Small businesses and artists in Belize
Here are the stories of some of the amazing businesses whose products have been featured in our boxes. We encourage you to contact them directly to purchase more of their amazing products.
Welcome's Handmade Baskets
PRODUCT: Titai Basket
ARTIST: Margaret Goff
Mayan Women's Cooperative
PRODUCT: Jippi Jappa Basket
A group of Mopan Maya women in Santa Cruz village decided to come together and use the time when the men were out on the farm to weave traditional baskets. Their goal was to preserve the art-form and make living conditions better for their community by selling the baskets to tourists. Basket weaving is a skill they learned from childhood that has been passed down through generations of Maya women. The baskets are woven from the jippi jappa plant which grows wild and abundant in the rainforests of Belize. It resembles a type of palm. The shoots and flowers of the jippi jappa plant are edible. When weaving a light-colored basket, the closed palm-like leaves are used. Dark-colored baskets use the open palm leaves. Using a knife, the center of the leaf is removed to expose the fibers. The fibers are then tied together in a bunch and are boiled in water for five to ten minutes to prevent discoloration and fungi. They are then washed and dried in the sun for 2-4 days. Once this process is complete, the basket weaving can begin. The weaving is a meticulous process that takes several days and takes a great deal of patience and skill.
Terrill's Wood Carvings
PRODUCT: Wooden Bowl & Candle Holder
OWNER: Nelly and Terrill
Ernest Turner's Art
PRODUCT: Black Slate Art
ARTISTS: Ernest & Gregory Turner
Both Gregory Turner and his son Ernest have been making art from wood, slate, and other materials for decades. Each piece of slate is carefully selected and then carved using a series of knives and special tools. This makes every piece unique. They are located in Camalote Village and have a little art shack on the highway. Before the pandemic, they were busy supplying the souvenir shops and resorts across the country with custom pieces. The tree symbol on the slate was inspired by the Ceiba tree, which is regarded as a sacred tree in the Mayan culture. In other cultures. It is referred to as the “Tree of Life”.
Lindz Handmade Treasures
PRODUCT: Embroidered Dragonfly Mask
OWNER: Linda Escalante
Lindz Handmade Treasures is a small family business run by 3 generations of women that offers a variety of handmade items created to our customers’ requests. Items include pillows, tote bags, face masks, and so much more. They specialize in hand embroidery, and each item is stitched with love. Send them a picture, tell them what you have in mind & watch them bring it to life!
Frank Tzib - Maya Artist
PRODUCT: Maya Clay Mug
PRODUCT: Mini Garifuna Drum
OWNER: Winston "Wing Wing" Fransisco
“Wing Wing’s” carefully hand-crafts small decorative drums for Belizeans and tourists. Drums are the heartbeat of the Garifuna culture. The Garifuna drum is a connection to the people’s African ancestry. There are two types of drums used, Primero (tenor drum) and Segunda (bass drum). The (full-size) drum itself is unique in design made of hollowed-out hardwood such as mahogany or mayflower. This percussion instrument has one drumhead of skin at the top made from peccary pig, deer, or sheep.
Farah's Feminine Fashions
PRODUCT: Reusable Bag
OWNER: Farah Diva Ken
I live in Belmopan City and sewing has been my passion since I was a teenager. Now I made it my responsibility to study and learn the trade. Approximately after 16 years of working as a Customer Service representative at the Belize Telecommunications Company, sewing was still my favorite hobby. After retirement, I decided to teach sewing at the YWCA in Belmopan, but unfortunately COVID19 sent me home. From there, I decided to keep more busy than ever sewing MASKS! Masks became a high demand so I worked day and night producing masks of different designs , keeping in mind that I must make them safe for protection so I added the designed fabric in front, the filter inside and cotton fabric to touch your skin. Now I have decided to produce other sewing projects such as bags, totes, wristlets, pouches, masks, crossbags, scrunchies, headbands and any other project that can be done with a sewing machine and fabric. Also. I work hard to ensure that all my products are Eco friendly.
Freedom House Rehabilitation Center
PRODUCT: Wooden Butterfly Keychain
Freedom House is in Roaring Creek in the Cayo District of Belize. It is a place where ex-felons and those with addiction issues can find healing and hope. It is a program that assist individuals with their re-entry into society following incarceration or substance abuse. To cover expences of the center, the residents create art, paint signs, and do construction projects. The keychains were created by Elijah is a long time resident of the center who now mentors others, help run operations, and create paintings and art.
PRODUCT: Carved Calabash
ARTIST: Darius Chen
Darius Chen is a Mopan Mayan Artisan and a family man with over 19 years of experience in slate carving and wood engraving, along with other forms of craftsmanship using natural materials. He also is a farmer, which has helped him during the pandemic and slow tourism. He has 3 girls and 3 boys, some of whom assist him in making these wonderful art pieces. One of the natural materials that Chen works with is the calabash, a well-renowned fruit in Belize that is dried and used as a gourd or container for holding food (e.g. tortillas) and drink. In this Calabash Art, Chen highlights the Hawksbill sea turtle. The Hawksbill sea turtle is one of the many native marine life that coexists with many other marine marvels along the Belize Barrier Reef (the 2nd largest coral reef in the world and the 1st in the western hemisphere).
