Bringing Jamaica to Georgia
In Gabriel’s and Tamita’s story, it’s the chicken that comes before the egg.
They moved to Crawford, GA, and one day, Tamita purchased a chicken at the local market. “From there, it blossomed into an actual business,” she explains.
Tamita is from Saint Elizabeth Parish, known as the breadbasket of Jamaica. “My parents are farmers. I grew up in farming,” she says. “I knew I wanted to grow my own stuff and replicate what I had in Jamaica.”
Gabriel’s call of the wild came after a few years of working an office job. Before long, he was craving an “opportunity to be outside and work outside.”
He found it with Caribe United Farm.
Grow What You Eat and Eat What You Grow
Gabriel and Tamita go to bed by 8 p.m., and there’s a good reason for that: they’re up by 5 a.m. every day to juggle many responsibilities. As co-owners of a small farming business, they have no choice.
At the five-acre family farm, they have pasture-raised, organic poultry and produce fresh eggs. The pair feeds the animals, looks after their land, runs marketing for the farm, and much more.
Their schedule is full, and every day is demanding. They don’t take time off and have little time for anything else.
But they wouldn’t change a thing. Every step of the way, the couple embodies their roots. “We bring different vibes and different styles, a different experience to the whole thing,” Tamita says. “We bring that Caribbean flavor to the industry.”
We Are Like an Open Book
Gabriel and Tamita are grateful for what they’ve created for themselves in Georgia. “We come from countries where there are not many opportunities,” Gabriel says. “You tend to work for somebody, the government, or a private company. I wanted to be the owner of something.”
It’s cliche, but it’s true: Caribe United Farm is their version of the American Dream. Gabriel continues, “You have the opportunity here to build your own company. If you are good of your own merits, you can be successful.”
So far, so good. Gabriel and Tamita sell their products at the local market, and they say that feedback from customers is great. “You have to convince people to invest in you and your company,” Gabriel says. “You have to educate customers.”
For now, Caribe United Farm is a family business on a plot of land, but it stands for so much more. “We carry a heavy weight,” Tamita says. “Minorities are so few in farming. We have a motivation to prove that we can do it.”
Because if they can prove that they can make a living from it, they say, then they can convince others to follow in their footsteps. “As minorities, we are representing our communities within the industry,” Gabriel says. “We are trying to get economic independence.”
Being Proactive About the Future, Not Reactive
They have big plans for the future of the enterprise; the couple wants to do its part to push the farming industry to adapt. Gabriel lays it all down. “I like exploring new ways to sell, new strategies. We are not only farmers, but we are also business people.”
Between buying more land, teaching children from the area about livin’ the land, harvesting locally sourced products, and reinforcing the best farming practices to an audience that’s more and more knowledgeable, the future is bright for Caribe United Farm.
“But keep that Caribbean flavor!” Tamita blurts out.
''Can-Am Has Changed My Life.''
Once a Farmer, Always a Farmer
When he lived in Puerto Rico, Gabriel knew of Can-Am from references in music, but by and large, the brand remained merely an idea. It’s only after moving to Georgia that Can-Am became something tangible, when Gabriel put his hands on a Defender. “That changed my life,” he says. “Our friends and families envy us.”
Over the past few months, the couple has understood how much a side-byside for farming simplifies their workdays. Tamita says that moving from a wheelbarrow to a Can-Am Defender to feed their animals, for example, was “such a wonderful help.”
They see that off-road farm vehicles also perform in the woods, where they’ve taken them for a spin a few times. Tamita calls them “a game changer.”
She continues. “When I tell you it has been so, so helpful…”
Her voice tails off, but she doesn’t have to add a thing.