By Christopher Tobutt
Beacon Farms and their sister business, the Cayman Cigar Company, where highlighted at Business After Hours, the Chamber of Commerce’s networking event on Thursday 21 October, at the National Gallery. Beacon Farms employs up to 20 people who are ‘in recovery,’ after they have gone through an established 12-step recovery programme. The Cayman Cigar Company makes finest-quality Cuban-style cigars from tobacco grown on the farm.
Chamber of Commerce President, Mike Gibbs, said, “They are currently working on being the first locally grown commercial tobacco farm, and this will move to the production of the first locally-crafted Cayman Cigar. It is also the first cigar company worldwide, to donate 100 percent of net profits to local charities,” Mr. Gibbs said, “They don’t only grow tobacco, but also many other kinds of produce on the farm, while assisting recovering addicts who work and live on the farm. It is truly a remarkable story, and the Chamber applauds the company for its tremendous corporate social responsibility efforts to assist some of the most vulnerable in our community,”
Sandy Urquhart, the Farm’s Chief Operating Officer, said,“We now have a whole series of cigars, and we’ve created a shipping facility in Tampa, and we are now selling cigars in the United States. We have a large marketing agency working for us, and so the opportunity to sell our cigars globally online has opened up for us.
“All of the proceeds come back to the farm and help us develop what has become a sustainable business. I hope you all come out to the farm, and see it. It’s an amazing place. Everybody who works out there is in recovery, and that’s the most important thing, so that they have somewhere to work while they are reorganizing their lives.
“The second part of the story is that they are all growing food, and vegetables at a time when our food chain could possibly be stretched. There are 34 acres and they are developing some really radical methods of agriculture.”
Mr. Urquhart went on to describe the farm’s way of making new, fine fertile soil. They have a rock-crushing machine, pulled by a tractor, which pulverizes the many large rocks and boulders found throughout the farm’s soil, making them into sand. The sand is then mixed with compost made on the farm’s state-of-the-art composting unit. Mr, Urquhart also told all the guests that a documentary on the farm, and the people who work there, is presently being made, and is scheduled to come out some time next year.
After the presentation, people chatted and mingled, before going outside. There, some ladies from the Cayman Cigar Company were busy rolling the cigars by hand, so that everyone could see for themselves how they are made. There were some official, and some unofficial, members of the “Cigar Club,” which meets at Rackhams on a Friday evening. “Yes these cigars are right up there with the best Cuban cigars,” one of them, Sidney, said.