Strickland Stone owned a restaurant in San Rafael, California, where he served traditional Jamaican and Caribbean cuisine. He decided to move Stone’s Jamaican Roots & Juice relocated to Talent, Oregon, a decision that brought tragedy as less than two months after the relocation, on September 8, 2020, a wildfire burned through Talent and reduced his restaurant, along with many other buildings, to rubble.
The unusually strong winds and dry conditions resulted in the rapid growth of many wildfires in Oregon, with the city of Talent substantially destroyed by the Almeda Drive fire. Over 2,800 structures were destroyed by the human-caused fire. A man was arrested for arson for allegedly starting a fire that merged with the Almeda Drive fire, while a separate investigation is looking into the point of origin for the Almeda fire in Ashland continues.
Like many of the area’s residents who lost everything, Stone brought his business back from the ashes in the form of a food truck decorated with the colors of the Jamaican flag. The food truck is serving as the new home of Stone’s signature jerk menu and other island fares. He usually parks the truck behind the Talent Market and Liquor Store and Green Valley Wellness and is open for business from noon to 7 pm Monday through Saturday. He can also be found dishing out his Jamaican cuisine at special events.
The original Stone’s Roots & Juice opened in San Rafael in May of 2018 by co-owners Strickland Stone and his partner Pamela Ward with the goal of providing some laid-back island ambiance to the California community. Stone is passionate about cooking. He grew up in a small town in Jamaica, the youngest of ten children, and he believes that opening the first Jamaican restaurant in Marin, he has “come back to his roots.” Stone is a professional reggae musician who plays bass, and while running the business in San Raphael, he also spent a considerable amount of time on tour but was generally the unofficial chef for the band and crew when they traveled.
According to a review of the restaurant that was delayed by the wildfire, Stone continues with refining his menu in the mobile eatery so that the entire enterprise barely seems like any kind of compromise. The reviewer said that the food was “even better than we remembered” despite being served from a truck.
Some of Stone’s most popular dishes include oxtail, jerk salmon, classic jerk chicken, and ackee – Jamaica’s national fruit – and vegetables. One of Stone’s staples is “sorigin roots” juice, which is a combination of hibiscus and beets flavored with fresh ginger and lime. Another popular juice is the “jack it up” juice made with jackfruit, pineapple, mango, ginger, and lime. Stone claims his juices contributed to improvements in stamina, immunity, and balance blood sugar, in addition to providing “strength for the mind, soul, and body.” His juice expertise can be traced back to his formative years, which he spent gathering plants and roots for his mother, who was the town healer in Jamaica.
Photo – Stones Food Truck Oregon Instagram