Our local farm was the foundation of the business, paving and providing the capital for our two establishments now Mirage Resort and Charela Inn. The farm, spanning 174 acres of hillside and flat terrain, supplies a great deal of the produce used in our restaurant at Charela Inn. Its proximity paired with the knowledge and care of our farm manager are two key ingredients to the quality of the food we serve. Populated by sheep, cattle, goats and chickens, the livestock there keep us with a fresh supply of meat and eggs. The success and quality of our breakfasts can be attributed to this as well. Many crops find call Cocoa Farms home, including calaloo, cabbage, lettuce, okra, string beans, ackee, as well as a variety of fruit including delicious mangoes when in season.
Hidden in the hills of Cocoa, a beautiful freshwater spring emerges from the rock to supply our plants and animals with that precious liquid gold, void of chemicals or other water system impurities. Beautiful landscapes, caressed by the gentle winds of Hanover, provide not only fertile soil for growth, but peace, and serenity nestled just off the West Coast of Jamaica.
Here are some excerpts from a phone interview with Mr. Grizzle for the Jamaica Observer regarding the properties and farm:
“All the furniture is made locally. I find that my guests appreciate that. We try to be as Jamaican as possible,” said Grizzle who is also director (emeritus) at the Negril Chamber of Commerce.
Some 95 per cent of the hotel’s food is grown at the 170-acre farm in Hanover, said Grizzle, who is also a trained farmer.
“The lamb is made locally and the guests appreciate that. We raise chickens and beef. The vegetables are mostly produced by local farmers and I grow a little myself,” he said. “The guests enjoy the fact that they are eating food close to the property.”
The farm employs eight full-time workers and another eight seasonal ones, while the hotel employs 50, he said.
Grizzle indicated that linking tourism and agriculture provides financial and personal benefits.
“I am very keen on maximising our Jamaican inputs. We try for our guests to see the real Jamaica. As a hotelier and farmer, there is a pride in providing jobs whilst also being able to maintain a large amount of the tourist spend in Jamaica.”
Government wants more hotels to adopt closer linkages with the agriculture sector in order to reduce the island’s trade deficit currently at some US$2.2 billion for the first six months of 2013, according to data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica.
“The farm increases our value- added tremendously by using home- grown products, and by not substituting with foreign imports more of the money stays in Jamaica. The people on my farm are there because of tourism. A lot more people need to understand the linkages between tourism and agriculture.”