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Liz Solms, founder of Banana Tree Consulting, has dedicated her career to improving the agricultural landscape of Jamaica. To this end, she’s completed successful projects at private coastal villas, high-end hotels, coffee farms and fruit plantations. Here, Liz describes farming practices in Treasure Beach, the Jamaica town she calls home, and the place where she established the Caribbean’s first farm-to-table dinner series.

estled in the rain shadow of the rugged Santa Cruz mountains is Treasure Beach. Most people here are farmers and fisherfolk. We may not be blessed with plenty of rain, but we have electric red soil. Known as “red dirt,” our soil is so rich, our parish of St. Elizabeth provides over 80 percent of Jamaica’s domestic produce. You’ll find that most people you meet are either farmers or are related to farmers. Our style of farming is different. We save water, we catch water, we water our plants with cups one by one. We “grass farm,” mulching our famous red dirt with dried Guinea grass to preserve the moisture in the soil. We are not lucky with weather, but we produce the sweetest watermelons and most flavorful scallions in all of Jamaica. You’ll find that most people’s backyards are even farms… why not plant a little cassava or a pumpkin patch? We’re not perfect either. Many of us rely on conventional farming practices that are not the best for the Earth but help our families survive. But Jakes Hotel and many folks in Treasure Beach support the sustainable agriculture movement in the community by encouraging small farmers to grow organically, by paying more for clean produce and by offering organic growers a chance to be featured daily on our menus. Once a month, under the full moon, Jakes hosts Farm & Fisherfolk Dinners featuring only local produce, set on one of the first farms to convert to organic agriculture on the island. At our Farm Dinners you’ll meet new people, mingle with farmers, and dine on their bounty. Almost all of the produce served at Jakes comes from our region, literally from our own backyards.

—LIZ SOLMS

Our Farm & Fisherfolk Dinners at Old Wharf Beach take place on the Saturday closest to the full moon. That’s when we gather at sunset and celebrate all foods seasonal.

Dates for Farm & Fisherfolk Dinners 2018/2019:

November 24, 2018
December 22, 2018
January 19, 2019
February 16, 2019
March 23, 2019
April 20, 2019
May 18, 2019
June 15, 2019
July 13, 2019
August 17, 2019
September 28, 2019
October 26, 2019
November 23, 2019
December 28, 2019

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