CHRISTIAN VALLEY AGRICULTURAL STATION - THE PEARL OF THE SOUTH
Christian Valley is Antigua’s premiere collection of mature fruit trees. Located in the forested folds of the Sherkerley Mountain Range of southern Antigua. Here you find a wide variety of fruits such as; orchard of mango, citrus fruits, avocado, guava, Malay apple, cashew, breadfruit, soursop, and many curious tropical fruits.
Christian Valley is also a national historical landmark for Antigua. Along the road leading into Christian Valley, one encounters the ruin of the colonial, sugar estate house of Blubber Valley, now surrounded by a chicken farm. The Christian Valley estate house lies at the end of the road, within the station. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the surrounding hills served as a refuge for a society of escaped African slaves, known to history as maroons. Maroon trails are still used today by foresters and farmers.
Date Started: 1973
Intial Name- Plant Propagation Station
Prior Owned by a Number of Owners
Purchased by the Government: 1940s – 50s.
Extension Division : Rent to Farmers from 50s-70s
The Plant Propagation Station project was started in 1973 as was named Christian Valley Plant Propagation Station under the policy of the then elected Government (PLM) and was spear headed by the Minister of Agriculture, Honorable Robert Hall, Director of Agriculture – Burty Lake and Manager of the Project – Mr. Cedric Henry. It was funded by the British Government (British Government rep was Miss Betty Metcalf) and Baptist Organization (represented by Mr. Gary Hartcock.
At Christian Valley the main focus was the development of Orchards – Major Fruits such as:
(1)Mangoes Various – Varieties (gene pool for propagation)
Varieties – Juice, Edward, Eldon, Pinero, Irwin, Francise, Imperial, Kent, Kitt, Ruby, Early Gold, Tommy, Attcins, Palmers, Sensation, Haden, Kidney- John Peter and Dominica, Num-doc-mai
(2) Avocado – Pollock, Simons, Lula, Bottle Neck, Grippina, Simmic 34
(3) Citrus – Valancia, Washington Navel, Ortanique, Parson Brown, Mandarin, Tangerine, Tangello, Grape Fruit (Marsh, Ruby Red, Pink), Shaddock. Seedless Lime, West Indies Limes.
(4) Minor Fruits – Guavas, Malay apples, Soursop, Sugar Apples, Golden Apple.
As you enter the gate, you will encounter a large planting of mango. On the right hand side, across the stream bed, there is also the front line of 4 acre of mango trees. Beyond and up the slopes there are Brazil cashews which produce large nuts. These trees were established on a 20 acre orchard during the mid-1970s under a project of the Southern Baptist Convention (USA) through the Central Baptist Church located in Ottos, St John’s. This fruitful collaboration increased the mechanization of the station.
The average annual rainfall at Christian Valley is greater than 50 inches which is twenty percent higher than the national average.
The soil which flows down from the peaks is an excellent, slightly acidic, sandy loam that is more suitable for fruit trees than is the limestone of the northeast of the island.
Christian Valley today produces over 180 metric tonnes of tropical fruit.