Bussu Soup: A Taste of Portland

Overhead view of ORCS students eating Bussu SoupWhen traveling to Portland, having a cup of Bussu Soup is a cultural experience, exclusive to this parish, that all must have. Bussu is found in the waters of the Rio Grande and its contributing tributaries. So what is Bussu? Bussu is a small freshwater shellfish similar to snail or conch. It is removed from the water, shelled, boiled until tender in soup.

At Restoration Village Farm, our version of Bussu Soup includes Irish (white potatoes), carrots, noodles (packages of noodle soup mix), dasheen, dumplings (boiled flour mix), pumpkin, coconut juice, pimento, thyme, escallion (scallion) and of course Bussu.

ORCS students eating Bussu SoupBussu Soup is served on special occasions. The pictures show children from the Operation Restoration Christian School enjoying a cup of Bussu during their recent field trip to the farm.

Schedule your Restoration Village Farm visit for a chance at A Taste of Portland with the exclusive, exquisite Bussu Soup by clicking here or selecting Book Your Tour in the dropdown menu under Agritourism.

Let us know your group needs and we can plan a Bussu soup day for you.

Things To Do At Restoration Village Farm

  1. 2Enjoy a relaxing dip in our wading pool surrounded by gently flowing waterfalls
  2. Eat authentic Jamaican food
  3. Take in Jamaica’s beauty (Blue Mountains, John Crow Mountains, and various flowers and blossoms growing on the farm)
  4. Spot a beautiful doctor bird (Jamaica’s national bird) or one of Jamaica’s other endemic or native birds, and
  5. Participate in a cultural experience that highlights the true essence of Jamaican living in Toms Hope, Portland, Jamaica.

In addition to being a working farm, we offer 45-60 minute guided walking tours through the property. After ascending the stairway carved directly into the hillside that is accented with various trees and flowers, one of the first stops is Restoration Village Farm’s natural wading pool and waterfall. The area is surrounded with large shade trees, colourful benches, and a changing room where guests can put on their swimsuits to take a dip.

140825 Young Doctor bird AKA streamertail hummingbirdWhether you stop at the wading pool or continue your climb up the tour path, the fresh air is filled with the chirps and hums of the numerous endemic (i.e. exclusively Jamaican) birds. You may spot the beautiful iridescent colours of Jamaica’s national bird (the swallow tail humming bird or “doctor bird”)  as it hovers over the bright blossoms of the heliconia or rests in the branches of a moringa tree.

140116 Blue mountainsThroughout the tour, when there’s a break in the lush leaves of the trees, be prepared to take in the breathtakingly stunning views of the John Crow Mountains and the world renowned Blue Mountains. Look in any direction and you will be blessed with the sights of Jamaica’s natural beauty. Remember to bring your camera!

140801 Billy grilling jerk chickenWhen the tour is over, your final destination is the Village Centre where the kitchen and shaded dining area are located. It is here where you can participate in a cultural experience that highlights the true essence of Toms Hope living by enjoying a “farm-hand” style lunch. Chef Billy picks various crops directly from the land to prepare food and drink for farm-hands and guests alike.

Click here or select Book Your Tour in the dropdown menu under Agritourism to schedule your visit today!

The Farm Is An Agri-Tourism Destination

The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center defines agritourism as the act of visiting a working farm or any agricultural, horticultural or agribusiness operation to enjoy, be Unknowneducated or be involved in activities. As the idea of agritourism grows in popularity, Restoration Village Farm is happy to offer an authentic agritourism experience to Jamaicans and agri-lovers all over the world.

IMG_2966Located 5 miles south of Port Antonio in Toms Hope, Portland, Jamaica, Restoration Village Farm is decorated by breathtaking views of the John Crow Mountains and the world-renowned Blue Mountains. We feature a 45-60 minute walking tour (detailed on our Agritourism page), a waterfall accompanied by a wading pool, multiple shaded areas with benches, a full kitchen and dining area operated by our very own chef (who prepares lunch with crops harvested direct from the farm) and of course, complimentary fresh coconut water supplied directly from Restoration Village Farm’s coconut trees.

140710 Blue Mountains 3When branding ourselves as an agritourism destination it is very important that we take care of the beautiful land God provided for us. All of our farming practices are eco-friendly in the sense that we do not use any chemicals or machinery that could be harmful to the environment.

130319 Solar generator

 

Restoration Village Farm is also minimizing the amount of greenhouse gasses used to operate the farm by using a portable solar generator for electrical purposes.  We take personal responsibility for our role in global warming by reducing our contribution to the carbon footprint as much as possible.

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We invite you to visit Restoration Village Farm to explore, discover and taste some of the best Portland, Jamaica has to offer. Click here or select Book Your Tour in the dropdown menu under Agritourism to enjoy your next agritour, Jamaican retreat or family reunion. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Current Activities On The Farm

Jerry sleeving banana

Jerry sleeving banana

A university professor and two of his students visited the farm for a tour and to gather information for a case study on agri-tourism.  The University students plus a number of their peers plan to return for a weekend stay for a more in-depth experience.

Agriculturally, we have harvested and sold pumpkins and cocoa, we have finished planting an expanded acreage of banana suckers, and we are in the process of digging over 1,000 holes for dasheen suckers. Plantains and bananas are shooting.

This Week On The Farm

Jerry sleeving banana

Jerry sleeving banana

This week on the farm we continued preparing land for planting more bananas, we cleared drainage ditches in the cocoa field, we placed sleeves on the young banana bunches to protect them from insects, other critters, and bruising from the banana leaf hitting the fruit during strong winds. In addition, we earmarked pumpkins for harvesting next week.

The Miracle Fruit

[corner-ad id=1]IMG_2825We were first introduced to the Miracle Fruit in Florida at a botanical garden.  We currently have two miracle fruit trees on the farm.  Typically, guests to the farm have doubts about the veracity of our story about the fruit until they participate in the demonstration. We proclaim that if you eat the miracle fruit berry like you would a guinep, that is put the whole berry in your mouth and for about two minutes use your teeth to scrape off the pulp that surrounds the seed and swallow the pulp, that anything you taste afterwards within the next 30 minutes to an hour will taste sweet.  (Like a guinep you should not swallow the seed of the miracle fruit.)  This story is greeted with skepticism.  To overcome the skepticism, we provide each visitor with a wedge of lime (from our own tree) and ask them to verify that the lime is not sweet, then we provide each with a miracle fruit and ask them to eat it.  After eating the miracle fruit, we again ask them to bite into the lime.  Most are very tentative about biting into the lime.  However, once they bite or taste the lime and how sweet the lime now tastes, they are astounded.  Some say we are tricking them.  Others have this incredible look on their faces.  The miracle fruit is a reason to visit the farm.

Now That The Drought Has Broken

[corner-ad id=1]IMG_2836All hands are now directed to farming activities.  We have regenerated a more effective seed bed, ploughed (using forks) land for the preparation of planting vegetable seedlings, dug holes for planting more bananas, planted bananas, dug closed-end trenches along the contours of the hillside to control erosion and capture runoff, planted more pineapple suckers, and continued to clear more land for planting.  Our current crops that survived the drought have perked up considerably.  The crops that survived the drought are bananas, plantains, cocoa, pineapples, and ginger.  They survived, but did not grow much during the drought.