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 her beautiful emerald sea and pristine jungle studded with ancient Maya Ruins, Belize has become a favorite tourist destination for people all over the world. Southern Belize is relatively undiscovered. Many areas of this untouched beauty remain as dense jungle broken up by roaring rivers and waterfalls. Jaguars, tapirs, Howler Monkeys and beautiful Birds like Macaws and Toucan call this piece of paradise on the planet earth their home. The weather of Belize mirror that of Kerala India where the Mathews were born and raised. Starting a Spice farm in Belize seemed so enticing, Mathews decided to jump in and give it a try. Many years ago,Nutmeg was introduced to Grenada and Cardamom to Guatemala with great success. So, the idea to do something similar was very tempting. With the help from GOB Mathews imported Black pepper, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove and vanilla to Belize. Most of these plants adopted their new home and thrived. Over the years the Spice farm also became a Botanical Gardens by adding a fruit Orchard with exotic fruit trees and an aquatic garden with Lotuses, and water lilies from Thailand and Gigantic Victoria amazonica native to Brazil. Belize Spice Farm and Botanical Garden (BS&BG) was born and grew up to be a favorite tourist attraction for Belizeans and thousands of visitors every year.