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Eastern Hanover hobby farmer reaps 140lb Mozella yam

Published:Monday | March 22, 2021 | 12:20 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer


It took two field handlers two hours to unearth the 140lb Mozella yam that Denville ‘Fuzzy’ Reid reaped from his Welcome district farm in eastern Hanover two weeks ago.

This is the largest head of yam the businessman, who does farming as a hobby, has ever reaped since he got his hands dirty in agriculture in 2012, and it is the second time the weight has made news.

Three years ago, he was gifted with 120lb from the farm that has passed from generation to generation.

“I got four heads of the yam from my mother, Beryl Grey, who inherited the farming culture from my grandmother, Ethel Grey, who was the largest Mozella producer in the 1950s and ‘60s. She taught me how to grow the yam,” Reid told The Gleaner.

The Mozella is cultivated differently from other yams, Reid said. First, the hole is dug weeks before planting and mulched with grass, pimento branches, and soursop, as well as old prescription paper from Reid’s pharmacy.

“When I burn the prescription paper, it forms potassium,” he said, adding that plants needed sufficient supplies of nitrate and phosphate to thrive.

He credits the size of his yams, too, to his cultivation regimen and the limestone-rich soil.

Reid plants an average of 80 banks each year and gives away at least three dozen heads (30 banks) annually.

“I have never sold food, I always give it away,” he told The Gleaner.

The Mozella, when it is being dug, may appear to be the yellow yam variety but changes to purple a few days after draining. The taste is a cross between the yellow and Negro yams. Usually, it takes between 45 minutes and an hour to be cooked and is best eaten warm.

A teacher by profession, Reid, who returned to Jamaica in 2008 after living in Brooklyn, New York, for 33 years, spent 27 of those years operating the popular Cheffy’s Restaurant in that borough.

He currently owns and operates Trinity Pharmacy in Montego Bay and cultivates yam and gungo peas.