Closed Eyes Art
PRODUCTS: Journal with art cover
Cover Art: “Wish you Were Here”
HI, IM JACKIE! Its such a pleasure to meet you. I am a passionate artist born and raised in the small country of Belize C,A. A lot of my time is spent painting, drawing or sketching and learning new techniques and I am always eager to learn more. However when I am not doing art or taking charge of my little shop, I love to take little spontaneous trips to the beach with my friends and eat food. The country I live in is so rich in culture and food so that definately plays a lot in the artwork that I produce.
ARTIST: Carlos Juan Lopez
Juan Carlos Lopez is a local artisan who enjoys teaching others about the art of the pottery wheel. Lopez uses red clay that he harvests from the mountains of Belize. These little pots have gone through a weeklong creation process whereby each day a step was carefully performed. They have been shaped and molded, sun-dried, fired in a kiln, and finally glazed to create a glistening exterior.
PRODUCT: Scented Candle
OWNER: Chelsea Young
Flicker candles is owned by 13-year-old Chelsea Young who started her business about a year ago in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Having more time at home because of the quarantining measures, Chelsea started to look for business ideas. Having tried to make candles before by melting a couple of older candles together to make one, she quickly decided that she would get into the business of candles. With some of her savings and an investment from her mom, Chelsea started selling candles right before the Christmas holidays and sold her first 100 candles in a couple hours after appearing on local news and social media. Flicker Candles is proud to be a small business and is grateful for all the support we have received!
Candy's Maya GiftShop
PRODUCT: Cux'tal (Maya Designed Bag)
This traditional Mayan work of art was made by the skilled hands of women who operate in a women’s cooperative located in the Aguacate Village of Southern Belize. The word Cux’tal is a two-syllable word pronounced, cush (the x has a “sh” sound) as in “cushion” and “tal” as pronounced in “talisman”. The art of weaving Cux’tal is handed down through generations and the family members of all ages (mostly girls) participate in the process. They can be made in all sizes and shapes (backpacks, runners, placemats) and designs range from simple stripes to elaborate designs. Many hours go into weaving a Cux’tal bag
Unique Gift Shop
PRODUCT: Wooden Bookmark
OWNER: Margaret Hsia & the Wu Family
Steve Wu is a carpenter originally from Taiwan, who does beautiful woodwork and art with a large variety of Belizean woods. Furniture, gifts crafts are all apart of his products. His woodworks can be found in the Unique Gift Shop and the Made in Belize shop at the Phillip Goldson International Airport. The woodwork could also be found at the Unique Restaurant located in Camalote Village, Cayo District. This family business has been going for 25 years and counting.
PRODUCT: Kriol Calendar
OWNER: Andrea Rodriguez
Andrea Rodriguez grew up in Bermudian Landing Village in the Belize District, then later relocated to Belmopan, where she is currently raising her family alongside her husband of 18 years. As a creative person, she is passionate about creating products featuring the ‘Bileez Kriol’ language. Her kalindas (calendars) for 2022 features kriol proverbs collected from many of the villages in the Belize River Valley. Andrea is also a blogger, author, speaker, and talk show host and spends her free time creating products and content featuring Bileez Kriol.
Warasa Garifuna Drum School
PRODUCT: Copper Drum Keychain
ARTIST: Ronald Raymond McDonald
The Warasa Garifuna Drum School is a family-owned cultural and educational site located in the peaceful coastal town of Punta Gorda, Belize. Visitors from all over the world and locals are welcome to learn about the culture, and experience authentic, interactive lessons in traditional Garifuna drumming, dancing, drum-making, and more. Although the school was forced to close during the pandemic, they are looking forward to welcoming more visitors as tourism picks up again. Warasa Garifuna Drum School is the dream of its founder, master drummer, and teacher, Ronald Raymond McDonald. Ronald, or Ray, learned drums by watching his family group from childhood. He is a former drummer, dancer, and singer for the Belize National Dance Company. He has performed all over Belize and much of Central America. Ray is passionate about his culture, and for many years his dream was to start a drumming school and teach others about his culture. With the help of his wife Ruth, Warasa (which means “our culture”), the school began in 2010. The School has grown from borrowed drums and a rented house to more than 20 of their own drums at their beautiful thatch palapa.
DML Bamboo Straw
PRODUCT: Bamboo Straws & Brush
OWNER: Mark Jacob
Mark Jacob was inspired to start his bamboo straw business back in 2017 when he was working at an eco-friendly bar at the Hamanasi Resort in Hopkins Village. The resort owners would order bamboo straws from the US, but Mark found that they were faulty. The straws were either too thin or too short or too long. This problem pushed Mark to start his research on making bamboo straws.
At a young age, Mark would go hunting with his father, so he was familiar with areas where bamboo trees would grow. He would go out and gather his bamboo sticks and come home and work on making the perfect straw. The process was filled with many trials and errors, but his determination to create a straw that would serve as a more eco-friendly alternative to the plastic straws motivated him to continue. Mark has been successful and produced many bamboo straws.
PRODUCT: Mortar and Pestle - "Hana & Ourua"
ARTIST: Tyron Lewis
This art was handcrafted by Tyron Lewis of Stann Creek.
Hana – Garifuna word for pestle.
Ourua – Garifuna word for mortar.
