When Tom and Tessy Mathew (of Bluefield WV) vacationed in Belize in 1989, they found it to be remarkably similar to their childhood home of Kerala in India. The Malabar Coast of Kerala was the original destination of Christopher Columbus. Many explorers were searching for an easy route to India in order to trade for its lucrative spices. Columbus set off on his voyage which he thought would be a shortcut when he accidentally discovered the new world, and the rest is history. Some of the spices Kerala is known for include its world-famous Tellicherry black Pepper, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Kerala is also home to one of the oldest teak plantations.
Belize, the gem of Central America on the Caribbean Coast, is home to the second longest barrier reef in the world. With its Emerald Sea and pristine jungles studded with ancient Mayan ruins, Belize has become a favorite tourist destination, thanks in part to consistent coverage in the media and in prestigious magazines, such as the National Geographic. Many areas of Belize are uninhabited and designated as reserved forest and the overall climate and topography of the country struck Tom and Tessy as remarkably similar to their Indian birthplace, Kerala India.
Mathews started the Golden Stream Plantation in the Toledo district of Belize in 1990 where they grew cacao and citrus. Their farm grew to include various spice plants, exotic fruit trees, teak and mahogany trees and ornamental plants. With the aid of the Belizian Government, they imported seeds and cuttings of spice plants native to their homeland. Visitors to the plantation are in for a treat with the opportunity to view exotic plants such as cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. Golden Stream Plantation is home to one of the largest (and maybe the only) black pepper and vanilla farms in the country. The farm is adorned with varieties of beautiful trees including teak, mahogany, Ziricote, Santa Maria, rosewood, sacred banyan trees, and sandalwood.