Huel Moss Jr. experienced the best of both worlds growing up with his grandfather in Crooked Island and his father in Nassau. Moss’ earliest memories were that of his father doing odd jobs here and there to support his family.
This work ethic soon transferred to him.
“I always felt compelled to do something for myself. I remember my brother Theo and I starting a bicycle business back in the late ‘80s, and we became fairly successful even rivaling some of the big bicycle companies of today,” he shared.
Moss said he and his brother’s business fared well; however, he was soon transferred to Abaco to teach. By the time he opened a branch of the Roadrunners bicycle store here, he was transferred to South Andros by the Ministry of Education, and had to shut the business down.
Now that he’s back in Abaco, Moss says who knows.
But for now, Fruity Freddie Farms is his focus. With a slogan of “Always Bahamian, Always Good,” Fruity Freddie’s mission statement and philosophy is to produce authentic Bahamian fruit products of the highest quality using the finest organically cultivated fruits from its farms.
“Entrepreneurship was always there with me, and made it easy for me to look around and look for a niche that was available,” Moss explained. “The wastage we as Bahamians do in terms of throwing away produce that we produce led me to look at doing something with some of the products we produce right here in The Bahamas – Abaco in particular.
“Instead of directly producing or growing items, I said why not look at the value-added item aspect of it. After attending a few seminars put on by the Department of Agriculture and BAIC, I decided to take that route – to throw my hand in the basket so to speak – and that’s how it basically got started.”
Fruity Freddie Farms was established between the years of 2012 to 2014. Presently a home-based business, Moss is the sole owner. Along with his daughter, Latonya, who is autistic, Moss said that the two of them are doing a wonderful job together as she assists him as best she can.
“She is a very vital part of the business because she helps with the processing aspect, the packaging and direct sales when we go to our various markets,” he said, appreciatively.
Through the Dept. of Agriculture and the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC), Moss acquired a small tract of land in North Abaco, and began growing Bahamian fruit trees such as sugar apples, guineps, mangoes, sapodillas, plums, etc.
“God blessed this country with being able to produce a lot of the food we consume, but with development, a lot of the areas where these fruits grew were basically turned into residential or business areas especially in New Providence,” he stated. “So many of the fruits I grew up eating are difficult to find, so I said I would look into growing indigenous, Bahamian fruits.”
So, the concept for Fruity Freddie Farms came about because of the fruits; his second name is Frederick, so that’s where the Freddie comes in; and then the farming aspect of the business.
Fruity Freddie’s most popular products are the goat pepper sauce and the habanero pepper jelly.
The product list expands to include fruity cheesecakes, fever (lemon) grass iced tea, and there is also a tasty line up of fruit barbecue sauces: the mango madness barbecue sauce, the Eleuthera pineapple barbecue sauce, and the savory coconut barbecue sauce.
“All of those are fruit barbecue sauces on the sweet side. However, based on customer demand, we are about to produce a spicy or hot mango barbecue sauce, which should be fairly hot, but have a fruity sweetness to it as an aftertaste.”
Moss proudly introduced the popular Fire Freddie’s goat pepper sauce, which has achieved international acclaim among his customers. He has exported and shipped products in the United States to California, New York, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and Texas. He also has customers in the Cayman Islands and England.
“Slowly, but surely, the product has now become internationally known,” he boasted. “On Abaco, the second homeowners and tourists alike just love it. Locals are slowly buying into it in terms of the feedback I have received. I have customers who have travelled to the island several times, and the first thing they want to sample is the Fire Freddie’s goat pepper sauce.”
Moss admitted that his personal favourite is the Fire Freddie’s goat pepper sauce. Not only does he add some to his food before eating it, he also cooks with it. The hot pepper sauce, he said, is a flavourful pepper sauce, adding additional flavour and taste to a variety of cooked dishes.
The pepper jelly achieves similar results.
“It is a secret waiting to be discovered. The cracked conch and the pepper jelly just go hand in hand, very similar to gin and coconut water as I’ve been told,” Moss divulged.
Major stores like Maxwell’s Supermarket and Golden Harvest along with select restaurants carry the Fruity Freddie brand of products. Fruity Freddie Farms is basically marketed through local fresh markets held from time to time in Treasure Cay, Marsh Harbour, Guana Cay and Hope Town, and Moss sometimes travels to New Providence to attend markets there like the Bahamas National Trust’s (BNT) Jollification.
He is confident that his products can hold their own.
“I don’t just produce a pepper sauce just for the sake of producing a pepper sauce. A lot of people feel like you have to produce a pepper sauce that is just hot or peppery, and you can get those a dime a dozen,” he pointed out. “You want to produce something that is hot that people are looking for, but that also has a unique flavour to it. I think over the years I have accomplished that. I think I have produced a product that is a secret.”
Indeed, people are slowly experiencing the Fire Freddie’s goat pepper sauce, and appreciating it for what it is. The unique fruit barbecue sauces, he said, will also put him ahead of the pack so to speak.
As the business grows, Moss realizes that he will need to take a major step forward. Presently, his primary employment is in the educational system here in The Bahamas and has been for well over 40 years.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity I had to serve my country in education not only as a teacher, and as an administrator, but as one of the leaders in the District Education Office on Abaco,” he gratefully, said. “I have so much to be thankful for. This little country called The Bahamas is God-blessed, and I would not like to live anywhere else.”
Moss’ next step is to open a fixed retail outlet where Fruity Freddie products are exclusively sold, displayed and advertised.
Undoubtedly, the biggest hurdle business-wise has been the red tape, the bureaucracy. There’s the importation and the taxes on products such as bottles, small machinery for processing, labels, paper and inks, and then the requirements to get any concessions if there are any.
Beyond that, Moss emphasized that as an entrepreneur you have to not only have a passion and accept what you have, but also have the right attitude. Entrepreneurs must be willing to work because unlike a 9-5 job, working for yourself is a 24 hour, seven days a week type of situation, he said.
Moss also believes in giving back. As he strives toward financial success, he gives back to his community and to schools because “that is what the Good Book teaches.”
“That principle that a lot of us cannot grasp – to receive you have to give. I certainly believe in that. You have to be blessed to bless,” he acknowledged.
For Moss, Fruity Freddie Farms has been a blessing to him. He loves working on his farm: the weeding, the cleaning, the planting, the reaping and the harvesting. He also loves fishing, snorkeling and spearfishing and reading. On the spiritual side, his church family at Full Gospel Assembly in Treasure Cay, Bible reading and prayer keeps him going.
“It all keeps me grounded and focused, and is an important purpose of why I am here and that is to help spread God’s word and the gospel until He returns. Basically, that’s me.”
Moss added that he would love to get back into the bicycle business because it was enjoyable and successful for him. As a certified bicycle mechanic, he still does bicycle repair on the side and ponders about reviving the business and getting back into in an official capacity.
For the time being, though, Fruity Freddie Farms is top priority.
There are many ways to contact Huel Moss Jr. about Fruity Freddie Farms. His telephone contacts are: 1(242) 475-3226 or 1(242)551-7411; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; and Facebook page: Fruit Freddy.