This Hana and Ourua is carved out of mayflower wood (originally mahogany, oftentimes pine). This mortar and pestle is a tiny version of what the Garifuna people use to make Hudutu. Hudutu (meaning “it has been pounded”) is an iconic Belizean side dish consisting of mashed, green, and ripe, boiled plantains. This side dish is usually accompanied by a fish and coconut stew known as sere. Using this, you too can make your own Hudutu, grind spices, and make other foods like guacamole.
Pen Cayetano Art
PRODUCT: Art Postcard
ARTIST: Pen Cayetano
Pen Cayetano is mostly inspired by his Garifuna heritage and his surroundings. His task is to conserve the culture and give consciousness to the people and the youth. Oil on canvas is his medium. The paintings are colorful, recreating the rich tapestry of Belize life and faithfully capturing the Garinagu culture.
Perhaps the strongest representative of a peoples culture is the artist, his role is to educate. Pen Cayetano focuses also on historical events and places from Belize. The paintings manifest melancholy, shelter, tranquility and tradition. Such an art becomes to be the opposite of our modern time, where so many people just vanish away in the masses without any roots. Pen Cayetano did many international exhibitions and is represented in several museums and public and private collections.
Pen Cayetano is passionate in art and music and loves what he does. Sharing his love and knowledge is part of his life. Roots & culture, art and music must go on for the generations to come.
Pen Cayetano Studio Gallery
PRODUCT: Art Postcard
ARTIST: Malí Wagunda Cayetano
Malí Wagunda Cayetano, was born 1984 in Dangriga, Belize and nurtured in the home of Pen Cayetano, MBE, Garifuna artist and musician, and Ingrid Cayetano from Germany, artist in her own right. Before the term “cultural tourism” was coined, the Cayetanos of Dangriga have made it their mission in life to preserve and disseminate the Garifuna culture, music and dance. In February 2013 Mali completed her Master’s in Germany at the University of Applied Science Trier where she studied Communication Design with a focus on book illustration. Mali, an illustrator, musician, artist, and youth educator has been teaching children in Belize and Germany. She designed and published two children´s books entitled „We are free – A story about the origin of the Garinagu“and „Wanaragua – A unique traditional mask dance“. Her medium for her art is mixed using acrylic paint, ink, fabrics, paper and other material. Since August 2016 she is the proud mother of Liah Malí.
Dih Fudge Maykah
OWNER: Mia Pinelo
At the young age of 16 and 15, my sister Joneli and I began making fudge in our kitchen on Sunday evenings, using the family recipe which was passed down from our Great Grandmother. It was a hit from the start! As school began to take top priority for my sister, she left the business in my care. That’s when I took over and began implementing my marketing and entrepreneurial skills, growing the fudge family business further. I began offering it to people who travelled and wanted to take for their families in other countries. Originally named Sweet Treats By Mia, we are now known as “Dih Fudge Maykah”, a name given to me by my lovely customers. Today our fudge sells in our family business the Caladium, Restaurant in Belmopan, and is now becoming internationally recognized; traveling to countries like Taiwan, London and America. My hope is that people around the world will be able to experience the authentic Belizean Fudge and they will experience a taste of Belize.
Village Farm Organic Homestead
PRODUCT: Cacao Powder
OWNER: Lyra Vega
Meet Village Farm Organic Homestead. Nestled into the jungle coastline of Belize’s most remote Toledo District, in the heart of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve. Our off-grid, off-road property is only accessible by boat. Disconnect from your devices and reconnect with yourself through food and nature during our immersive, challenging and unforgettable 3 day workshops. This experience is intensive, immersive, mind-expanding and not for the faint of heart. Expect to get your hands dirty. Our unique property is a working organic tropical permaculture farm founded in 1971 and located in a protected marine reserve. What we offer is an unprecedented all senses farm and jungle-to-table experience in a unique place.
PRODUCT: Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt
OWNER: Juan and Abelina Cho
Juan and Abelina Cho, along with their two children Henry and Lucrsha, have been working in their cacao business since the year 2000. Juan and Abelina were both cacao farmers and decided to invest into the chocolate business starting with no money. They used the traditional form of making chocolate with the stone grinder to start their business. Today, they have the capacity to produce 150lbs per day. The business is located in San Felipe Village in the Toledo District of Belize. Visit them and try all their amazing cacao products on your visit to Belize!
PRODUCT: Dark Chocolate
OWNER: Andrea Ack
Andrea is a Maya Que’chi who grew up in the beautiful quaint village of San Miguel. She married Mr. Martin Ack and became a house wife. Doing chores and taking care of the children was her daily routine, while Mr. Martin was out working 80 miles away. According to Andrea, her business started almost accidentally and it was never her intention. She’d only make chocolate treats for her children, nieces and nephews and of course for the family to drink. She was afraid of expanding her distributions, but her husband, a licensed tour guide, told her that they can start a business. About ten weeks later Andrea made her first bar of 80% dark chocolate. She loves the idea of helping other people reap from the numerous health benefits of real chocolate. At up and running, the family offers a bean to bar chocolate adventure with an educational cacao farm experience and making your own chocolate the traditional way.
A MESSAGE FROM ANDREA:
Thank you to each and everyone who have visited my small batch facility. I must say that each bar sold does not only support my family but also the farmers from whom we source our cacao beans.
