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Abaco Neem - Touring a Neem Farm in The Bahamas

The view from the deck of our house from Airbnb - it was ridiculously gorgeous!
You guys, I had the MOST amazing time last month when my husband and I got to go to Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas.  While we were flying in I was thumbing through one of the tourist magazines they give out and I saw a write up on Abaco Neem, a shop that creates their own skin/bodycare line, and immediately got excited because one of my products contains Neem Oil (Organic Silk Cream in case you're wondering).  I read further and saw that you could get a TOUR of the farm - yes please!  I called, booked it, learned it would take about an hour and a half (we were there for nearly four!) and here's what went down -

We walked in and were given a tour of the store by the sweet Angel (who I sadly didn't get a picture of) who took us through the product line as well as let us get a sneak peek in the back of the store!

Drying Neem leaves on racks

Miss Barbara who was making Neem Leaf Capsules - Miss Barbara mixes EVERYTHING Abaco Neem makes!

Amazing racks of handmade soaps - I may have bought five or six.

Bottles waiting to be labeled.

So why do we care about Neem as a concept?  I learned SO much - including the fact that all parts of the Neem tree have benefits - tree roots, bark, leaves, flowers, fruit, seed kernels and seed oil.  "All parts of the tree contain compounds with proven antiseptic, immune-stimulating, anti-viral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antifungal uses." (www.abaconeem.com)  It's appropriate for both aging, dry skin as well as breakout prone and both pets and plants can benefit as well.  Here are some of the items I bought that I fell in love with -

The soap I was referring to - it is AWESOME - so creamy, non-drying and it comes in a variety of fragrances.

The straight Neem Oil is the star of the show.  When co-owner, Daphne, showed me Neem Oil she had purchased from India (where most Neem Oil comes from) it looked like the color of molasses and had some residue at the top.  She then showed me hers which was a golden shade with no sediment.  The difference happens because the team at Abaco Neem handpicks every piece of fruit and nothing that is spoiled makes the cut.  I learned that in India they tend to be working on such a massive scale that quality control is harder to maintain.  Oh, and did I mention that Abaco Neem's Neem Oil is Certified Organic?  So much so that their oil is safe enough to ingest (it's commonly toxic because of said lack of quality control) as it's pharmaceutical grade.  Diabetics and those susceptible to slow healing of cuts, skin breakage or skin cancer are major beneficiaries.  

Okay - so I can talk about this stuff for hours - the First Aid Spray and the Neem Leaf Extract are the same product, one is in a dropper, one is in a spray.  My husband was having a skin issue on his foot and when we got in the ocean the salt dried his foot out and made it painful.  One squirt of this stuff and he had instant relief.  We used it our entire trip.  When we got home my dog had some hotspots on his tummy and we used the Neem Leaf Extract and they cleared up SO FAST.  I am in huge support of these products.

And speaking of pooches, you can grab the Pet Capsules to protect against heartworm or you can grab the Neem Cake, which is cheaper, grind it up in your Magic Bullet and add it to your pooch's food.  Just sprinkle about 1/8 of a tsp on top and you're good to go.  

So let's get to the farm!

Our first view of the farm and young trees

A Neem Tree

Neem Fruit - it takes a tree 3-5 years to produce fruit which then gets washed and the kernel inside is what gets pressed for Neem Oil.  The Bahamas get hit with hurricanes, as you know, so the folks at Abaco Neem need to keep three years of Neem Oil on hand at all times in case that happens.  

Citronella plant - who knew they looked like that?!

The farm has all kinds of trees - the pomegranate shown above, henna, banana, calabash, macadamia nut and papaya just to name a few.

Nick Miaoulis, founder of Abaco Neem, who we found out working the farm.  He gathered some homegrown goodies for us to try including Sugar Cane.

Nick cut coconuts off their Coconut Palm Trees (because they press their own Coconut Oil - PS, they also press their own Aloe Leaf Juice - I have a major crush on these people) so we could have some AMAZING coconut water and then scrape the meat out to eat that too.  They also have almond trees so we got to have fresh almonds as well!

Daniel and me enjoying our coconut water and Nick and his wife, Daphne, who are native Bahamians and some of the hardest working folks I've ever met - an incredible inspiration!

We had a wonderful time learning about Neem and getting to watch sunsets in Abaco!

Sunset from our house