Sweet treats by a Bajan old hand
Her hobby is to make sweet treats and sell them.
About ten years ago, Gloria Ruck, 71, started producing a range of flavourful condiments, fruit jams and wines after
she retired from the medical sector.
“I worked at the [Queen Elizabeth] Hospital for 30 years, and after I retired, I said, ‘I don’t want to sit down and do nothing’. I studied dietetics in New York. So, I am advanced in doing stuff. So, I started putting things into practice,” Ruck said.
“I worked at the hospital as a food service supervisor; I worked with a dietician. I used to write the menus too. So I know the amount of things to use; and what to do, and what not to do. So I just put everything in play,” she added.
“I do it as a hobby,” Ruck explained.
The Kingsland Main Road, Christ Church resident said the recession had not affected her home-based G’s Sweet Treats operation “because I can take nothing and make something”. All of her products are made from local ingredients, most of which she gets from a friend.
“I have a friend that has a farm in St George, and she has a lot of fruit trees; so I really don’t have to purchase. I get my fruits from her,” Ruck further explained.
Her choice of ingredients include carambola, guava, eggplant, bay leaf, and seasonal fruits such as mangoes and golden apples.
The elderly woman said a big part of her inspiration to make the items and sell them had come from her not liking to see food wasted.
“There are so many things we can do, but we don’t utilize the products that we have here as we should. As something is getting soft we tend to dump it, but it is still good. We go into the supermarket shelves and we take up products and we often don’t even know what we are buying,” she suggested.
Stressing that there were “so many different things we can do” with local fruits and vegetables, Ruck said she was saddened by the high import bill of the country, adding that “we can survive right here in Barbados”.
And she is pleading with young people to get more involved in agriculture and learn from the older folk how to make some products using local items.
“I would like more young people to come and learn things, and utilize the things we have; and I think the country would be better. What we are putting out we would be saving and utilizing right here in Barbados,” she said.
“When tomato is in season, you make tomato ketchup. I make something call hot and spicy dip out of tomatoes when they have a lot. There are so many things we could do; but we just done utilize! You don’t have to run into the supermarket all the time,” she advised.
Every year, Ruck takes part in the Urban Development Commission’s (UDC’s) Marketplace in Bridgetown, where she gets the opportunity to sell her products not only to locals, but tourists who also visit the somewhat bustling area.
“People get to know me and what I sell. If they want something, they order,” she said.
Ruck is pleased that many Barbadians have started to support micro and small enterprises. She said the tourists especially were fascinated by her items and would often buy them to take back overseas.
When asked if she had any plans to get some of her treats in supermarkets, Ruck replied through laughter: “Oh no, no, no . . . . I don’t want to do so much.
“I worked 30 years on this old foot already, and this year I am going to be 72. I don’t what to kill myself; I just want to live and be happy,” she stated.