The Story

David Stewart fell in love with the land of his Louisiana home at an early age. Nutrient-rich silt deposited over centuries made it perfect for sugarcane to flourish. His attention was always drawn back to the fields of Alma, the sugarcane estate that had been part of his family lineage for multiple generations.

Full Story

David Stewart - Founder

Sugarcane - The Long Road Travelled

  • Sugarcane originated from New Guinea, where it’s been recognized since about 6000 BC. From about 1000 BC, it’s farming progressively distributed and combined human migration paths to Southeast Asia, India and the Pacific. It propagated westward toward the Mediterranean between 600-1400 A.D.

  • The Persians, followed by the Greeks, discovered the famous "reeds that produce honey without bees" in India between the 6th and 4th centuries BC.

  • Arabs were credited with much of sugar cane’s spread as they took it to Egypt around 640 AD and around the Mediterranean. They distributed sugar cane to Syria, Cyprus, and Crete, ultimately reaching Spain around 715 A.D.

  • Around 1420, the Portuguese launched sugar cane into Madeira, where it soon reached the Canary Islands, the Azores and West Africa. Columbus transferred sugar cane from the Canary Islands to what is now the Dominican Republic in 1493. The crop was taken up to Central and South America from the 1520s onward, and later on toward the British and French West Indies.

  • Jesuit priests first brought sugarcane to South Louisiana in 1751. The crop remains an integral part of the South Louisiana economy and culture, contributing $2 billion to in annual revenue.

  • The nutrient-rich alluvial soil deposited by centuries of flooding from the Mississippi River, coupled with a tropical climate fueled by the Gulf of Mexico, make Louisiana uniquely suited to grow perfectly sweet sugarcane in abundance.

  • The sugar industry in Louisiana was revolutionized in 1795 when Etienne de Boré produced the first granulated sugar on his estate in New Orleans. The site was located on what is today the popular Audubon Park and Zoo, and the former location of Tulane Stadium. de Boré’s legacy served as the inspiration for the naming of college football’s annual Sugar Bowl.

  • During the Crimean War, the British and French forces defeated the Russian forces at the Battle of the Alma River in 1854. To commemorate the victory, Alma became a popular name in Britain. Being of British birth, George Pitcher, would most likely have named the plantation after the battle itself, or as a memorial to someone by that name.

  • The Alma Estate, home of Alma Grown products, has been owned and operated by the same family since 1859 when English-born George Pitcher became the property’s owner/manager.

  • Alma operates the northern-most sugarcane mill in the world.