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Well, I’ve been whining about the winter and I have to confess, we took a little trip to Jamaica the first of the year, so I have had a break from the winter.

While we were there, we had an extraordinary experience that I wanted to share.

A friend suggested we try a restaurant called Zimbali Farms because they grow most of their produce and you can tour the gardens.

So Jim looked it up and it appeared to be about 7 miles from our hotel, so he made the arrangements.

They sent their driver to pick us up so off we went at 10:30 a.m. We drove down the main 2-lane road for several miles.

By the way, not only do they drive on the left, they pass around blind curves and up hills with just a honk-honk of the horn. It was crazy!

After way more than 7 miles, we turned onto a one lane asphalt road and I felt sure we had arrived. Nope!

We kept going.

“Well,” I thought, “as long as we are on paved roads…”

Then, 2 or 3 miles down that road we turned onto a washed out dirt road with tall sugar canes slapping the windows on both sides and we slowly inched up the hill deeper into the jungle.

I began wondering if we had been kidnapped and thought how glad I was that Jim made me wear sensible shoes…that I could run in!

I had a grip on Jim’s arm and I asked the driver, “Is there really a restaurant up here?”

He said, “Oh yes mon! You will love it!”

After what seemed like forever, we pulled up to a beautiful entrance and my hand relaxed on Jim’s arm.

We proceeded inside this beautiful house/restaurant built in the midst of the jungle like a huge tree house, furnished with comfy sofas and chairs, a bar and several dining areas that could seat about 30 guests.

We were greeted with a cold glass of dark purple juice that was made with berries from the jungle, (I can’t remember what kind of berry), then went out to the garden.

It was so awesome!

They had carved out a garden in the jungle and had corn, cabbage, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, carrots, beans and more, plus herbs and even marijuana.

They also had bee hives for pollination and honey.

There were fruit trees that grow naturally, the purple berry thing, coconut, banana, jack fruit, mango, papaya and a fruit called noni that is super healthy.

Now this was right up my alley!

We went back inside and there was a small band practicing for their evening guests’ entertainment.

There were two place settings at the bar in the kitchen area overlooking a big commercial stove and a long counter filled with all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Two chefs, Eli and Alecia, prepared a 4 course meal, starting with a cold glass of Chardonnay, of course.

They made a salad of lettuce, fruits and a honey vinaigrette, followed by little empanada-like things filled with a bean mixture, with fresh carrots and a big slice of avocado.

Jim had jerk shrimp and I had curried shrimp as our main course, which was served with a hash brown of shredded plantains, garnished with vegetable sticks and a star fruit.

Dessert was a delicious fruit cake topped with bananas sautéed in a liqueur and a drizzle of that berry stuff.

After finishing lunch and another glass of Chardonnay, we went to pay the bill and discovered the tall gentleman with dreadlocks playing guitar was the owner!

An American originally from Chicago, he had created this amazing place 11 years ago, admitting his family literally lived in a make-shift home the first year or so.

Now they serve guests in an atmosphere very similar to ours at The Artichoke.

The guests feel as though they are dining in your home, and in his case, you are!

When we were finished, the same driver appeared and we headed back.

Funny, it didn’t seem to take near as long to get back to the hotel.

It was a delightful and delicious experience and I would recommend it to anyone.

Thank you Zimbali Farms for a memorable experience.

So, no matter where you are, never miss a chance to… Enjoy the Earth! Diana