Finding Caribbean Flavor in the Hudson Valley
Generational Jamaican recipes are being bottled in Saugerties.
Photos courtesy of Seasoned Delicious Foods
It’s not easy prying a legendary Caribbean recipe out of a mom who is protective of the “intellectual property” she’s held on to for generations. That was the challenge faced by Martin Dunkley a few years ago, when he asked his mother, Dorothy “Momma Blossom” Murray, for her culinary secrets. “No way; those are my babies!” she said. But after some gentle cajoling by Martin and his wife, Tamika, she revealed the secrets behind her authentic island hot sauces, condiments, spice mixes, and special dressing oils, each easily infusible into everyday dishes.
Living in Saugerties, Tamika and Martin both have Jamaican roots. Bronx-born Martin was recruited by SUNY Ulster to play basketball and stayed in the Hudson Valley post-graduation. As a youngster, Tamika lived in many towns in Ulster County. “We wanted to open our business here — this is where we live,” says Tamika. “We saw a void, as there are few outlets that sell authentic Caribbean foods. So far, the response has been great.”
To get started, Tamika and Martin leased a local commercial kitchen. The initial responses were overwhelmingly positive, so the next step was to get state certifications and bring the products to the public. Named Seasoned Delicious Foods, they now produce 21 gourmet Caribbean items, all vegan and non-GMO. Since their beginnings in that commercial kitchen, they have expanded their operations to an industrial copacker.
“Our products are versatile,” says Martin. “They add flavors and enhance everyday dishes like stir-fry. Hot sauces can take the place of bouillon in stews, and relishes can be mixed with our oils for salads and dips. Once folks try them, they come back for more!”