Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Made in Jamaica : Love the skin you’re in with Yerba Buena

Published:Sunday | May 28, 2017 | 5:00 AMKrysta Anderson
Clare Licher cutting leaves to begin the extraction process.
Agape Adam's beautiful line of soaps. From left: Lavender, Peppermint Cerasee and Cinnamon.
Patrick Planter/ Photographer Want to really love the skin you're in? Pick up a few of Agape Apiaries All Natural Honey Soap today!
Agape Adams sharing her knowledge on good herbs.
Danielle Hoogenboom sorts leaves fom the harvest.
Danielle Hoogenboom (left) and Agape Adams, gather leaves to begin their work on Yerba Buena Farm Jamaica in Strawberry Fields, St Mary.
Leaves being cut to begin the oil extraction process.
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Made in Jamaica

Love the skin you're in with Yerba Buena

As part of the Made in Jamaica series, we will be honouring some of our locally grown and manufactured products - after all, nuh wey nuh betta dan yard - by shining some light on their history and the beauty behind some of them.

We have all heard about loving the skin you're in. But how many of us really show our skin the love it needs and truly deserves? Today, Outlook features the nurturing nature of Yerba Buena Farms - focusing on their brand of organic soaps.

According to owner Agape Adams, the business became a joint venture between herself and her husband, Kwao. "When we came together and started thinking about what we wanted to do with our lives, he brought me back to his family land in Strawberry Fields St Mary. The houses were gone, so we lived in a tent while we built a house. We grew our own vegetables, ate from the fruit trees that his parents planted, and started the second generation of his family on this land," she explained.

When it came to skincare, she noted that making natural soap has had a long history among the women in her family. "My mother taught us how to make soap 20 years ago. My mother still has soap that my grandmother made - which I consider to be the best in the world! It still smells so good, after so many years. Soap has taken good care of our family, and it's like a long-term love affair. We love coming up with new scents, and have a lot of fun making every batch."

Adams used that passion and history to create Yerba Buena Farms and Agape's Aspiaries All Natural Honey Soap. They worked assiduously to develop their own recipes.

Making natural soap without artificial scents, colourants, preservatives or additives, was something Adams always prided herself on. She recognises the skin as the body's largest organ absorbing much of what we put on it. So she advises that we avoid using toxic chemicals, not only in our foods, but in the products we use on our body. "We use essential oils, which are natural oils from plants - like peppermint, rosemary, basil and others. We also keep our price reasonably low. We want to be the daily soap bar for normal Jamaican people," she explained.

Their list of scents changes all the time, but right now, they have fevergrass, lavender, peppermint, cinnamon, rosemary, basil, tangerine, lemon/honey/ginger, unscented, cerassee, coconut milk and many more.

 

The process

 

The outcome was not only healthy but sweet, even though the process was a long and taxing one. After living in the United States for more than five years, they began their soap business there, and while it blossomed with them supplying health food stores all over the country, it pushed them deeper and deeper in debt. It was there that they decided to return to their roots and build from the ground up. Plus, they wanted their children to be raised in Jamaica.

Six years later, the business has been slowly and steadily growing - debt free. "When a product is made in Jamaica, it means that it is infused with our powerful and cool vibe. We plan to step up our business and make 30,000 bars. That will force us to go out and actively market our soap; to take it seriously as a business again," Adams told Outlook confidently.

Because the family doesn't eat sugar, they keep about 100 bee colonies to supply their family with honey. They use the wax to make soap, shampoo, laundry soap, candles, and lotion. "We love essential oils, and are surrounded by aromatic plants like cinnamon, pimento, fevergrass and the list goes on. Jamaica is so rich in aromatic plants, but we are not really making full use of them. We are on a mission to learn as much as we can about the distillation of essential oils from all of the aromatic plants in Jamaica. Whatever we learn, we will share with other interested people through the Jamaica Essential Oil Distillation Project. As we develop our skill, we will distil the oils that we need for our soap and the plain cream that we make with our beeswax. We are really having a lot of fun distilling essential oils," Adams stated.

When asked what can people expect from her products, Adams said they can anticipate practicality and affordability, enjoying the natural bursts from each flavour. She noted, "We make soap that resonates, and Jamaica honey from Jamaican bees - that resonates. So, maybe we can't compete when someone who just wants something cheap, but when it comes to beauty, power, strength and vibes, I think Jamaica is hard to beat and people should recognise that." So, what are you waiting for? Love the skin you're in with Yerba Buena today.

For more information, you can find Yerba Buena Farms Jamaica on Facebook or visit their website at https://yerbabuenafarmjamaica.com.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com