I was first introduced to the Neem tree by Mr. John Conrick at a botanical show in Gainesville Fl. in late 1992. He and an associate of his were handing out pamphlets and had a few neem seedlings on display.
Immediately my gut felling told me this was something that could be beneficial to our country of the Bahamas.
I did some research at the University of Florida where I had attended in the late 1970’s and the more I learned about the benefits of Neem, the more I could see that this could help to diversify our economy and at the same time contribute to healthcare and stimulate agriculture in our country that, at the time, was 100% dependent on tourism and finance. Abaco Island, where I was living, only has about 4” – 6” of top soil, but the Neem tree is said to be a fertilizer tree and actually puts more nutrients into the ground than it takes out and, it only requires 18 inches of rain a year. I was convinced to take a chance on something that could potentially help to protect our environment, not threaten our precious water supply and, at the same time, contribute to the healthcare of our country.
My business ventures leading up to this time had been in restaurants and the clothing business, I had never had any experience in large scale farming.
Early in 1993 I decided to take a chance on this tree that touted the ability to help control high blood pressure and diabetes, two diseases common in my family and prevalent in most families in the Bahamas.
With the assistance of John Conrick I imported 8000 neem seeds from India. I sought out the assistance of an elderly gentleman, Mr. Albert Albury, a local Bahamian who was retired but who had many years of farming experience, to help lay out the plan of the farm. With his guidance and assistance we started a nursery with the 8000 seeds of which only 10% survived.
During the growth of the seedlings in February of 1994, I applied for and leased 60 acres of Crown land from the Department of Agricultural near Casuarina Point, 13 miles south of Marsh Harbour, and this was the birth of the Abaco Neem Farm. I went to the Bank of Nova Scotia local branch and put up personal real estate to borrow money to purchase a 265hp John Deere tractor, disc, truck and other equipment needed to develop the farm. We cleared and prepared the land by removing the existing shrubs, trees and rocks. Within a few months we had completed the ground preparation and planted the 800 seedlings now a few feet tall, at 20’ intervals to form a grid. This, to my knowledge, formed the birth of the first organized Neem Tree farm in the world.
We kept that under control and after 3 years we made our first harvest of neem fruit. We propagated a few thousand of those seeds in order to further expand the farm. At the same time we sold potted neem trees to homeowners to generate sales to help offset the cost of continued land preparation and labour. We marketed the tree for it’s environmental and health benefits. Today in our capital, New Providence, you will find many neem trees throughout the island. That was a great marketing strategy because in later years when we started to manufacture value added health products starting with the Pure Neem Oil and Neem Leaf Herbal Supplements we had a ready clientele.
Because the Neem tree is as much a fertilizer tree as it is a natural pest prevention there is no need to use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. And as our focus is on health care we started intercropping with fruit trees because your food is your medicine. The trees growing along with the neem trees did not present any pest issues. We planted a variety of bananas, coconuts, avocados, citrus and mangoes. This further demonstrated the value and safety of Neem trees as a natural pest control and to our environment.
Once we had established success of the farm, my Mission was to contribute to the healthcare of our country namely focusing on those two preventable diseases, hypertension and diabetes. It has been proven in the practice of Ayurvedic medicine (meaning to cause the body no harm) and in my own personal experience, Neem is an effective preventative. It supports the immune system and is considered to be an adaptogen bringing what is out of balance into balance. At that time, I was convinced that Neem would play a huge role in integrated medicine in years to come and more specifically for its antiviral properties. It was also apparent that healthcare would not be affordable for the greater number of our population which made it even more important to get people to start paying attention to their bodies and putting more emphasis on prevention rather than cure; address the symptoms before they became major issues. Neem is all about prevention!
We further developed our health line to include a Neem Leaf Extract, that we refer to as our 1st response antiseptic product, and Neem Salve for topical use as an anti inflammatory and for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Together with the Neem Oil and Neem Leaf Herbal Supplement, these four products have remained our Core health products. I need to emphasize that not all neem oil is alike. 90% of the neem oil that you find on the market is an agricultural grade oil, it’s not a pharmaceutical grade. There is much confusion in this regard as some will say it is toxic, but in reality the one (agricultural) cannot be compared with the other (pharmaceutical). This is why we have always followed organic practices and gone to great extent and expense at being “certified organic”. All of our products are made with the highest grade neem seed oil, and neem leaf extract which is what separates us from all the rest. We grow it, harvest it and produce it, from farm to farmacy we control it! And, for close to 30 years we have consumed it, we are Neematized!
