Excess fruit in the Caribbean finds a home in new ice cream line

Joseph E. Doway of Caribbean Farmers Without Borders had growers with excess fruit and had been looking for processing options for that fruit. Meanwhile, Melissa Darville was looking for a better source of fruit for her product. “I had issues with making our ice cream,” she said. “One of them was I had a bottleneck getting fruit. I was importing fruit from Florida and South America and there was always a bottleneck.”

Melissa Darville had supply chain issues getting fruit to make Shiver ice cream. "I was importing fruit from Florida and South America and there was always a bottleneck,” she says.

So Doway proposed a unique, but more radical, solution: open up a factory in Saint Lucia to manufacture Shiver ice cream, a line of tropical flavored sorbets and ice creams, along with opening a storefront location. This way, Darville could have the direct retail pick-up spot for customers she was looking for but also have consistent access to a supply of fruit. And so Shiver Caribbean came to be.

The allure of Saint Lucia
Darville welcomed Doway’s idea. “For me, it wasn’t necessarily about having the business out of the Bahamas. It is important that the business thrives. I knew this was a good idea,” she says, noting she felt this was the breakthrough Shiver needed. “The vegetation in Saint Lucia is so great and the growers have invested so much in farming and have a great farming community. The Bahamas is really all about tourism.”

Shaun Harding of Just Natural Home Grown, Trinidad is one of the suppliers of Soursop for Shiver.

In all, the Shiver line includes the “power five” flavors: Tamarind, Soursop, Mango, Passion fruit and Tropical Blend (a mix of mango, passion fruit and pineapple). At the same time, the move to Saint Lucia has also introduced Darville to some unique products to the region that she’s looking to incorporate including June Plum and Sorrel, but also Breadfruit and Sea moss. “We’re looking to incorporate the Breadfruit into a vegan line of ice cream and are looking at how Sea moss can give the product a nutritional boost. Being in Saint Lucia is opening up more flavors for us,” she says.

More opportunities for growers
In turn, Doway says this is giving Caribbean farmers an opportunity to minimize excess fruit that’s being produced, particularly with mango. “We think more growers will come on as well because most growers, the only two avenues they have are selling to large supermarket chains or exporting and exporting is at a minimum right now. So as this grows, growers will grow with us,” he says, adding that this also may open the doors to more processing opportunities within the Caribbean.

The Shiver line includes the “power five” flavors: Tamarind, Soursop, Mango, Passion fruit and Tropical Blend (a mix of mango, passion fruit and pineapple).

It also gives Darville a closer connection with her ingredient suppliers. “It was always nerve-wracking for me when I saw my fruit getting low. I’d call a supplier and they’d not have any passion fruit so there wasn’t anything I could do because I didn’t have any direct correspondence with farmers,” she says. “Now I can communicate with them directly to let them know what the quantities I need are per month and they can allot for that. It’s really a burden lifted.”

For more information:
Joseph E. Doway
Caribbean Farmers Without Borders
caribbeanfarmerswithoutborders@gmail.com  


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