Cotton Tree Chocolate
PRODUCT: Dark Chocolate
Cotton Tree Chocolate is a unique small-batch bean to bar chocolate company located in Putna Gorda, Belize. More than just single origin, each batch of Cotton Tree Chocolate starts with cocoa beans from a single day’s harvest from a single farmer. We work with local farmers towards environmental, economic, and social sustainability. We exclusively use cocoa beans grown by our location in Punta Gorda Town in the Toledo District of southern Belize.
PRODUCT: Dark Chocolate & Cocoa Powder
OWNER: Deon Chavarria
Moho Chocolate is a tree to bar chocolate company, selling chocolate made from cacao grown on our own farm in the Toledo District of Belize. They ferment and dry their beans in small batches and continue the process with small-batch roasting, grinding, and refining into the chocolate you know and love. Their dark chocolate is made from two ingredients: cocoa beans and sugar. It doesn’t get much purer than that!
The Moho Chocolate Factory and Cafe is located in the Fort Street Tourism Village in Belize City and offers tours and ‘make your own bar’ workshop for tourists.
CONTACT: Luis Armando Choco
A tree-to-bean-to-bar chocolate company located in Punta Gorda, Belize. Since 2016 they have produced premium gourmet chocolate and related products using Belize’s fine flavor cacao. They use special cacao from their own farms as well as cacao produced by 150 Mayan cacao farmers in the Toledo and Stann Creek district.
They believe in direct trade as it allows them to pay their farmers significantly more than the current market and Fairtrade prices. All their cacao is sourced directly from the farmers, fermented and dried, in small-batch, at their centralized depot and processing facility in San Antonio which allows them to uniquely develop the flavor of the beans.
PRODUCT: Dark Chocolate
OWNER: Kerry Goss & Linn Wilson Goss
We are a small family owned and operated enterprise in Seine Bight Village, in beautiful southern Belize. GOSS CHOCOLATE is 100% natural, made from Fair Trade certified 100% organically grown Belizean cacao beans, Belizean cane sugar, whole milk powder (only in milk chocolate and white chocolate bars), and natural whole vanilla bean. We source most of our beans from TCGA, Toledo Cacao Growers Association. There are no artificial ingredients, flavours, fillers or colours. Our chocolate is full of vitamins and minerals, essential oils, and packed with heart-healthy antioxidant power, flavanoids.
Flayva's Fresh Roasted Coffee
PRODUCT: Ground Coffee
OWNER: Mark Nicholas
Mark Nicholas has been mastering roasting coffee for more than 12 years. The coffee beans used for this product comes from the fertile volcanic soils in Antigua, Guatemala, Belize’s neighboring country. The beans are handpicked by the local farmers and then used to create this rich and delicious coffee. Mark loves working in the coffee business and it has become a staple in his life. He enjoys sharing his Belizean made freshly coffee goodness with his family and customers.
PRODUCT: Cacao Nibs & Coffee
OWNER: Zoila and Roger Hale
In 2013 Zoila and Roger Hale had a dream of starting a chocolate company. They were unsure of the concept or even where to start but began doing research in the beautiful country of Belize. They visited the beautiful cacao farms in the rainforest and were so mesmerized at the sight, which pulled them deeper into the dream of having a 100% organic all-natural chocolate and cacao product company. They started developing relationships with the local cocoa farmers who graciously opened their homes. They decided to use exclusively Maya workers and process as much as possible by hand. After all, it’s the Mayas who are known for chocolate and have passed down the art of chocolate making over thousands of years. Their goal is to teach people how to make their own high quality chocolate from the hand roasted organic fair trade cacao nibs.
PRODUCT: Whole Coffee Beans
OWNER: James Mesh
Organically grown on the foothills of the Maya Mountain Range in western Belize in the village of San Antonio, Cayo District. Oxmul Coffee derived from the original name of San Antonio in Yucatec Maya known as Oxmul Kah. James Mesh and family Maya Descendants who still speak the Yucatec Maya language decided to name their coffee brand Oxmul Coffee as to keep the original name of San Antonio for Generations to come and to produce organically Grown Coffee.
PRODUCT: Ground Coffee
OWNER: Melany Kee
Melany Kee and family run several small businesses in Belmopan, the capital of Belize, including a clothing store, delivery service, and now delicious coffee from Bel Caffe.
PRODUCT: Triple Tea
OWNER: Lyra Vega
Here at Taste Belize we are the food and culture experts! From fine dark chocolate to home made corn tortillas or a simple plate of coconut rice and beans, we love sharing our diverse culinary heritage with everyone who visits Belize. Taste Belize founder Lyra Spang grew up on an organic cacao farm off the grid in the jungles of southern Belize. Her family’s passion for good food and organic farming and her childhood eating dishes from the many different cultures of the south inspired her to pursue a doctorate in the anthropology of food. In the summer of 2014 Taste Belize Tours was born, with one passionate guide and a second hand minivan offering unique food and culture focused tours and classes for visitors looking for a different vacation experience. Our Belizean Flavors shop in Placencia sells amazing, 100% Belizean food and body care products including fine dark chocolate, tea, hot sauces, Belizean super foods, spices, teas, soaps, hair care and skin care products.
