Pride Road Hibiscus Jelly Product For us, it’s a tropical, tangy treat, most often brewed in tea. But, for the Muhaimin family of Pride Road, hibiscus is the basis for an expanding product line. It’s a business where the family is involved in every step, from planting the seeds and managing the fields to harvesting and dispensing the fruit; they turn into teas, sodas, chutneys, and more.
The beautiful dark sore calyxes (the sepals of the flower that mature into the protective layer around the pod), which the family harvests, do not come from the showy tropical flowers that bear the same name but which spend their summers adorning the patios. Instead, Muhaimin plants come from Hibiscus sabdariffa, a member of a similar family (which includes the plants that give us okra and cotton), grownup for its edible yet acidic leaves and succulent calyx.
The Muhaimins did not start as food makers or even growers. Yasin Muhaimin and his wife Elaine existed in New Orleans, anywhere Muhaimin was a network manager for the school system. Then, Hurricane Katrina forced their evacuation to Muhaimin’s home of Zachary, Louisiana, where they established Yardbird Farms and raised pastured poultry.
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What he raises is what the family will process into tea, soda, chutney, and jelly.
Once the calyxes begin to form, everything is ready for harvest. That means family and hired help too. It is a daily job, going through the rows and breaking or cutting the calyxes separately. Then each calyx is washed away, and the hard seed pod in the center remove. Muhaimin designed his tool to core each chalice, possibly the most tedious part of the process.
The goblets go to the family’s commercial kitchen in downtown Lithonia. Within 48 hours, everything will be dried or frozen for use in production later in the year. The space is a former flower shop, and its spacious interior offers plenty of storage and space for the dehydrators, jelly makers, kettles, and packaging equipment required for its range of products.
The current bestseller is Citrus Ginger Hibiscus Tea. The recipe was Elaine’s but was modified by Najeeb’s wife, Millie, to include a splash of rose water. The result is stimulating and light enough to drink again and again. Later in the period, chutney and jelly will be the production focus as their customers prepare holiday meals.
Flower to bottle
In 2019, the couple purchased a dispensation facility in Lithonia, Georgia, where they can take their hibiscus from raw physical to over product.
“It is a vertical course where we grow, harvest, procedure, and bottle all ourselves. So it’s not just about the farmhouse,” said Muhaimin, a fellow of the Georgia National Guard. “It is on a small gage, but we see it as a chance and a challenge.”
Hibiscus is the basis of this Atlanta family business
“My brother and I have full-time occupations, and my parents retired. They do most of the work,” said his younger son Yasin. “But, we come on weekends or even take a day off when we have a big bulk order. We pride ourselves on the cleanliness of our products. We don’t have a large inventory backlog. When an order derives in, we make the product to fill it.
The family uses each part of the hibiscus they grow. Dried hibiscus plants are part of the infusion that makes the tea. Calyxes that have soaked for tea are strained out and saved to be used to make chutney.