Future bright for home-made products

Published: Thursday | August 6, 2009

Barbara Ellington, Lifestyle Editor

Left: Manchester's cassava coconut cake is proudly displayed by Ann Marie Griffiths. Right: Charmaine Hepburn, home economics officer for Hanover, shows off breadfruit tea bread. - PHOTOS BY Barbara Ellington

If you visited the parish pavilions at this year's annual Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show, at least two thoughts would pop into your head:

1. We have an enormous pool of culinary talent and the ability to create new recipes;

2. Why the hell can't we make this creativity sustainable by living off the things we grow whether in fresh or processed foods form?

After seeing the displays in the four pavilions I visited, I can only say well done to all the home economics experts, the parish co-ordinators and women in their tiny kitchens in the nooks and crannies of each parish, who once again showcased some excellent Jamaican-made products.


I was particularly impressed with Charmaine Hepburn and her team who exhibited 24 products made from breadfruit. That parish is believed to have been the first place to receive a plant of the popular starch. Their offerings included: breadfruit tea bread, breadfruit cake, breadfruit pudding, breadfruit rosebuds, breadfruit cookies, breadfruit chips, breadfruit flour, breadfruit fudge, breadfruit bread and lots more.

St Elizabeth

The emphasis was on pumpkin and there were: pumpkin soup mix, pumpkin flour, sweet potato flour, dasheen flour, corn asham, peanut asham, green banana flour, cassava flour, breadfruit figs and ginger oatmeal cookies.


Manchester emerged overall winners of all 10 categories judged including marketing and general display. It was a joy for the parish after a long, losing spell.

The parish is known for its production of Irish potato so it was natural to focus the exhibits on it. They made everything from Irish potato fruit cake to Irish potato buns, Irish potato pudding, Irish potato bread, sweet and sour Irish Potato, Irish potato jam (which was combined with pineapple), Irish potato in brine ready to eat, Irish potato cereal (plain or mixed with fruit), Irish potato pancake mix, Irish potato wine, Irish potato cookies and Irish potato rock buns.


Trelawny was not to be outdone and we saw a cassava porridge mix, cassava seasoning and the original cassava starch as well as cassava gari and cassava cereal mix!

The downside is that except for Hanover, when I visited pavilions on Saturday, there were no experts there to give any information or recipes for the impressive array of items. Whereas I understand the need for the staff on duty to take bathroom and other breaks, why were there not stacks of recipes and other product information and why not have a shift system so that someone who has some knowledge of the products on show, can always be present at all times?

Breadfruit cake

Breadfruit cake from Hanover.

Manchester's Irish potato pudding.

Cassava pudding.