The properties of neem are of tremendous benefit to all types of skin conditions which led us to developed a range of soaps, face cream, lotions, shampoos and conditioners. Another valuable aspect of Neem is as an insect repellent not only in plants but on pets and humans. It is a non-violent repellent as it does not kill anything, it simply repels over 200 hundred non-beneficial insects including mosquitoes. On the other hand it attracts many beneficial insects such as spiders, butterflies, dragonflies, ladybugs and bees. We have nine hives on the farm that produce an amazing neem honey and we collect the wax for use in our lip balm and salve.
Being an agricultural business, we were not eligible for financial support from any conventional bank and the government does not offer any subsidies to farmers in our country. Whatever revenue we generate we pump right back into the farm. Personal sacrifice and modest living has helped to support the farm management and in exchange we have benefited spiritually, mentally and physically. Living in Nature is healing which is why we have to take care of Mother Earth.
I eventually closed my women’s clothing retail shop to focus entirely on Abaco Neem and redesigned the building to facilitate the production of finished products in a fully enclosed glass windowed lab. That allowed a retail customer to be able to observe raw neem leaves and seed being converted into value added products being made right in front of them. We provide complete transparency and accountability and together with our organic certification, strive to produce a superior quality product. Still today, we are the only certified organic farm of any kind in our country.
In 2005, while taking a real estate course, I had the good fortune to reconnect with a childhood friend, Daphne de Gregory, who became intrigued by what I was doing as a farmer and about neem and it’s healing properties. She had hormonal facial discoloration (melasma) for years that I told her could be corrected by using my abaco neem cream. She was skeptical but agreed to give it a try. After about 10 months of regular daily use her skin tones were even and there was no more need to use makeup to coverup. She became a believer and started helping with marketing and promoting the products on other islands in the Bahamas. To tell the truth, I had been very attracted to her as a young boy in school. She was a couple of years older so obviously didn’t show any interest in me! We both married and had children but our respective marriages ended in separation. Thirty years had passed between our school days and the real estate course but the spark was still there for me. And, as age had little relevance at this point, she saw me in a different light and apparently liked what she saw or more to the point, felt. Eventually, after a long telephone courtship, she moved from Freeport where she lived with her mother, to Abaco and the rest is history. They say that in this world there is someone for everyone well, we are definitely the someone that we each had prayed for, and we’ve been together ever since. Truly a match made in heaven!
We have worked together ever since, rebranding, updating, creating new products and expanding our offering throughout the country. Daphne learned first hand, more about neem and it’s many benefits from interaction with various customers and was an integral influencer on the further expansion of the neem product line. She redesigning labels, packaging and introduced more complimentary products. She created a website, opened social media accounts and expanded the business. The next 15 years were spent slowly growing and fine tuning the business. I focused on the farm management and Daphne focused on the sales and marketing side of the business.
In 2007 we were fortunate to be joined by Barbara Foreman, a British citizen who had lived in the Bahamas for many years. She had moved from Nassau to semi-retire and make Abaco her permanent home, she has been with us ever since! She had worked for years in the casino business, taught many Bahamian dealers employed by the casino and she enjoyed cooking and crafting, all talents that proved valuable to her new position as Production Manager at Abaco Neem. She is meticulous at following recipes and record keeping which is important for maintaining proper standards and certification records. She has found her role very rewarding and, from personal experience, is a big believer in neem. She loves her job and we love having her!
In January 2015 we became involved with Mr. Martin Vorderwuelbecke of the El Retiro ranch in Paraguay, South America. He had been a customer of ours and due to our product quality he asked us if we would be interested in starting a farm on his ranch. He traveled to Abaco to meet with us and soon thereafter we entered into an agreement where we committed to growing 400,000 neem trees from seeds harvested on our certified organic Abaco Neem farm. We carried the seeds in 20,000 increments to Paraguay to plant and teach the local workers how to grow neem. The project was twofold, for reforestation of the cattle fields and future production of neem products.
