Coffee producers and baristas were out in their numbers last Saturday at the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival Marketplace in Newcastle, St. Andrew.
Many booths had hot coffee to keep patrons warm in the fog, such as Cafe Blue, Stoneleigh (Mavis Bank 100% Blue Mountain Coffee), Toyota Coffee House, Starbucks, Perk Up and Country Traders Limited (Coffee Roasters Blue Mountain Coffee).
Cafe Blue also had their Milk and White Chocolate covered Coffee beans that I enjoy.
My husband enjoyed the smooth, hot brew offered by Perk up, from Flamstead Estate. Perk Up had a soft launch at the Coffee Festival, as they are planning to enter the market more competitively. They are currently at a few cafe outlets, including Shelly’s Cafe at U.T.E.C.H.
Deaf Can Coffee Baristas were there, brewing at 3 different tents including Cannonball Cafe and Jamaica Toyota Coffee House.
I was impressed with Cannonball Cafe that uses Jablum Coffee. They were the only ones I saw that offered Frappes and Coffee Martinis. I had the Caramel Crunch Cafe Frappe for just $300JMD. They had Paint and Sip for $1500JMD along with a free Espresso Martini overseeing a picturesque view too! There were cold brews from Cafe Blue and Stoneleigh, but I prefer Frappes. Even though it was a cool atmosphere being up so high, the sun was still fully out and I warmed up after walking around the venue.
Cannonball’s coffee infused desserts were a treat too! My nieces and I enjoyed their Coffee and Chocolate Brownies for a steal of $100JMD, Mini Eclairs with Coffee infused cream ($300JMD) and Coffee Bread Pudding with Coffee glaze ($300JMD).
Cannonball Cafe can be found in Barbican (Loshusan Centre), New Kingston (Barbados Ave.), Manor Park (Lower Manor Park Plaza) and Sovereign North Plaza.
Restaurants other than Cafe Blue that are on the Blue Mountain Culinary trail were out, such as Belcour Lodge with their line of Preserves and Blue Ridge Restaurant and Cottages. Blue Ridge had a tasty Coffee Cake for $300JMD.
The experienced and poised hostess, Emprezz kept the patrons well-informed throughout the day and presented prizes and surprises, hosted short interviews and more.
The suits of Tourism came out, shook hands and spoke to the patrons. Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlet along with his entourage, as well as Adam Stewart, Chairman of The Tourism Linkages Council were there. The council has been making great strides, developing projects to increase our influx of visitors to Jamaica via the Gastronomy network, Shopping, Health and Wellness, Sports and Entertainment and Knowledge. The Jamaica Coffee Festival Marketplace branched out across all these networks, with major focus on the Gastronomic Network. Key initiatives and Projects such as development of a Blue Mountain Coffee experience, strategic partnerships with other networks and the promotion of food festivals were all achieved. Kudos to them and the great turn out of patrons to support such an important initiative. Tickets were sold out!
If the endless amount of coffee wasn’t enough, Tarrus Riley entertained the crowd for over an hour!
CB Chicken, Copperwood Pork and Best DressedChicken were out to feed the masses. The Best Dressed Booth was quite popular with their Gourmet Hot dogs, loaded fries and more. I enjoyed their Jerked Chicken.
Island Blue, which you normally see in our hotels, displayed and sold their Jamaica Coffee Liqueurs from Baronhall Estate, Coffee Beans, Branded mugs and more.
Kande’s Delights had long lines for ice cream including coffee flavours of course.
Various Arts & Crafts exhibitors were about, but one of the Skin Care exhibitors, I Love Sweetness Coffee Scrubs grabbed my attention with their body scrubs, scented soaps and skin tonics. Their representatives were quite knowledgeable about their products and marketed them well.
There were representatives and Informative pamphlets from Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA) and Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) on the story of Jamaican Coffee. Jamaican Coffee Recipes were available too.
Hollywell provided information on tours and events, signing persons up to receive information on events in the future too. They also had persons chatting up a storm about their Coffee Rice and Peas cooked by ‘Natural by Nature’ in their community.
Congratulations to the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival Team. Great initiative, efficient use of space and well executed event. #SugaEndorsed
By: Gabrielle Burgess
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TGIF! Remember that the Jamaica Blue Mountain Festival starts today!
The Coffee Industry Players in association with JACRA and RADA will be busy hosting workshops.
Do not miss The Festival Marketplace! It should be a cultural experience showcasing not only our local coffee and coffee-induced products, but our talented crafty artisans, dancers, singers and more, headlined by Tarrus Riley!
The shuttle departs hourly from UTECH starting at 9am and Tickets cost $1000JMD for Adults and $500JMD for Children under 12 and Students with ID. The Festival ends at 6pm.
