The Ultimate Family Vacation - Part III
Our evening took us into the mountains of Jamaica where Jason, the owner of Jake's introduced us to the farmers of Treasure Beach. As we traversed one of several winding roads, Jason made a turn into Flagaman, a stretch of land inhabited by hard working farmers and their families. From there, we began to see beautiful homes that had been built from the fruits of their labor.
During our evening journey, we met Ms. Maisy, one of the most prosperous farmers in Treasure Beach who has been a staple in the community for over 40 years. Ms. Maisy supplies fruits and vegetables to local businesses throughout the region and her generosity has helped support a number of community based initiatives being spearheaded by the Treasure Beach Breds Foundation.
We then drove a bit further and met Doul, one of the few organic farmers in Jamaica who not only gave us a tour of his farm, but shared some of his most prized possessions, mouth watering mangoes, sweet sop - which tastes like custard and genips - my son's personal favorite fruit that looks like a grape but tastes like lychee. Doul walked us through his field and what I noticed first was the striking red color of the soil. We then saw banana trees, sour sop (another delicious fruit treat), more genips, scallions, melons, avocados and mangoes. As we approached a clearing, the view was absolutely spectacular. At that moment, Jason explained that each month during the full moon, guests of Jake's are invited to the Pedro Plains "Farm to Table" dinner at the bottom of Doul's farm where they can enjoy an incredible caribbean meal under the stars. Jake's plans to arrange farm tours for guests and families throughout the year so that you can meet the hard working farmers of Jamaica while helping them tend their fields. Jake's also plans to expand the "Farm to Table" experience so that the farm dinner takes place on a regular basis with the ultimate goal of hosting a Jamaican food festival featuring the culinary talents of some of the best known and well-loved chefs throughout the region.
As sunset approached, we arrived at Jason's home and it literally took our breath away. Jason and his wife Laura's home is nestled into a hill and offers sweeping views of southern Jamaica from two 40 foot long verandas that adorn the property. As four dogs raced up to greet us, Jason brought us inside to meet Laura and the Henzell's two gorgeous children - Seya (named for one of their favorite artists) and Max. We also were introduced to their incredibly talented cook Sheila, who works for Jake's and prepared a delectable dinner for all of us.
We spent the next few hours learning more about the Henzell's and their incredible ties to Jamaica - Laura's family created the wildly popular Red Stripe beer and Jason's father, Perry, who passed away in 2006, produced the legendary film "The Harder They Come." According to the Guardian, "The Harder They Come" is "one of the most the most outstanding films to emerge from Jamaica that has continually served as a reference point for film-makers in the Caribbean and Latin America." Today, Jason's sister, who is also a filmmaker, manages the film property and also spearheads the Calabash Literary Festival - one of the most popular events in the region which takes place each fall at Jake's.
From the arts, to education, to the sea to the farms, Jason and Laura Henzell are committed to making their community a better place to live and visit for generations to come. So take my advice and spend a family vacation at Jake's Resort, where you'll get the chance to experience the magical allure of Treasure Beach. Once you visit, you'll want to go back every year!