Toledo Organic Tea
PRODUCT: Ginger Tea
OWNER: Amelia Lara
Toledo Organic Teas originated over the summer of 2019 since, as mothers, we wanted to keep our children engaged in positive activities, therefore, we occupied them with harvesting, cleaning, drying, grounding and packing teas. As Q’eqchi’ women, it has always been a part of our culture to ground our teas in the home. We felt obligated to pass on this knowledge to the younger generation. Furthermore, we witnessed the need to support local farmers who were producing a surplus. Finally, our organic drinks combat the rise of an unhealthy population. We have always aspired to be catalysts of change in making positive impacts on our environment, the world populace and economy. Toledo Organic Teas exists to “Celebrate health, planet and tea.”
Warm Sensations Tea
PRODUCT: Lemon Grass Tea
Mad Chef Hot Sauce
PRODUCT: Hot Pepper Sauce
OWNER: Gian Cortez
Gian Cortez is a young aspiring Sushi Chef from San Pedro, who introduced his product, Mad Chef Hot Sauce, on January 15th, 2021. He has invested much time and knowledge into preparing his products, and after a few years of practice and encouragement from his friends, family and supporters, he made up his mind and dived right into his business. This sauce is the perfect blend of spicy and is smoked to perfection, that it will have your taste buds begging for more. It is also a unique hot sauce since it uses three different cooking styles and a variety of local herbs from Belize. Mad Chef Hot Sauce isn’t just a pepper sauce; it demonstrates the richness of products made in Belize.
PRODUCT: Hot Pepper Sauce & Jam
OWNER: Wilana Oldham
It all started in 1996, when Howard and Wilana Oldham decided to relocate to Wilana’s home country, Belize. Wilana is a 3rd generation Belizean and Howard, an American investor who had fallen in love with the country. They had one idea and that was to produce Habanero Pepper Jelly from a recipe handed down through Wilana’s family. After 7 years, the Oldhams felt that it was time to make a change and started focusing on making sauces from peppers they did not export.
The idea had always been that they would eventually venture into making different types of hot sauce, utilizing the abundance of fresh fruits that flourish in Belize. Mrs. Wilana started experimenting in her kitchen and Manganero (a mango and habanero pepper sauce) was their first gourmet sauce. This sauce was unique because it is a hot sauce, tempered somewhat by the sweetness of the mango. Wilana felt that there could be other people like herself who would like something hot and sweet, and not just hot. Since then, they have developed a line of hot and sweet products, including a line of Aunt Sadie’s Jellies.
Fuego Gourmet Sauce
PRODUCT: Hot Pepper Sauce
FUEGO GOURMET SAUCE is a hot pepper sauce that is locally made in the beautiful town of Santa Elena, Cayo District, Belize with farm fresh ingredients that delivers a flavorful taste. The business was created in December 2020 and was formally registered in February 2021. It is owned and managed by Tracie Nicole Donis (founder) who started making small batches of pepper sauce for her family. The taste was very unique and hot and everyone loved it. The business has a team of two persons who ensures that all products are properly processed, bottled, packaged and labelled using Standard Operating Procedures. Fuego Gourmet Sauce aims to provide consumers with the best quality handcrafted hot sauce that is unique, tasty and flavorful. It is a blend of roasted habanero and farm fresh ingredients that delivers a flavorful profile unprecedented to hot sauce. Yucatan Style Roasted Habanero brings a NEW way to enhance and LEVEL-UP your dish.
Marie Sharp's Fine Foods Ltd.
PRODUCT: Hot Pepper Sauce
OWNER: Marie Sharp
In 1980, in Belize, Central America, Marie Sharp came up with some recipes for sauces, jams, and jellies while experimenting with fresh Habanero peppers, vegetables, and fruits from her farm. She was overwhelmed with positive feedback and encouragement when neighbors and friends tasted them. That was when she decided to turn it into a family business. Initially, Marie Sharp started their production in a small kitchen with help from relatives and an employee. With a determined business frame of mind, it has grown to over 20 employees in their factory in Stann Creek, Belize, manufacturing for the local and international markets. Marie Sharp’s family-owned business takes great pride and honor in producing products with the highest quality, living up to their slogan, “Proud Products of Belize.”
Melo's Hot Sauce
PRODUCT: Hot Pepper Sauce
OWNER: Edgar Gonzalez
Melo’s Farm Foods Ltd started as a result of the pandemic causing Edgar to lose his employment in the tourism industry. Melo’s Farm Foods, all started at home trying to blend flavors that would give customers a unique taste. With a lot of research on his own, Edgar realized that love and dedication is the key ingredient for creating innovative products. The Melo’s Banana Hot Sauce idea came to him in 2019 after the 2nd Banana Fest held in San Juan Village, Stann Creek District. Edgar has a small farm where his peppers are grown using the best agricultural practices with minimal environmental impact. His vision is committed to providing you with a homemade recipe using fresh ingredients, and giving you a burst of flavors to suit your taste. His goal is to establish an eco park at the village primary school with lush garden and trees so that it can be a role model in our country. His mission statement is “From The Farmer to your Table”.
