Marañon (Anacardium occidentale) is a tree that produces a fruit that is used fresh, as well as dried cashew nuts. The species was brought to Pinar de Rio, Cuba over 500 years ago, from where it spread eastward to the Camagüey Plains and throughout the historical savannas of Peralejo, Fruits from the tree are astringent and can be red or yellow in color. Overall, the red fruits are more accepted by the market and considered to have a better taste and be easier to process. However, the trees cultivated in the Perelejo community produce yellow fruits that are more accepted locally, and said to be juicy and sweet. Marañon fruit is composed of about 47% fat, 21% protein and 22% carbohydrates. The pulp is used to make juices, sweets and fermented beverages. It can also be consumed fresh. The cashew nut that is produced can be eaten as is or added to a variety of other transformed products. About 60 kg of nuts can be produced per tree. A local Cuban story about the marañon ends with the moral of, “There is no goat that is skinny that eats marañon.” Starting in the 1970s, there has been an intensified process of reducing forest areas to transform them into large ranching areas. This work was done with powerful machines, which also destroyed a considerable amount of topsoil. The marañon and cashew were not considered important crops, and so furthermore during the energy crisis of 1990, many specimens were cut to provide firewood. Current efforts are underway to educate the community on the rescue of the species in Cuba.
A partir de los años 60 la deforestación y la transformación del bosque en grandes llanuras para la cría de animales no ha hecho más que intensificarlo. La deforestación, efectuada con grandes maquinarias, ha destruido también una cantidad considerable de terreno de superficie. El marañón y el maní no eran considerados como cultivos significativas y sobretodo en la época de la crisis energética de los años 90 muchos árboles han estado derribados para obtener leña para quemar. Actualmente están en curso unas iniciativas para sensibilizar a la comunidad sobre la importancia de salvaguardar las variedades típicas de Cuba.