There are certain places in every country that you should venture slightly beyond (okay, maybe quite a bit beyond) the regular tourist route to discover. Places that show you the landscapes, the character and the people of a country. Add amazing food and views, and you find just that place at Stush in the Bush.
Stush in the Bush is more than great food and great views; it’s a true success story in organic production and sustainable tourism, and it’s a love story. What more could you ask for? Lisa and Chris Binns are welcoming, entertaining, kind and real. There is no pretense, but there is “stush.” Stush is a Jamaican word that implies style and pride, a little attitude about living the good life and valuing quality.
Their 15-acre organic farm is called Zionites and is in a village called Free Hill in the hills of St. Ann. Tourists come to Jamaica for the sea, sand and sun, but true travellers get to see the real Jamaica at places like Stush in the Bush. Located in the cool mountains where there is almost always a breeze (my Jamaican friends were wearing shawls – at only 25 degrees or so, they were finding it chilly) and stunning views. The road is rough, and you may want to ensure you are in a four-wheel drive as it is aptly called “in the bush,” but it is worth every bump for the sweeping views of mountains, valleys and ocean – no big all-inclusive here!
We called Lisa the day before to book lunch for three. Their menu is vegetarian and vegan, and all of us chose the appetizer, pizza, salad and dessert option. Our feast began with fried green plantain chips and chimichurri dip made fresh on site. I love plantain of any kind, but this, this was heaven, and we dove into the chips as we added mounds of the fresh tangy dip. There was no ladylike nibbling going on; it was just too good. Everything is served in beautiful pottery made by Lisa and her teacher, world famous potter David Pinto who has his studio and store at Chukka at Good Hope Estate .
Once we had polished off the chips, we sat and chatted. The rain began in earnest so we moved inside, where we were in for a unique experience. Lisa and Chris live in a one-room home atop their water tank. The bed is in the same room we ate in, as is the kitchen, but it is lovely, homey and has real flair – it has “stush” – painted floors and stunning cedar tables, headboard and counters. We were oh so cozy in their snug home with the sound of rain on the roof. Not a bad place to spend a rainy afternoon with friends on a working lunch.
Lisa brought out a baby arugula salad with cherry tomatoes and nasturtium flowers all grown on their farm and freshly picked that day. The salad dressing was, of course, made there by Lisa, and we had two delicious choices: mango or passion fruit. Second course was the pizza, two kinds, both fire grilled. The first had a tomato-based sauce, corn and other deliciousness with lots and lots of gooey melted cheese. The second was pesto with roasted red onions and more cheese. We had their fiery hot sauce called Blow Fyah on the side. As a meat lover, I have to say I did not even notice it was missing! It was hot, chewy and oh so flavourful.
Lisa reminded us dessert was still to come so I refused another piece of the pizza. After all, I think I had already had two of each. Freshly brewed coffee was served alongside delicious vegan chocolate cake with sorrel sauce and carrot cake with a nasberry spread. I am a chocoholic so when they told me vegan I was worried, but I should have had faith by then – this meat-loving, chocoholic, dairy freak was well and truly converted.
The visit to Stush in the Bush came inclusive of the tour, full meal and choice of freshly made juices and tonics at a cost of $55US per person. Chris will take you on a tour of the farm, where you can pick your lettuce or arugula for your salad and sip coconut water and jelly from a freshly opened coconut.
876 562 9760 Lisa
876 895 2276 Chris