Jamaica is fast becoming a popular destination for food lovers and more visitors are interested in exploring the island’s rich culinary heritage. The widespread “farm-to-table” trend has taken root and shows no sign of waning, showcasing the diversity of Jamaica’s culinary offering.
“We’re excited to see that Jamaica is now considered among the options for visitors looking for an epicurean getaway,” said Donnie Dawson, Jamaica’s Acting Director of Tourism. “The growth of the farm-to-table concept is especially significant as it promotes sustainability and the local agriculture sector. These authentic experiences add tremendous value to our tourism product and benefit not just the visitors, but our residents.”
Whether visiting the capital city, the famed north coast or the laidback south coast, visitors can eat their way around the island enjoying one of these unique farm-to-table experiences.
Begin your gastronomic journey in Jamaica’s capital city of Kingston at one of the island’s hidden culinary treasures, EITS Café. Located near Newcastle, in the Blue Mountain region is EITS (“Europe in the Summer”) café, part of the Mount Edge Guest House which is home to the Food Basket farm. The café has a rustic laid-back feel but serves gourmet European-Jamaican food, offering the best of both worlds. Most of the food served in the café is grown on-site at the Food Basket Farm, with the rest coming from neighboring farms in the community. Since the food is sourced locally it is usually harvested within hours (or even minutes) of being served, offering a fresh “farm to table” experience.
After leaving the capital, take a smooth ride via the North South Highway and in under an hour you’re on the North Coast.
Guests at Jamaica Inn can get a firsthand farm-to-table experience by traveling with Executive Chef Maurice each Friday at 10:30 a.m. as he visits one of his favorite places in the area, the local Farmer’s Market. There he shops for his weekly supply of fruit, vegetables and organic fresh herbs. While there, sip fresh coconut water during a special insider’s Farmer’s Market Tour” of Chef’s favorite farm stands. After shopping, return to the hotel to see what Chef has in mind for cooking that day. Enjoy a 30-45 minute cooking demonstration in the Upper Dining Room and discover how Chef Maurice uses the purchases from the market to whip up a delightful Jamaican-style farm-to-table dish.
Nearby in the community of Free Hill, on a 15-acre organic farm called Zionites is Stush in the Bush, a tropical farm-to-table destination. Located in the cool mountains where there are stunning views, visitors are intrigued by the experience. Meals are prepared with farm vegetables grown from organic seeds and freshly made preserves, sauces, and dressings. The meals are prepared with pleasure and passion by Lisa and Chris and represent a love story told through food, hospitality and love for the land. It is the combination of Rastafari and Chic. Due to the intimacy of the experience, reservations are mandatory.
Guests staying at any of Blackwell’s Island Outpost hotels can spend a day at Pantrepant, a working farm nestled on the banks of Jamaica’s gentle Martha Brae River in the famous Cockpit Country. This lush, tranquil property, owned by Chris Blackwell, dates to the 1700s when it was carved from rolling hills and forests into a thriving sugar plantation. Farm-to-table events are held regularly at Pantrepant which is a destination unlike any other: it is a home, a working cattle farm and an exquisite escape. The atmosphere is luxurious and laid back, where visitors can do as much or as little as they like: riding into the fields on horseback, exploring an ancient cave, observing cattle herding, hiking or just relaxing in an oversized hammock.
Continue your epicurean escape with a stop in the tourist capital where your tastebuds will be teased and appeased.
At Round Hill Hotel & Villas, they have a strong commitment to using locally grown, sustainable produce. This commitment extends to educating guests and staff, helping them develop a deeper understanding of the link between the food consumed, health and well-being. They focus on both bringing in the freshest organic ingredients from local farming communities and preparing the meals using healthy practices. Even if you’re not a guest at Round Hill, you can experience the farm-to-table dinner every Thursday and Sunday night, as these memorable family style dinners feature a wide range of delectable dishes the whole family will enjoy.
On any visit to Negril, one of the activities on your checklist should include a trip with friends for lunch at Zimbali Retreats. The overall experience is sure to delight and while lunch is being prepared, feel free to take a guided tour of the 7 acre farm with Clifford. Then Chefs Eli and Alecia will entertain while preparing a refreshing salad, soup and a delicious entree. Vegan and gluten free options are available and all of the ingredients are organic. So whether you are a seafood lover, meat lover or vegetarian, you will find something tantalizing that will fill your appetite. The quality of the food is superb and the presentation is always first class.
Make your way to the interior of the island where you can connect with the community, soak up some luxury along with the warmth of the natural healing mineral baths.
Each month, on the Saturday closest to the full moon, Jakes hosts its Farm-to-Table dinners, set on one of Jamaica’s first farms to convert to organic agriculture. The food is grown by Farmer Dool, from fields just down the road from Jakes. Visitors dine under the stars, in the company of fellow guests who travel to the South Coast from around the world or from other parts of the island. Groups range in size from about twelve to forty people. Contact the Jakes Front Desk to confirm availability and to book your reservation.
For more information on traveling to Jamaica and to learn more about farm-to-table experiences, go to www.visitjamaica.com
About Jamaica Tourist Board
The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), founded in 1955, is Jamaica’s national tourism agency based in the capital city of Kingston. TripAdvisor® ranked Jamaica #12 Best Destination in the World in 2017 and top three island in the world in 2016. The JTB was declared the Caribbean’s Leading Tourist Board by the World Travel Awards (WTA) from 2006 to 2016. In 2016, Jamaica earned the WTA’s vote for the Caribbean’s Leading Destination and the Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Destination for the tenth consecutive year. Additionally, Ocho Rios was named the Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Port; Sangster International Airport was voted the Caribbean’s Leading Airport; Club Mobay was named the Caribbean’s Leading Airport Lounge; Dolphin Cove was voted the Caribbean’s Leading Adventure Tourist Attraction; the Montego Bay Convention Center was named the Caribbean’s Leading Meeting & Conventions Center; and GO! Jamaica Travel was named the Caribbean’s Leading Tour Operator.
JTB offices are located in Kingston, Montego Bay, Miami, Toronto and London. Representative offices are located in Berlin, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam and Mumbai.
For details on upcoming special events, attractions and accommodations in Jamaica go to the JTB’s Web site at www.visitjamaica.com or call the Jamaica Tourist Board at 1-800-JAMAICA (1-800-526-2422). Follow the JTB on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterestand YouTube. View the JTB blog at www.islandbuzzjamaica.com.