Yessi's Cuisine & Catering
PRODUCT: Hot Pepper Sauce
OWNER: Yssenia Guerra
Yssenia Guerra, a young entrepreneur from Orange Walk Town who owns a home-based catering service, has brought much joy and love in doing what she does best. Cooking has always been her passion; food, meals, blend, flavors, and juices all in one. Yssenia stated, “All I could remember was how I loved enjoying Grandma Vertia’s home-cooked meals and treats. As time went by, my dad continued Granny Vertia’s traditional cooking and also our unforgettable hot pepper sauce. Ever since, it has been a tradition to have habanero pepper sauce with our meals at home.” Yssenia also offered the traditional habanero pepper sauce in her food catering which complemented her service. Furthermore, in years of experience, she decided to make her dream come true by making a product of her own, including the traditional taste of Granny Vertia’s habanero pepper sauce. Yssenia expanded by introducing seven more flavors and eventually introducing gourmet sauces too.
PRODUCT: Hot Pepper Sauce
OWNER: Mrs. Hortence Young
As with so many fine Entrepreneurship Ventures, the story of Fibber’s Fast Food is an interesting journey. I was a struggling single parent who realized that the care for myself and my daughter was paramount. I thought to myself, if I could provide three or four plates of food for sale, that would allow me to feed myself and Ashley. I soon decided to go into a fast-food business. Soon after, I realized that the chicken/wings needed a sauce to go along with it. With limited equipment, I experimented with what was to become the now famed Fibber’s dipping and dressing sauce. The gourmet multipurpose dipping sauces quickly captured Belizean hearts. Thanks to Fibber’s Food, Belizeans can now boast of another quality national product. Belize has a product that replaces ketchup, BBQ sauces, and salad dressings all in one bottle. Some of the things about Fibber’s Sauces that quickly won over Belizean hearts are: its multipurpose usage, the availability in different flavors, it is a product that gives consumers value for their money, the sauces are 100% Belizean, and they are made from all-natural ingredients.
Ricky's Spice Shack
PRODUCT: Belizean Bay Seasoning
OWNER: Chef Ricky Frutos
Ricky Frutos started Ricky’s Spice Shack in 2015 to provide a wider diversity of global spices to the villages and towns of Belize. He soon found that curious buyers did not know how to use the 70+ exotic spices he offered. Ricky realized that the easiest way to teach was to offer a vast array of hand-blended mixes — a recipe in a bag. Today he has more than 40 blends that regularly sell at markets in San Ignacio and Belmopan: BBQ rubs, curry mixes, mole, baking spices, herbal combinations, and more.
PRODUCT: Belizean Seasoning
OWNER: Laura Raymond
PRODUCT: Sunday Spice Seasoning
CO-OWNER: Chef Bethany Ferrier
Bethany Ferrier is a young Belizean culinary artist. She is the Co-owner of chefs tent creating healthier everyday cooking essential for you and your loved ones. They also make cooking at home easy, with ready made fresh & organic kitchen essentials.
PRODUCT: Belizean Blend Seasoning
OWNER: Kieron Lennan
Kruffy Chicken is an artisan meat company in Belize, offering a wholesome, easy-to-prepare, and delicious meat option for you and your family. We sell many different types of seasonings and also pre-seasoned meats. This business idea came about after realizing that in many Belizean households, both parents are either busy or away from home for most of the day, so having pre-seasoned and ready to prepare meats would be a much easier option. Growing up, we were taught not to litter and keep our environment healthy, which is why all of our packaging for our products are ecofriendly and our chickens are raised locally by us. We encourage Belizeans to start supporting local business, farmers, markets, fishermen, makers, and packaging solutions that share your values and care for BELIZE, and in the process we can create a better tomorrow, together.
PRODUCT: Truly Turmeric Paste
OWNER: Umeeda & Nareena Switlo
NALEDO is a social enterprise founded by mother- daughter team Umeeda and Nareena Switlo. Being a better business for better lives means sourcing sustainably and partnering with hundreds of small-scale growers to ensure we have a positive impact from forest to fridge. Umeeda was born in Uganda to a family of entrepreneurs, her father managed an insurance company and her mother ran a Montessori school, BOTH raced cars! During the 1970s, a dictator terrorized the country and the family fled Uganda for Canada as refugees. Umeeda arrived with 1 suitcase at the age of 15.
Umeeda’s mother, Mamajee, cooked to help keep the stories of home alive over the dinner table. They convinced Mamajee to write a cookbook called ‘Mamajee’s Kitchen’, which is now available on their website. Nareena is Umeeda’s daughter, who grew up in Vancouver, Canada. Her mom and mamajee taught her how to cook and instilled in her a strong sense of social responsibility. While she was learning how to make chicken curry they would tell stories of Uganda and ask Nareena what she was going to do to make the world a better place.
PRODUCTS: Lotion, Caribbean Rub, Pinapple Salsa
OWNER: Chef Libby Vidrine
In the foothills of Belize’s Mountain Pine Ridge, every one of our natural ingredients are raised. Our products include an exotic array of wild, local and traditional spices. Over 90% of all our ingredients are nurtured by the rich tropical soil of the Belizean Rainforest. The coconuts, vegetables, peppers & herbs are dried by the Caribbean sun and harvested by local farmers up the road. Our homemade products are inspired by our diverse surroundings including the savory flavors of the Maya, Mestizo, Guatemalan, Caribe, and Garifuna people. My international culinary experiences range from Thailand to Italy and the Virgin to Caribbean Islands, it all comes together to form our unique sauces, spices, raw honey and other products.