> Cafe Blue (Sovereign & Irish Town)
> Cannonball Cafe (New Kgn, Sovereign North, Manor Park)
> Toyota Coffee House: 93 Hope Road
Take a drive along the Blue Mountain Culinary trail. It has some cosy spots with spectacular views and food. See the list with numbers on the flyer below, call and make your reservations today!
They are all quite a treat, but if you like local cuisine, Crystal Edge is the place. If you have a sweet tooth, Cafe Blue is just next door with exquisite desserts by award-winning baker, Nadine Burie.
Blue Ridge is far up, but worth the trek. Savoury food and good service. Their presentation is also one of a kind.
Support Brand Jamaica and our flagship Blue Mountain Coffee this weekend in Newcastle, St. Andrew!
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed AgroFest last Saturday. There was no rain on the day and the night before got rain so the grounds of Jamaica College were not dusty or too muddy either. It was more organized this year and had a lot more local vendors and organizations participating. It is hard to highlight booths as everyone showed great effort in their presentations and what they had to offer. However, some still managed to stand out above the rest.
The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) had plants, honey and more.
A booth had a Tissue Culture display for Irish potatoes and Ginger.
Gavin Hill had the greatest variety of animals. He had a cursing Parrot, Turkey, Rabbits, Hamsters and Birds.
Other farmers from Kingston & St. Andrew had Goats, Sheep and Rabbits as well.
It was thus fitting to have NutraMix and Hi-Pro there, suppliers of animal feed.
Jamaica 4-H Clubs, who were celebrating their 75th anniversary had Fruits, Eggs and Vegetables for sale.
The College of Agriculture, Science and Education had an Aquaculture display, Jellies, Chutney, Sauces, Vegetables, you name it.
AG Chem Plant Ltd. had Pesticides and Fertilizers suitable for farming and other needs.
The Jamaica Dairy Development Board is back in full swing. They have been training 200 farmers the art and science of dairy cattle husbandry to make an increase in dairy production and make it sustainable by increasing the dairy cattle population.
They ensure Herd recording, Herd management decisions and genetic evaluations.
They have been supporting the improvememt of institutions such as CASE and Ebony Park HEART Acadamy and others.
T. Geddes Grant Distributors Ltd. had their booth showing that they are suppliers of total Agricultural requirements to farmers and gardeners. They supply Herbicides, Feed, Farming tools and more.
The Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division as well as the National Irrigation Commission Ltd. had lovely 3-D models.
The WUSC Caribbean’s PROPEL (Promotion of Regional Opportunities for Produce through Enterprises and Linkages) were represented. Their Canadian Project ensures safe, effective and efficient movement of produce from the farm to high value markets such as hotels, restaurants etc. Crops supported in this project include Greenhouse vegetables, Onions, Ginger, Irish Potato, Sweet Yams and Sweet Potatoes.
The Cottage Farmers won Best Display Booth but Suga didn’t find them t o be that impressive. They are usually low in the standings so kudos to them for making a big improvement this year.
Jack’s Hill Community did not compete this year but the Burgesses, well known in the community had an AgroFest 20th Booth displaying Programmes of the Past, lots of pictures with vivid AgroFest memories, Liqueurs, Wines, Mrs B’s Honey, Jelly, Bammy, Rabbits and more.
I must also mention the unique fruits they had that persons did not have to buy but could come by and sample such as Black Sapote, Jaboticaba, Pink Grapefruit, Suriname and Caribbean Cherry and Clementine. Who knew Cherries could be spicy? Naseberries and Ripe Banana were also there. Other booths had fruits as well including Melons, Pineapples, Otaheite Apples and more.
Mr. Paul and Mrs. Veronica Burgess were recognised with plaques showing appreciation for 20 years of Support and Committed Partnership to the staging of AgroFest.
Jewellery, Pots, Clutch purses and Art booths were present as well. Certainly not a part of agriculture but definitely a part of Brand Jamaica, as the products were all locally made.
The winner of the Farm Queen Competition was announced too late, a bit after 7pm when it was quite dark surrounding the stage. AgroFest was advertised to be from 8am to 8pm. So they need to work on the lighting next year or finish all entertainmrnt within a certain time, because all the booths were pulled down by that time as well.
With that aside it was a lovely day. I enjoyed fresh coconut water, Jamaican food from Martin’s Jerk and Catering and my Guava slush. I also saw that the kids enjoyed the rides, bounce-a-bout, animals, clowns and balloons.
Most importantly, I thoroughly enjoyed the Performance of the Breadfruit dance. How could you have AgroFest and not ‘do di dance’?!