn out a substitute.
This article was originally published with the title "Arrow Root in Florida"