Friday, January 8, 2010

Bellevue chopin organic farm tour, Dominica

Growing up in Dominica, whenever I was sick, there was always someone around who knew the best herbal remedy. Grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles were experts on teas, baths, potions and poltices to cure any problem. As our knowledge of herbal medicines seems to be diminishing, ironically the same remedies, fruits, herbs etc are being announced as the latest miracle cures or wonder drugs; noni, mangosteen, soursop, sorrel etc etc; you name it, most likely it is something our parents or grandparents already knew about. That knowledge may also account for our high percentage of centenarians.
Dominica's agricultural landscape, the climate and our way of life have certainly changed over the years and I find I am more often lamenting I cannot find this fruit or that plant remembered from childhood.
Luckily for us, there are a growing number of people trying to restore some of this knowledge and replanting the herbs, fruits and plants that seem to be getting rarer and rarer.
One such group are the Bellevue Chopin Organic Farmers Group. (
I recently went on a tour of their herbal organic farm belonging to the very knowledgeable organic farmer Roy Ormond and his wife Cheryl.
What a fantastic trip down memory lane and also a fascinating and informative insight into the vast array of herbal remedies available to us in Dominica.
After the walk around the farm, packed with so many different plants, herbs, trees and flowers, I sucked on cocoa pods, tasted juicy shaddock and drank delicious herbal tea...ahhhh
I am a big fan of realistic, sustainable community tourism efforts that incorporate the local community and can appeal to both resident and visitor. Although the tour is an agrotourism product, the farm is an exisiting working farm, which can function in it's own right and has not been artificially created just for tourists. It is the "real deal" and that authenticity is what made the tour especially enjoyable for me.
The group hope to eventually have 4 farm tours available: anthuriums, creole, composts and herbs and the reception centre should be completed soon. I think it's a great initiative and really wish them every success with it.

Photos from farm tour:

Copyright Celia Sorhaindo