Nature's Homemade Belize
PRODUCT: Mango Jam
OWNER: Christian Windsor
Nature’s Homemade Belize was created purely from the joys of preserving fruits and then being able to enjoy them all year round. Christian Windsor, the creator and founder, due to living in the country side of San Ignacio has always enjoyed the outdoors and her kitchen. Picking fresh fruits, converting them into special treats, and sharing with family and friends has always given her so much pride and joy. Having a family of great cooks, (mother and several aunts) she easily became fascinated with cooking as an art! Now with a decade experience and the confidence in making jams and jellies, Nature’s Homemade was born! During the pandemic of 2020, realizing how important preservation of food was, and how it helped to motivate others in creating their own identity, Christian decided to start her small business! It has been a true delight to many who have tasted these delicious preserves and it is the constant support of her clients that have helped this small business steadily grow. Nature’s Homemade now has over 20 flavors of and the diversity keeps growing! As there are dreams and goals on the horizon, Nature’s Homemade is truly hoping to grow into something better for Belize!
Lemon Crush Belize
PRODUCT: Body Whip
OWNER: Lara Goldman of 12 Belize
Naturally Belize Coconut Products
PRODUCT: Organic Soap & Lip Scrub/Mask
OWNER: Lorcia Moore
Naturally Belize is a small business that sells handmade all natural Beauty Care Products that promote a healthy hair and skin care regime. Lorcia Moore, the owner of the business, started making her products in 2014 in her kitchen in Belmopan and opened her store in June 2019 in Punta Gorda. She was inspired by her grandmother who made coconut oil for a living, and so decided to create her own business selling all natural and handmade beauty products and distributing them in small batches. The goal of the business is to empower women to embrace their natural beauty through self-care and self-love. Lorcia says, “To me, the best part of being a Woman Entrepreneur… is being SUPPORTED by other women.”
Bella Dee's Soaps
PRODUCT: Organic Soap
OWNER: Dona Dougall Sosa
Bella Dee’s is a budding, engaging, environmentally and socially responsible micro-business founded in the kitchen of my home in September 2008. Our soaps are produced using a cold process system. The base ingredients in all our natural handmade soaps are the highest quality of exceptional essential oils, vegetable oils and butters which are mixed with lye and water. No animal fats or oils are used. Every effort is made to ensure you get the highest quality handmade soap. Each one is made with a special purpose in mind and we hope you get all the special benefits from each bar. Experience the benefits of aromatherapy in a practical way. Our unique formulas leave no residue on the skin. The oils used are chosen based on the special qualities they bring to the soap such as the ability to moisturize and soften skin and the type of lather they produce. Since all our soaps use only natural products and retain all the glycerine produced during the saponification process, they have a softer, creamier consistency than regular commercial, synthetic soaps. So yummy, you might be tempted to take a bite. Good to the last suds. You may never want to leave the tub again!
Granny Ivy's Herbal Soaps
PRODUCT: Honey Oatmeal Soap
OWNER: Rose Parks
At Granny Ivy’s Herbal Soaps they are committed to making and supplying 100% Handmade, All Natural, Plant-based cold process soaps that are known to have many benefits for skin. They produce many different types of natural soaps that all have their own caring properties to help your skin flourish, such as hibiscus, neem, charcoal, and cinnamon, just to name a few. Being inspired by her mom, Rose started making soaps for family and friends in 2018 and then started her small business in 2020 from the knowledge she had gained about herbs and how they can be used for healing and skincare. This business is located in Dangriga, Belize, where she makes and markets her handmade and nicely crafted soaps.
Little Farmhouse Soap
PRODUCT: Merry Mint Soap
OWNER: Anna Stoyshich
Hi guys! My name is Anna Stoyshich and I’m the owner and crafter of the natural handmade soaps at Little Farmhouse Soap. My journey began when I started making my own household and personal products to build a healthier and more natural lifestyle for me and my family. Starting with small DIY projects, I evolved to hand pouring natural soap and fell in love with it. I enjoy creating colourfully fun and pleasantly scented soaps while providing a natural product that leaves your skin nourished and moisturized. I’m also proud to be able to incorporate fruits, herbs and greens all handpicked from my family’s farm. My soaps cater to all skin types and eco-friendly earth lovers. Every bar you receive has been hand cut and minimally packaged to reduce waste. I try to use as little plastic as possible (because global warming and all). At the farmhouse, you will find a variety of hand, body and facial soaps making it easy for you to choose what goes on and into your skin.
SunnyBrook Artisan Products
PRODUCT: Soap & Soap Stand
OWNER: Rebbeca Henrich
Here at our off-grid jungle homestead, we handcraft natural soaps and beauty products with homegrown and locally sourced ingredients since 2010. I moved to Belize in 2004. I’m a passionate soapmaker and I’m also a busy mom to 4 kids. Oh- and I’m a plant addict- from trying to get any available fruit tree planted on our homestead to all kinds of ornamental shrubs and plants and flowers. I can’t pass by a pretty plant stall without buying at least one. Our nicely crafted wooden soap hold is hand-made with local hard wood.
