Viv's Manna will buy all your breadfruit!
Vivienne Green Evans could not contain the itch of having her own business - and one involving roast breadfruit - given the demand for a piece of her mother's supply when she took it from Jamaica to the United States.
Her mother would cut, carve and share with them, but not before hiding a stash in her freezer, which would last for months until more came. That was several years ago.
Fast-forward to Expo Jamaica 2018, the journalist and nurse-turned-entrepreneur showcased Viv's Manna, a small business operating from Patrick City in St Andrew with 12 employees and targeting the Jamaican diaspora in the United States.
She offers roast breadfruit slices and breadfruit flour. Last Sunday's offering of breadfruit muffins was a hit with visitors, while requests for the flour were rapid.
"It is something that just kept gnawing at me, so I left journalism for nursing. I make a lot of money as a nurse, but this is what I love. And I am going to leave nursing for it," Green Evans, the former editor for education at the Jamaica Observer, told The Gleaner.
"So it started locally in 2004 with processed sliced breadfruit in one local supermarket. When I migrated to the US, I would make four trips annually to Jamaica, subsidised by my nursing salary, to see to operations here," she explained.
With competition in the last two years, she wants to buy as much St Mary, Portland and St Thomas breadfruit as she can. Competition has also brought increased prices for the product, which is also available in Jamaica.
"But I will take all the breadfruit I can get. Remember, this is a seasonal product. We sell to distributors who sell to restaurants. I can tell you, it's a hit with the Fijians, Samoans, and Hawaiians, and we have been getting enquiries from over the world for the product to be shipped to them," she said yesterday.
Expansion is under way for increased production with additional factory space and new machinery for a more refined flour.
Power of breadfruit
Breadfruits are said to contain antioxidants and fight age-related diseases. The crushed leaves, when applied to the tongue, also cures thrush.
Described as a rich source of energy and a primary source of carbohydrates, high in fibre, it decreases cholesterol and triglycerides.
The preservative-free sliced roast breadfruit is done in a special way to keep the moisture for months, Green Evans said.