JIS News

Jamaicans can look forward to consuming tasty pastries made from yam, a popular tuber of the Cockpit country, in the parish of Trelawny.
Encouraged by the claim of world sprinter, Usain Bolt’s father, that yam and other foods grown in the Cockpit country had contributed much to Usain’s performance, several residents in the area have been trying to create and promote by-products of yam and to capitalise on other business opportunities.
One couple, Ms. Sedonie Brown and her business partner, Mr. Damion Hentley, have started a business venture, called ‘Sedonie’s Yam Pastry’, in Wirefence, Trelawny, where they produce various types of pastries, using yam as the main ingredient.
The products were on display at the Family Fun Day and Concert, held on Sunday, October 4 at the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium. It was organised by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, to honour the Jamaican athletes for their excellent performances at the recent International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Championships, in Berlin, Germany.
Visitors at the function were able to sample a variety of wines and pastries made with yam. These included yam fruit cake, yam bun, yam plain cake, yam pineapple up-side-down cake, yam cookies, yam ‘blue-drawers’ or duckunoo and yam peanut punch. Also on display was a beverage called, the ‘Trelawny Yam Cooler’, made with yam, carrot, cucumber, ginger and lime juice.
Ms. Brown, who has won several culinary competitions at her school and also at the annual Trelawny Yam Festival, told JIS News that although yam is used in all the recipes, other natural products are added to make them as “tasteful as possible.”
Currently attending a six-month training course in ‘Commercial Food Preparation’, offered by HEART Trust/NTA, in Wait-a-Bit, Trelawny, she said the training has helped her to create some of the culinary delights and to improve on the taste. The products are prepared only for sale at special events or whenever orders are placed by customers, Miss Brown said, noting that there are plans to expand the operation.
“I already have plans in place to get it out on the local market. The level I want to bring it to is where every householder knows, tastes and sees the Trelawny by-products. I want it to be in every supermarket, in every pharmacy, every food store. I want everybody in Jamaica and the world to know and taste the wonderful products that we have,” Mr. Hentley told JIS News.
He said that he has been approached by persons and agencies that are willing to assist in expanding the business. “I have all intention of following up on that in the near future,” he pointed out.
Asked about Usain Bolt’s father’s comment that yam had contributed much to his son’s performance on the track, Mr. Hentley said: “I am not sure if there is any truth to it, but I know that yam has been a part of Trelawny’s diet. I tend to come to some conclusion that there is some connection. Therefore, we are proud to continue promoting the yam by-products that we have here,” he said.
Currently, scientific research is in progress to clarify whether the eating of yam has had any effect on the successes of the athletes from the area.
Since 2007, Research Scientist in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Mona, Dr. Rachael Irving and Physical Education Lecturer with the Institute of Education and a former Jamaican Olympian, Ms. Vilma Charlton, have been collaborating with Director of the International Centre for East African Running Science (ICEARS), Dr. Yannis Pitsiladis, at the University of Glasgow, to investigate the genetic, environmental and nutritional factors that may be contributing to Jamaica’s success.

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