Our company Belcour Preserves started because we are lucky enough to live in this beautiful place called Belcour – French for “beautiful heart” or “beautiful court” – nestled in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains.
The brand’s name originates from “Belcour Lodge”, the property where we live, which was originally an 18th Century coffee farm. The 7-acre property has been in the family for over 25 years and is situated in the foothills of Jamaica’s Blue Mountains.
Being here, and following my interest in gardening and food, things have evolved organically into producing Blue Mountain honey and homemade fruit preserves, condiments and hot pepper sauces. We have guavas, citrus and pineapples growing on the property and our own apiary at Belcour with seventy-five colonies. Our honey was integral to developing our products and we put honey into everything we make as our Belcour signature flavour.
Our business grew out of a desire to create wholesome, gourmet, Jamaican food products, utilising natural, home-grown Jamaican produce, made in traditional ways. Instead of jams we chose to make preserves, which are made out of bits of fruit as opposed to jam from a puree. We also use old-fashioned recipes, like my grandmother’s tomato chutney recipe and traditional preserving techniques including: sugar, the sun, honey, vinegar and heat.
Our aim is to develop a homegrown industry that uses Jamaica’s uniquely delicious fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices in a virtuous cycle – one which is environmentally-friendly and promotes sustainable development. As such, we support our local farmers. An important Part of our company’s ethos is our belief in the concept of preservation; preservation of our traditions, culture and the life of our planet. Implicit in this concept is a reverence for the sanctity of life.
We’ve been selling our products locally to cafes, specialty food stores and tourist gift shops for over five years and with encouragement and support from family & friends and with the continued growth in demand and acceptance of the products in the market place, we are in the process of expanding our operation to meet this demand.
I think our consumers buy our products because they can taste the “love” we put into every bottle. This stems from our simple philosophy about food: good tasting food depends on fresh, delicious, wholesome ingredients. This is not a new concept, but like many unsustainable practices being unearthed today, food manufacturers often try convince us that they are selling good tasting food that is good for us, when they are in fact using unhealthy additives and substitutes to increase their profit.
We have made a point of not using artificial ingredients, colours or preservatives in our products. I know through this new stage of expansion, our ingenuity and integrity will be tested every step of the way, but we will strive to remain true to our mission, to capture the best Jamaican flavours and deliver them, with love and care, to our consumers.
At Belcour, we also offer a garden and apiary tour of the Belcour Estate, alongside cooking classes, brunch, lunch or tea. Visits are offered by appointment only. Blue Mountain culinary tours are also done in association with other farmers in the area. Visitors tour farms, where world-famous Blue Mountain coffee is grown, visit our Belcour apiary where they can taste our honey, preserves and condiments, and they can also tour organic farms and experience other delicious things grown in the surrounding environs of the Blue Mountains of Jamaica.
Belcour’s Tropical Honey
We presently have an apriary with over 75 bee colonies at Belcour. Our hives produce a delicate, multiflora amber honey in the cool, misty, coffee growing region of the Blue Mountains of Jamaica.
Honey is an ancient, healthy and delicious alternative to sugar, also known as “liquid gold”, “sweetness and light”, “a gift from the gods”, honey has long enjoyed many such accolades.
Bee Keeping can be mystical and has perpetuated myths of “bee charmers”, the idea that there are some people blessed with a special or spiritual connection with the bees. I have noticed over time that our bees rarely sting us. They visit our home often, buzzing around the lights at night, but I believe they are somehow grateful that we rear them and despite their size, they are intelligent and sensitive creatures.
Honey can be used in teas and coffee, on toast, in yogurt, on fruit, in porridge and cereal and as a substitute in many recipes that call for sugar. Diabetics should consult a doctor, however, before using as honey is high in fructose and has 64 calories per tbs. I like to drizzle a little honey on pork chops, lamb and chicken or on vegetables when I’m cooking.
I am an avid gardener and our bees and I have a perfectly symbiotic relationship, I plant and they eat; the more fruit trees and flowers I grow, the more flavour our honey has.
Honey and pollen are supposed to have many salubrious properties. Honey consumption is said to be directly related to increased levels of polyphenols – antioxidant compounds found in fruit and vegetables and have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. Maybe Winnie-the-Pooh was indeed on to something.
I originally got into bee keeping because I thought they would enhance my garden, so our bees are the lucky recipients of my many years of gardening and my obsessive collecting of many species of plants. A friend once told me that all gardeners are larcenists at heart and I believe this is true as I have often gone to great lengths to acquire a “must have” plant.
I think of my delving into bee keeping and condiment making as an intersection of my passions to cook and to garden, and as is said in Paulo Coella’s book The Alchemist, when you find your passion the universe helps you.
Belcour Blue Mountain Honey is multiflora honey because our bees forage a radius of about 3 miles , so they may go way beyond the confines of our farm and the Mammee river valley.
The apiary at Belcour is situated on a well-fruited 7-acre garden. The garden is divided into six areas: the top garden by the tennis court is mostly a citrus orchard dominated by ortaniques trees, the triangle garden abuts our neighbours 10 acre coffee farm and goes down to the Mamee river. It is home to many bee colonies and a various other fruit and flowering trees. The vegetation along the river bank is completely wild and there grow many species of palms, which the bees love. The gazebo garden near to the house vanda orchids, heliconias and some bamboo, behind the house also has many fruit trees, ginger and musa. The pineapple plot also has Ackee, other fruit trees such as guavas, mangoes, a herb garden.
Related Links - Belcour’s History