What is your name?
My name is Paula Manning.
What do you do, and where?
I am Marketing Director for Caribbean Treats Inc.
What do you produce?
Caribbean Treats produces over 40 products consisting of pepper sauces, jams, syrups, chutneys, seasoning marinades, breakfast syrups and fruit preserves. We also have a full list of souvenirs where we collaborate with local artisans for packaging.
What methods do you use to produce your products?
We source our raw materials as much as possible from local farmers and vendors. For example we have established a good relationship with the OGCA (Organic Growers and Consumers Association). We are always adding to our source of local suppliers.
What are the biggest problems you are facing as a producer within your industry and how do you think that they can be resolved?
Keeping up with the rate at which we are expanding is trying at times. Resolution is obtained by:-
• Being forward thinking in your planning. Everything expands so with that in mind it makes it more manageable to handle.
• Developing an attitude to be thankful for every experience that comes. I always say that the feedback is either an acknowledgement of a job well done or an opportunity to be better. (Win-win)
• Finally enjoy the journey along the way. Don’t just look at outcomes. I think about all the relationships we have established over our short period of time in this market and I smile because it is really fun and everyone has played a role in our success.
What does sustainability mean to you? How do you incorporate these ideals into your work?
Sustainability in our business takes on the form of minimising wastage. We maximise the use of our raw materials by creating by-products so at the end what we have to throw away is really minimal.
Sustainability of industry in terms of our commitment to collaborating with local farmers and artisans to ensure we play our part in keeping those industries alive. Kudos to the Slow Food® Barbados Buyers Guide for ease of reference in finding these individuals and businesses.
Sustainability of the environment through accepting our social responsibility by collaborating with Slow Food Barbados in several of their programme initiatives such as the Educational School Garden Programme. In addition we also collaborate with the Optimist Club of Barbados who look to bring out the best in our youth and communities through several program initiatives including the national back to school drive.
How long have you been a producer?
Caribbean Treats has been in operation for six years.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy revelling in those moments when a new relationship has been established. This could be in the form of meeting a new customer, farmer, chef or sometimes a new product. Just being able to create something that is loved is very rewarding.
What is your most memorable moment as a producer?
I have a tie. The first one was at an event hosted by local chef John Hazard showcasing local food and agro processors. A little boy came to our tent and he was looking at the jams. He asked what is gooseberry. I was so thrilled to not only show him but to let him sample the jam which was met with his instant approval.
The second one was representing Slow Food® Barbados last year at Terra Madre Saline Del Gusto in Turin, Italy. This is a Slow Food event that focuses on food and gastronomy. There was a market of exhibitors from over 100 countries spanning 5 continents. I was thrilled for the opportunity our young small company was offered. It turned out that I was the only delegate from Barbados and the only English speaking delegate from the Latin American/Caribbean region. I was able to showcase our Bajan pepper sauce with great pride which was a huge hit. Carrying the Barbados flag during the closing ceremony of flags through the streets of Torino made me tearful. There were over a million people and the energy was so overwhelmingly awesome. It was a proud day for Barbados to be linked to such a positive celebration for food and sustainability. Going to Terra Madre showed me that our appeared differences is the deliciousness that identifies how we really are all the same at heart.
Could you share with us a part of your food culture that has been lost over time?
I am happy to say that people are beginning to realize that we are bringing awareness back to gooseberry and broadleaf thyme. Both very versatile ingredients and due to greater utilization will make their way back fondly to the memory of satisfied pallets.
What is your favourite vegetable/fish/meat to eat and how do you cook it?
I love food in general. I don’t have favourites because I see maybe missing out on experiencing something new because of a familiar something and my bottom line is just higher levels of satisfaction.
What do you think is the future of food in Barbados?
The future is sound. We have everything that we need and very creative people to showcase it. With events like Agrofest, Food & Rum Festival, along with chefs like Rhea Gilkes and Kirk Kirton who promote and support local farmers and organizations like the OGCA and Slow Food® Barbados promoting good, clean, fair food practices we are really on to something great. I see food as an extension of living a lifestyle of good clean fair practices and it is deliciously fabulous.