sightseeing foodToursTaste of Jamaica Farm Tour – Medicinal Herbs
TOURING THE PLANT SECTION OF THE FARM
Welcome to our farm tour! This tour gives you the opportunity to experience what life on a farm feels like. The farm which we have selected for the tour is divided into two sections – the animal and plant sections. In this article, we’ll be showing you some of the interesting things to look out for when you visit the plant section of the farm. Here are some features of the farm’s plant section:
- Organic Vegetable Garden
An organic vegetable garden is a type of garden where vegetables and plants are grown without the use of artificial fertilizers or chemicals. This simply means that, all the plants in the garden are grown naturally and only depend on natural nutrients for their nutrition and growth. Vegetables gotten from organic gardens are good for your health because they are 100% natural and contain all the necessary nutrients that your body needs.
Due to the increasing demand for organic foods, lots of people are planting organic vegetable gardens. However, there are few important factors that must be considered before an organic vegetable garden is cultivated. They include:
- Soil: Since no chemicals or artificial fertilizers will be added to support the growth and nutrition of the vegetables and plants, the organic garden needs to cited in a place with very fertile soil. Before the planting begins, the soil needs to be tilled, to loosen it. After tilling, organic fertilizers or compost manure can be added to the soil, to enhance its performance.
Note: It’s important to avoid artificial fertilizers, as using them will defeat the purpose of the garden.
- Location: The location of an organic garden is very important; it largely determines how well the plants in the garden will do. For example, vegetables need a lot of sunlight to produce their own food (photosynthesis) and grow, so planting them in an area without sunlight would affect them negatively.
- Vegetable Type: There are different kinds of vegetables out there, but not all are suitable for an organic vegetable garden. While some vegetables are prone to pest attacks and diseases, some others are disease-resistant and can do well even with low-maintenance. Organic vegetable farmers usually avoid the former and go for the latter. Here’s why: The main goal for planting an organic garden is to grow vegetables without the use of chemicals. So while planting, it’s important to avoid vegetable seeds that’ll require pesticide treatment in the future.
- Planting Technique: Most vegetable seeds come with planting instructions, boldly written on their packages. Vegetables like that require special care, and the instructions must be followed for them to thrive. Depending on the type of vegetable, the seeds can either be planted in a pot and later transferred to the soil or planted directly in the ground.
- Watering: Different vegetables need different amounts of water to survive. While some need to stay moist for most part of the day, others just need a little water for their survival. During watering, the vegetable leaves are avoided, because wet leaves attracts pets – it’s better to water the roots.
- Medicinal Herb Garden
A medicinal herb garden is a type of garden where different kinds of medicinal plants are grown with the goal of serving the needs of general health maintenance. You may be wondering, “what are medicinal plants then?”
A medicinal plant is described as any type of plant that can be used to cure or prevent certain kind of diseases in the human body. You may not know this but the truth is, about 25% of all prescription drugs are gotten from plants and over 70% of pharmaceuticals are made from components found in plants. To a large extent, medicinal plants have provided mankind with different kinds of potent drugs to help reduce the prevalence of infections and chronic diseases. Millions of people across the world use plant-based drugs, and despite the continuous advancement in synthetic drugs, some of the plant-derived drugs still remain important and relevant. Medicinal plants can be used or consumed in different forms. They can be used as powders, salves, herbal baths and teas, extracts or syrups.
As you take a walk around the medicinal herb garden, the tour guide will show you over 30 different kinds of herbs and also explain their uses to you. Below is a list of herbs you’ll likely come across.
- Ackee (Leaf): One of the most popular foods in Jamaica is the combination of Ackee leaf and salted cod fish. Locals call it “Ackee and salt fish”. The Ackee leaf can also be used to make tea. It is believed that tea made from ackee leaves can treat colds and flu.
- Aloe Vera: The Aloe Vera plant has a lot of medicinal benefits. It can be used to fight infections, support the immune system, decrease the inflammation in arthritis, improve the skin, cure ulcers and heartburn, and improve cardiovascular health.
- Annatto: No part of the annatto plant is a waste; the bark, leaves and seeds can be used for medicinal purposes. This herb is the major ingredient in a product called Cumsee Lotion which can be used to treat ulcers, lower blood pressure, reduce pain etc.
- Basil: Tea made from this herb can serve as a remedy for stomach upset.
- Bissy (Kola Nut): The Jamaicans call kola nut “Bissy”. It is a herb popularly known for it’s ability to neutralize poison in the body. However, it can also be used to reduce menstrual cramp pains and cure nausea, headaches, vomiting, indigestion, rheumatism, jaundice etc.
- Cerasee: The Cerasee plant produces a bitter taste when boiled, however, people still consume Cerasee tea because of it’s ability to cure stomach upsets.
- Cinnamon: Normally, cinnamon leaves are used as spices in the preparation of foods, however, they can also be boiled and consumed as a remedy for stomach upset, cold and vomiting.
- Fever Grass: In other parts of the world, this medicinal plant is known as ‘lemon grass’. However, Jamaican locals prefer to call it fever grass because of its curative properties – it is believed that a tea made from fever grass is a good remedy for fever. Fever grass can also be used to cure headaches, stomach aches and urinary infections.
- Coffee Farm
Coffee farming is described as the practice of growing coffee seeds for the purpose of consumption and further processing.
Coffee is consumed by millions of people worldwide, as a seed and as a by-product. The coffee industry is so big that it provides jobs for almost 124 million people across the globe. While it’s great to have a cup of coffee drink every now and then, it’s also important to know where coffee comes from, how it is grown and how it is processed.
How Is Coffee Farming Done?
Thee are three major types of coffee farms. They include:
- Organic coffee farms
- High production coffee farms
- Small family-owned farms
- Organic Coffee Farms: This type of coffee farm promotes the practice of growing coffee without the use of use of pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals. In organic coffee farms, the yields are usually healthy and the ripening happens naturally within few weeks. Before a coffee farm can be called organic, it must fulfil the following criteria:
- The farm must have been involved in the production of coffee without pesticides, for at least three years.
- Their pest control method must not involve pesticides and their soil should only be fertilized with compost manure and organic fertilizers.
Due to its high quality, organic coffee is usually more expensive than standard coffee beans.
- High Production Farms: Just like the name implies, this type of coffee farm focuses on producing high volumes of coffee seeds for food industries. Almost 20% of coffee farms around world are operated in this manner. High productions farms are mostly found in Mexico and Vietnam.
- Small Family-Owned Farms
Do you know that over 80% of the world’s coffee is produced by small-scale farmers? Well, over 125 million people are employed by coffee farming and 25 million are coffee farmers. They the ones who make it possible for you to have a cup of coffee every morning.
On maturity, coffee plants produce fruits and the seeds are called ‘beans’. Most people eat the coffee fruit raw, however, it’s not a common practice.
How Many Weeks Does It Take For Coffee To Mature?
After the coffee seeds are planted, it takes about three to four years for the coffee plant to produce its first fruit. After the plant blossoms and produces its first fruit, the cherries take another one year to mature.
How Is Coffee Dried?
It takes about six weeks to process coffee properly. Firstly, the coffee is placed under the sun to dehydrate the cherry and prevent the fruit from deteriorating. To dry the coffee, aerated and raised beds are used. While the coffee is being dried by the sun, the farmers usually turn the coffee to ensure uniform dehydration. When there’s rainfall, the cherries are covered.
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