It's a family affair!
MORANT BAY, St Thomas:
During his time as St Thomas parish agricultural manager for the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Caswell Glover tried to find solutions to the marketing problems that plagued farmers across the parish.
Now, after his retirement, Glover has put into practice some of those solutions on his own farms in Pear Tree River and Rozelle. But it is not just Caswell Glover's ingenuity that makes his G Lovers Orchard a success. It is also the dedication and hard work of the Glover family.
"It is a family-run business," he told Family and Religion. "My wife and my daughter have integral roles in the business; my wife does the purchasing of supplies in Kingston, and my daughter is in charge of marketing. Now that it's summer, I also have my two grandsons," said Glover.
Started in 2014, G Lovers Orchard is the realisation of a long-held dream. The farms produce mangoes, bananas, coconuts, red coat plums, cherries, plantains, guavas and guineps. But it is the agro-processing facilities of which Glover is most proud. The family produces bananas, breadfruit and cassava chips, as well as traditional juices like sorrel, ginger beer, carrot, beet, lemonade and coconut, which are packaged and sold under the G Lovers Orchard brand to schools, higglers, supermarkets and gas stations across the parish.
The Glovers also cater to diabetics with juices that have no added sugar, and produce oil from coconuts, using the traditional means, for sale.
Glover explains that the inspiration for the agro-processing facility came from his own work in St Thomas as well as several weeks he had spent in Vietnam, where every family farm engaged in agro-processing.
"With inadequate storage, an immediate market is needed. But by processing some of the fruits and adding a label, simple value is added and another market opens up for the processed goods. I am living what I taught the farmers during my time at RADA," he said.
Glover and his daughter, Jamila, are usually to be found at agri-expos and events across the parish, finding new markets and customers for their products. The Glovers also hold a farmers' market on their Rozelle farm every last Friday of the month, where they also serve crayfish soup, cassava dumpling, run down, roast breadfruit and other traditional Jamaican foods. Glover is hoping to eventually expand his markets overseas, especially to areas in North America.
Glover told Family and Religion that while his farms are the fulfilment of a personal dream, they are also a legacy for his grandsons, though he acknowledges that they may very well choose a different path.
"My farms are a permanent structure. They will be here for them, but we know that young people don't always walk the path we did. They may choose to leave. But it is my legacy, and if they want to have it, it will be here for them." he said.