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  1. #1
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Does Couples Support Local Farms & Farmers?

    We just watched Life and Debt, and we're hoping things are changing for the better in Jamaica since that documentary was produced in 2001. Does anyone know, in fact, whether things have gotten better since then?

    We feel pretty helpless after watching Life and Debt, and we asked ourselves "what can we do?" We guess we can at least support Jamaica's largest industry, tourism, by continuing to visit. We have to be vigilant when we buy souvenirs to be sure the items are actually made in Jamaica. Look out for "made in Taiwan, China, Dominican Republic" stickers! Most importantly, we want to make sure that we only patronize resorts that support and sustain the Jamaican people. Couples is THE ONLY resort that does so!

    The Issa Trust Foundation is reason enough for us to continue to visit Couples - we are not aware of any other resort making such strides in enriching the lives of the Jamaican people. And we're pretty sure Couples supports local farmers by purchasing Jamaican produce, meat, etc., but can anyone confirm this? I think I remember seeing phrases like "locally grown" on the Couples menus, but it's very important that we're not eating the same poison in Jamaica that we try very hard to avoid here in the States.

  2. #2
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    Jun 2009
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    Default

    While much of your posting contains a very noble sentiment (and we agree with you, whole-heartedly, by the way), it is very difficult to avoid imports on an island the size of Jamaica. The fact of the matter is, much of what is used on Jamaica is imported, and there isn't much to be done about it.

    Transportation equipment, fuel, nearly all manufactured goods, much of the meat products (especially beef), and such, are imported out of necessity. While Jamaica has a good subsistence agricultural base, there is precious little to spare for the massive tourism industry.

    You can be sure that the tropical fruits you see on property are locally grown. Much of the potatoes, vegetables, herbs, and etc. are also grown locally or on-island. If you are out and about in the Jamaican countryside, you'll see the local farmers selling their wares to the locals; farmer's markets are VERY common in nearly every town. Dairy products, to a large extent, are also produced on the island, although I suspect they import a lot of their cheeses. Much of the seafood, goat, pork and chicken is harvested locally or on-island. And then there is the Blue Mountain coffee, Appleton rum and Red Stripe :-) .

    T-shirts... watch for the Jockey label... made on-island. You may notice that many of the local shops are operated by folks from India. This is a typical occurrence, and again, not much to be done about it.

    Thanks for helping to raise awareness!
    Chris

    "In an abundance of water, the fool is thirsty..." - Bob Marley - "Rat Race"


  3. #3

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    if you stroll the beach you will have plenty of opportunity to patronize the local farmers this above else is a direct stimulus to the local economy as well as a nice way to relax at sunset

  4. #4

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    I also recently watched the move Life and Debt. It made me wonder what can I do? How can I help or make a difference.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default

    I know that Couples does buy quite a bit of food from local farmers. Unfortunately, I don't think Jockey is still in Jamaica.

  6. #6
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    "T-shirts... watch for the Jockey label... made on-island"

    Chris, that factory has been closed for a few years

  7. #7
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    Jun 2009
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    Yeah, one of our last trips by the factory, the bus driver indicated that Jockey had pulled out and gone to Malaysia, I believe, for cheaper labor.

  8. #8
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    Jun 2009
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    Default No more Jockey in Jamaica.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    T-shirts... watch for the Jockey label... made on-island.
    We learned last trip that since the government stopped subsidizing the Jockey plant, it has closed and moved elsewhere. Caused a large loss of jobs in MBJ, and now the factory sits vacant and derelict.

    Such a shame.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    We took the kitchen tour that is given weekly by the executive chef at CN last Feb (his name escapes me). I don't remember may specifics, but he did say that many of their products, from sea food to fruits to veggies to meat, are purchased locally as much as possible. I had no reason to doubt him. I was impressed by his tour, and that Couples made the effort to purchase local produce.

    By the way, I highly recommend the kitchen tour. I don't believe lesser resorts would allow their guests into the kitchen. And I say nothing that made me less hungry (just ask Mrs. Tallman!).

    Thank you for starting this thread.

  10. #10
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    My bad.... thanks for the unfortunate update on Jockey....
    Chris

    "In an abundance of water, the fool is thirsty..." - Bob Marley - "Rat Race"


  11. #11
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    Jun 2009
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tallman2nd View Post
    We took the kitchen tour that is given weekly by the executive chef at CN last Feb (his name escapes me).
    Probably Misja Ruijs. We also recommend the kitchen tour. If you happen to talk to Misja he definitely knows all aspects of the kitchen operations and can share facts (if he has time - he's usually quite busy). He's told us about the amazing amount of chicken, etc, they bring in each day, both for guests as well as staff dining, and he did talk about some of the locally grown produce. I'm sure he could share what the origins are.


    "Rich man's wealth is in the city, Destruction of the poor is his poverty..."

  12. #12
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    Jun 2009
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    Tallman2nd - thanks so much!!! We'll plan to do the kitchen tour!

    Steverandlinda - as always, very good advice

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    If you want to help support the local farmers, just go shopping in Negril. We bought some beautiful fresh produce off the back of a flatbed truck, from a fellow who had just come up from Treasure Beach. I wish I'd had the camera with me, he had a fantastic spread laid out and weighed everything up with a rusty old hanging scale. He deftly carved up some melon for us to eat on the spot with the skill of a master chef. So fresh, it was still warm from the morning sun.

    If you take the Nature Tour at CSA, you'll also see that many of the items that appear on your dinner plate are grown right at the resort's nursery gardens, located across the road near the sports complex.
    nobody's favorite poster

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