PRODUCT: Face Scrubby
OWNER: Desiree Parkinson
Hello Everyone!! My name is Desiree from Parkie’s Creation. I am a mother of 3 beautiful children and have a supportive and loving husband. I learned to crochet in high school and picked it up really quickly but left it for years. 3 years ago, I started up again just as a hobby as I was a tour guide. When the pandemic hit I lost my job and decided to turn to my other skill, crochet!! I spent time researching and learning all I can do and decided, with the encouragement of my husband and close friends, to start up a small business. It was very daunting at first because there are very talented crochet artisans in Belize. Also, it’s very expensive to get the supplies needed because of the low demand of yarn. With this in mind, I decided to think outside of the box and besides using yarn, I used recycled clothing and cut into strips to make rugs and other useful items to sell at a reasonable cost. My motto is “something is better than nothing” or “do the best with what you have”. It has been a year into starting this small business and it comes with its challenges but also many joys. I love what I do. It gives me a chance to be at home with my family, opens up my creativity, and gives me an opportunity to keep waste down and recycle. If people look around there is a lot we can reuse!! No need to always throw away and this is what I want to bring to my customers. I appreciate Goodies from Belize for giving me this opportunity to give you a product that is made with LOTS OF LOVE.
Purple Passion Studio & Spa
PRODUCT: Copal Lotion Bar
FOUNDERS: Stacy and Gina Badillo
Purple Passion Studio & Spa is a labor of love and a dream come true for sisters Stacy and Gina Badillo.
A full-service salon and spa based in Caye Caulker. We have proudly been operating for 16 years.
Our handcrafted products were created to enhance our in salon and spa services for our clients. Our line includes copal lotion bars, body scrubs, cuticle oils, facial oils, massage oils, sanitizer sprays and gels.
I struggled with eczema on my hands and I have been looking for a solution for myself. Through research I came across the healing benefits of copal. Product testing began and this copal lotion bar is now part of our signature pedicure.
Indigenous people from all over the world have traditionally used copal for healing, worship and purification. Our copal lotion bars are great for cracked heels, dry elbows and over all dry skin.
Purple Passion offers a warm, relaxed, yet refined ambience
Silk Grass Farms
PRODUCT: Coconut Oil
OWNER: Mandy Cabot, Peter Kjellerup, Henry Canton
Silk Grass Farms is a vertically integrated agribusiness located just outside of Silk Grass Village in the Stann Creek District of Belize, that is committed to positive social and environmental impact. At Silk Grass Farms, we believe we can innovate and model sustainable, compassionate agribusiness at scale. We are stewards of the land we manage, acting as caretakers rather than owners.
Our cold Pressed coconut oil is sold all over the country and is just as good in the kitchen as it is in the bathroom or spa. Coconut oil can be used for sautéing veggies, browning meat, and flavoring beans. It’s great for baking pastries as well. But what you may not know is that coconut oil is a natural healing agent for skin and hair due to its moisturizing and anti-microbial properties. Try our coconut oil in these creative, chemical-free, non-food applications.
Mullins Creek Ginger
PRODUCT: Crystalized Ginger
OWNER: Sharon Pollard
Sabal Food Products
PRODUCT: Cassava Biscuit
OWNER: Sabal Family
Located at mile three on the Hummingbird Highway, right outside Dangriga Town, this family-owned business, Sabal Food Products, has been operating since 1987 and produces cassava bread, starch, juice, and other deliciousness. The farm’s premier product – the cassava – is an essential part of Garifuna culinary culture, and the Sabals take it from the root to the dinner table. The best part is that they open that process to visitors who can tour the farm and observe the processing of the root vegetable, and the actual making of cassava bread, “Ereba” in the Garifuna language.
PRODUCT: Pepitos (roast pumpkin seeds)
OWNER: Oscar Barrera
Oscar Barrera is from the Orange Walk Town District Belize. He grew up selling pepitos (pumpkin seeds) from the age of eight to twenty-one. He then traveled to the US back and forth for seven years. Twelve years ago, he decided to venture into his pepitos business again and to his surprise, it went well. He then decided to invest time, care, and love into his product to make sure that his customers receive a fresh, clean, and tasty product. After getting the raw product from our local farmers, he makes sure it’s all handpicked and washed before going into the roasting machines that he designed. Oscar’s product now sells throughout the entire Country of Belize including The Cayes… “God has been Faithful to me, my family, and business. Thank You for your patronage.” – Oscar
PRODUCT: Plantain Chips & Granola Bar
OWNER: Emanuel & Vivianna Salazar
National Kriol Council
PRODUCT: Kriol read & write guide
Though English is considered to be the national language of Belize, Kriol is spoken all over the country and is used in day to day exchange among Belizean natives, along with other languages such as the different Mayan languages, Garifuna and Spanish to name a few, this makes Kriol the lingua franca of Belize. Many say that Kriol is broken English and not a language, but its existing lexicon and grammar proves differently. One thing that contributes towards this misconception regarding the status of the Kriol language is that it is not yet standardized. Therefore, in an attempt to standardize Kriol, the National Kriol Council has come out with this and many other Belizean Kriol guides. We hope that you can learn some Kriol so that you may also be able to visit and understand more about the people and cultures of Belize and who knows, you might even find parts of yourself.