HMH Farms explores healthier twist with goat burgers
Chevon sausages, nuggets and strips also set to whet appetites
Chevon, otherwise known as goat meat, is traditionally curried in Jamaica.
However, the family-owned HMH Farms has introduced some fresh ways to add oomph to the popular dish with its range of seasonings under the brand Ja Blends and Spices, which is operated by General Manager Camille Henry.
With its soon-to-be-launched goat meat burgers under the brand Jamgoat Burgers, HMH Farms is evolving into a one-stop shop.
Hjort Henry, the HMH Farms managing director who jointly owns the business with his mother Hazel Henry, told The Gleaner that he would like to see Jamaicans experience new and delectable ways of consuming chevon.
One such way is brown-stewing or jerking the meat, he said, and serving it with side dishes such as rice or mashed potatoes.
Henry said that taking an unconventional approach to seasoning chevon will enable Jamaicans to fully appreciate the meat’s potential and expand their palates by trying new and intriguing flavours.
Ja Blends and Spices, which was established in 2022, includes a line of products such as Scotch bonnet pepper powder, spicy curry powder, spicy jerk seasoning, garlic powder, and all-purpose seasoning.
The farm focuses on livestock, genetic goat meat, and tabletop eggs and is situated in Bushy Park in Old Harbour, St Catherine.
“So, in processing your meat, scrambling your eggs, or whatever it is, everything needs seasoning. So, if we can have a vertically integrated operation and produce stuff on our own, then it helps,” he explained of the decision to offer spice blends.
HMH Farms has a solid relationship with the HEART/NSTA Trust Ebony Park Academy, which helps with product processing, and farmers in the Dunbeholden area of St Catherine, through whom he sources local ingredients for the seasonings.
The blends are available at Fontana Pharmacy, e-commerce platform Caribshopper, and as well as Things Jamaican, which is owned and operated by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).
PLANS TO EXPAND LINE
“So, as the business grows and expands, we’ll start to do variations,” Henry said during an interview at the recent Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show.
At the Denbigh show, HMH Farms gifted a bottle of curry seasoning to customers paying $3,500 for a two-pound package of goat meat.
“The reason for looking at goat meat for burger is because it’s a healthy alternative to burger meat; it’s the healthier red meat to beef and to pork. It’s leaner – not as much fat and is low in cholesterol and still has the high protein content as the chicken,” Henry told The Gleaner.
He further explained that what gave rise to the idea for the product was the determination of wanting to discover something that would set his brand and company apart from “the next man selling goat”.
He said that Jamaicans are responding well to the product, based on feedback at a few pop-up events.
And although the company can fill its present orders, the goal is to form strategic alliances with other goat farmers to meet an expected increase in demand.
“The process of making the burger is harvesting the goat and deboning it, so you’re actually cutting down on the meat content that you’d normally sell for the regular goat meat,” he said.
He told The Gleaner that once the goat burgers are launched and the company assesses how well it is doing, the next step is to begin production of goat sausages, goat nuggets and goat strips – similar to bacon strips.
Henry has been in the goat business since 2019 with the farm in operation since 2010.
“We should support our own, buy and position ourselves to export and grow our business. So, I encourage all entrepreneurs to reach out to different investors like the DBJ (Development Bank of Jamaica), the JBDC, and use the resources that are provided by the Government to get a business,” he encouraged others with ideas for businesses, noting that he had signed up for the JBDC accelerator programme – a six-month intensive programme which is primarily aimed at access to finance, which was very helpful.
Henry was awarded the 2022 JBDC Building Opportunities for Strong Success (BOSS) Man of the Year Award, which he said opened doors to other opportunities.