MANGO SEASON PROMPTS MANGO PROCESSING IN APU
Mango Season is here and we have numerous local round mango trees that are bearing fruit.
Our Agricultural Processing Unit is where we develop marketable products from the produce we grow here at Beacon Farms.
Of course we have tried our hand at the ubiquitous mango jam with good results.
While developing this product we aim to come up with a jam that preserves and highlights the true flavour of the mangoes that go into it. To do this we have been making batches with less and less sugar until we produce the perfect blend of fragrant mango and sweetness.
Another mango product that is in development is delicious mango juice. Nothing is better with breakfast! Of course, producing mango juice (or any juice on a commercial scale) can be time and labour intensive, so we are experimenting with using our hydro-presses for this purpose.
These are the same presses we use in our coconut oil processing to squeeze the coconut milk out of the grated coconut!
The juice produced with the presses has been excellent but after the press there is still a lot of flesh on the mangoes.
To deal with that issue, the mangoes left from the juicing process are currently added to the jam pot so every last bit of mango flesh is used!
Mangoes that aren't immediately processed are peeled, vacuum sealed, and frozen for future use. Our hope is that we will be able to supply customers with well preserved mango that can be made into mango dishes even when mangoes are out of season!
AN UNUSUAL FRUIT FOR AN UNUSUAL PRODUCT
Bilimbi are a relative of the star fruit. They are used in South-East Asian cuisine and have a very acidic, tart taste.
We have a few trees here at Beacon Farms that are bearing fruit. And, since we have a multi-cultural population in the Cayman Islands, we thought we would explore the demand for this exotic fruit!
We have sold some of the fresh bilimbi but we are always looking for ways to preserve our produce. One way that we have discovered is to dry the fruit. traditionally this is done outside in the sun, over a number of days, but we have tried using our large drying oven for the process.
The results have been encouraging; producing a tangy, chewy dried piece of bilimbi fruit. These are often used in curries and, based on their taste, we can see why. We will definitely see if this is a product we would like to explore.
SEALING THE APU FLOOR
With all the activity in the Agricultural Processing Unit lately, we recognized that the floor needed a proper cleaning and sealing to prevent stains and to help keep the facility in top sanitary condition.
We hired Roper's to provide this service and they have done a marvelous job! Now mopping up will be a breeze, no more shredded mops!
Thank You Roper's Janitorial Service!
MAKING GUACAMOLE OUT OF STORM-BLOWN AVOCADOS
In Aug, 2021 we had a brush with tropical storm Grace. This storm knocked over quite a few trees on the island, including some of the fruit trees here at Beacon Farms.
We picked our almost ripe avocadoes in the hopes of saving them and managed to save quite a lot but, when we went to sell them, no one was buying. The market was flooded by avocados that had been harvest before the storm!
We decided to not let our avocados go to waste so we peeled and de-seeded them then froze them in vacuum sealed bags. This method of preservation can keep the avocados for up to 6 months. When they are defrosted, they are best for guacamole, smoothies sandwich spread, or for making rich decadent cakes!
APU STAFF COMPLETES TRAINING
Mr. Amjed Zureigat joined the APU team four months ago and has been undergoing intensive training in the processing of Coconut Oil & Flour using machinery.
He has recently been reviewed and did a great job! To recognize this achievement he was awarded a Certificate of Completion.
NEW COCONUT OIL PRODUCT
The APU at Beacon Farms' goal is to successfully develop and process a multitude of products made from the produce grown on our farm.
One such product we have recently experimented with is coconut oil lip balm, made from our very own virgin coconut oil and beeswax. The recipe is pretty simple and quick and the resulting lip balm is wonderful at keeping lips soft and smooth. We can even color our lip balms to give them added appeal and interest!
IMPROVING OUR COCONUT OIL PRODUCTS
The Coconut oil product experiments continue in the APU!
We were excited about our first lip balm trials, that we wanted to improve on the product. We are now packaging the lip balm in tubes and using local beeswax, which we obtained from Mr. Otto Watler's bee farm!
One of the lovely, unexpected benefits of using Mr. Watler's wax is that there seems to be quite a bit of residual honey still in the wax (you can see the yellow colour of the melted wax in the picture below). So the end product is more of a coconut oil/honey lip balm!
We are also improving on the coconut oil soap. We have new molds which give the soaps a pleasing shape. Another possible experiment may be the addition of coconut shell bits which would act as an exfoliating agent. Other possibilities are the addition of fragrances and maybe honey from Mr. Watler's farm. And, of course, we still have to decide on our packaging for the soap before we make it available for sale!