JAMAICA (May 9, 2007) – As TIME magazine recently asserted, eating local is a rising (and delicious!) trend. But in Jamaica, eating well is nothing new. It’s a long-held point of pride. With agritourism at its helm, Island Outpost has been taking this commitment sincerely, showcasing the wondrous world of local cuisine at its Jamaican properties.
Frozen dinners, fast food and preservatives have no place at Island Outpost’s collection of hotels. Travelers and gourmands alike are more interested in how and where their food is produced and picked. Some visitors gape at the island’s abundance of food, quite literally hanging on the trees. These properties concoct mouth-tingling meals highlighting the delectable treasures of local Jamaican food.
In addition to its own organic farm in Trewlany Parish, Island Outpost supports Jamaican farms and, in turn, the Jamaican economy through its purchase of fresh produce, meats and seafood.
Please see below to learn how Island Outpost, whose properties are as delectable as its menus, embraces treasured Jamaican traditions of eating local and fresh.
Eating local at the luscious GoldenEye in Oracabessa is about more than great taste and nurturing; it’s a serious commitment to community and environment. At least 80% of food consumed at GoldenEye is from local markets, as much as possible organic.
Guests begin with GoldenEye breakfast, including island favorites ackee and codfish, liver and brown stewed chicken, served with “yard foods” yam, green banana, potatoes, pumpkin, plantain, dasheen and dumpling. “Yard Foods” are staple, sustaining foods grown in ones own yard, now synonymous with the island of Jamaica.
Next, daily menus are created after fresh items are purchased, not before. Yellow Tail Snapper appears with fisherman at the kitchen door. Once a week, produce is delivered from St. Elizabeth.
From Island Outpost’s organic farm in Trewlany Parish comes citrus, herbs, broccoli, arugula, beans and organic beef and lamb. Seasonal fresh fruits include: papaya, june plum, naseberry, starapple, soursop, sweetsop and passion fruit. GoldenEye sits in St. Mary, known as the ‘Banana Parish,’ while Oracabessa village was a major 19th century seaport town for shipping bananas.
GoldenEye takes pride in real Jamaican cooks, like Chefs Pam and Glendon, who were taught by their mothers and grandmothers. It takes home-grown skill to cook scotch bonnet pepper and the best curried goat!
The über-hip Jake’s in Treasure Beach is blessed to be located between Pedro Plains, the “Breadbasket of Jamaica” and Pedro Keys, home to the most fertile fishing grounds in the country. As such, Jake’s is perfectly poised as a showcase for everything local (and delicious!) in Jamaica.
Jake’s kitchen uses 90% local fresh produce in its meal preparation. With farms located no more than 15 miles away, fresh vegetables are an easy get! The menu also features 80% local meats and 100% of local seafood. A substantial amount of Jamaican processed product is used in the form of bammies and festival, as well as traditional processed spice mixes such as curry powder, allspice, and pimento.
Fresh fruit is all island-grown, with mangos being at the heart of St Elizabeth. Jakes also receives fairly frequent deliveries of organic oranges for morning juice, all island-grown.
Jake’s has a “treasured” relationship with the Treasure Beach Ital Farmers Association (TIFA), which keeps the kitchen stacked with organic local items. TIFA provides Jakes with a weekly staple scallion supply (essential for rice and peas), and seasonal loads of items like arugula, romaine lettuce, herbs such as basil, cilantro and lemon basil, bok choy, and gourmet greens.
Specialty items arrive as part of a “farm to kitchen” agreement, in which TIFA notifies Jake’s of local produce in stock and Jake’s agrees to serve dishes highlighting those items. The partnership has given birth to popular dishes like a fresh picked arugula salad with a light lime dressing and shaved parmesan. The TIFA farm that supplies the items is about as local as it gets – roughly five miles from the property and run by a Jamaican.
At stunning cliff-side property The Caves in Negril, nearly all fresh produce is a product of the surrounding community.
Ripe local fruits and ground provisions are gown and delivered by farmers in surrounding communities. Minimal pesticides are used and farmers hold a commitment to using environmentally-friendly products. These methods help preserve the bold flavors of the island’s tastiest products.
For example, The Cave’s salad greens of water cress and romaine lettuce are grown at nearby farms using a Hydroponic system. This sterile controlled environment takes recycled water containing nutrients and adds it to potable water, which is fed to the lettuce, then taken back to a tank and treated to make potable once again. Lettuce is grown in Pearlites only, no dirt.
Herbs used at The Caves – parsley, cilantro, rosemary, dill, basil, chives – are grown to perfection on nearby farms.
As for seafood: it’s all local and fresh! The majority of meats are also local, including the Jamaican Tenderloin, which offers a pronounced Jamaican flavor, and the mouth-watering sirloin.
With rolling green hills covered in mountain mists, Jamaica’s lush Blue Mountains are home to the peaceful sanctuary of Strawberry Hill Hotel and Spa, originally one of the first Blue Mountain coffee farms of the 19th century. Today, the architecture of the spa, restaurant and cottages are carefully nestled amongst the gardens and landscape now home to many varieties of trees, ferns, and shrubs.
All around Strawberry Hill, the mountains’ verdant landscapes give way to the famous Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee cultivated on the lower slopes (as the higher slopes are preserved forests). In farming communities of Hagley Gap and Mavis Bank, farmers rely on the area’s fertile soil to grow the Blue Mountain Coffee, considered by many as the world’s finest gourmet coffee. Guests of Strawberry Hill indulge in the revered, rich beverage (as well as coffee-accented desserts)! Farmers also supply Strawberry Hill with carrots, onions, scallions, cho-cho, avacado pear, parsley, pineapples and tomatoes in rich abundance using environmentally sensitive sprays and manures.
A quantity of herbs and spices are grown on Strawberry Hill’s vegetable garden sited behind the Bamboo Room. Spearmint, lemon mint and English mint are grown to use as infusions in Spa waters; lemongrass and lemon basil are used for dressing and teas while dill, oregano and cilantro are used in seasoning and fresh garnishes. Down the lush hillsides are Robusta and Chinese Sweet Bananas both of which are picked green and boiled for our famous Jamaican breakfasts. Plantains will serve as shade trees for the small acreage of Blue Mountain coffee that will be grown organically in the next few years.
A tropical orchard has been planted which includes Blackie mangoes, ota heiti apples, naseberry, cherry, pomegranite, cherimoia, jack fruit, sweet sop and sour sop, all of which are being grown not only organically, but also for information and knowledge. Over the next year, portions of the 20 acres of slopes will be built up to include a small salad garden, pine apple grove and more species of tropical fruit and nuts.
Created by Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records and Palm Pictures, Island Outpost properties are known for their interesting character and stunning surroundings and strive to offer their clients a feeling reminiscent of staying at a friend’s home. The group includes Goldeneye, Strawberry Hill, Jake’s, and The Caves in Jamaica, Compass Point and Pink Sands in The Bahamas and an exclusive selection of villas.
For more information or to make bookings, call 1-800-OUTPOST or visit islandoutpost.com, 0800-OUTPOST1 in the UK.
Public Relations US
Andria Mistakos PR