In November of 2018, at the invitation of Mr. Klaus Ferlow, Master Herbalist & Herbal Advocate, the founder of Ferlow Botanicals and Neem Research in Canada, we were asked to attend the World Neem Organization (WNO) Expo in Bangalore, India and to consider becoming members.
We took this opportunity to introduce The Neem Project, the name given to our Paraguay venture, as a major grower of superior neem raw commodity. It was a most enlightening experience and by no mistake, the very first person we encountered on arrival at the hotel was Klaus Ferlow! We immediately became friends and spent most of our free time together for hours of interesting discussions on our respective experiences in Neem. Both The Neem Project (Paraguay) and Abaco Neem Limited (Bahamas) then became members of the WNO.
In the spring of 2022, Klaus Ferlow invited us to visit him in Roberts Creek, on the sunshine coast of beautiful British Columbia, Canada and we had a wonderful time. With our combined 60 plus years of experience in Neem, it is mind boggling to us that still millions of people do not know about this tree which is the oldest tree in Ayurvedic treatments in recorded history!
Over the years we have had to overcome several hurricanes and many other challenges with growing the business, developing the website, opening up online sales and negotiating the best price and service to facilitate international deliveries. On September 1st 2019 our island faced one of the most devastating hurricanes in our history, Hurricane Dorian. It basically wiped out our island center and , by the grace of God, our building was one of very few buildings left standing. It has not been an easy road and now, today, almost three years later, we are faced with new hurdles due to a global pandemic, economic crisis, and healthcare challenges like the rest of the world is having to face.
This brings us to our primary focus HEALTHCARE!
I always knew that neem would one day be of great value for helping to manage a global viral outbreak. Unfortunately, the healthcare providers and governments do not still realize the tremendous benefits of naturopathy. It has been extremely frustrating to find myself caught up in misguided information by administrations that dictate how we are to manage our bodies!
We welcome visitors from local residents, school tours and foreigners from around the world to tour our farm. One of the many benefits of the Neem tree is it’s benefit to the environment. The tree is very drought tolerant needing only 18” of rain a year and it puts more nutrients back into the soil than it takes out. It provides excellent shade and the fruit is enjoyed by many variety of birds. Just walking through the neem trees is rejuvenating. On a hot summer day you can find coolness in the shade of the tree and on a moonlit night it’s amazing, we call it bathing in the neem forest because it refreshes and energizes you. It serves as a perfect host to the orchid family with its rough bark and anti fungal properties. We rescued many of our native orchids when a new road was being pushed through and attached them to the trees. They have thrived well and, much to my elation, the seeds, trapped after bursting free of their pods, have produced many baby orchid plants! When in bloom, the tall yellow spray of flower is breathtaking against the rough dark bark of the tree trunk.
The biodiversity of the neem trees along with over 120 varieties of fruiting and flowering trees has proven valuable for attracting a wide variety of birds. In almost every row of our 120 cultivated acres, you will find birds nests. In our last audit there were 256 nests identified and in a days birding close to 40 variety have been spotted! This proves that is not harmful to animal life.
From that little pamphlet that I came across at the botanical show about the amazing neem tree some 30 years ago, I truly feel that I found my purpose. And together with my wife Daphne, we are constantly encouraged by the positive feedback that we get from the many customers, friends and family that have also experienced the healing benefits of the Neem Tree that The National Academy of Science refers to as “a tree for solving global problems”.
Our motto is Abaco Neem “To Help the Body Heal” and our mission is to doing everything in our power to sensitize people to the importance of taking control of how they live. We live on our 120 acre certified organic farm totally off grid and as best as we can eating fresh fruit from our farm, so e days up to 5 different varieties with our homemade yogurt, granola and neem honey. We are now both in our 60’s and we realize the value of our health and through our use of neem as our medicine along with other herbs, zinc, D3, a good magnesium, good fresh produce, minimal to no processed foods, regular daily exercise, good rest and most importantly, an attitude of gratitude we strive to promote “living the good life”.
Nick & Daphne Miaoulis
Abaco Neem “To Help the Body Heal”
THE HEALING POWERS OF NEEM
The best Neem anywhere. 100% Organic. The owners are super friendly and helpful.
I’ve been using this product for 12years! I own a preschool center my immune system is strong due to this product. I use to get very ill and 4 allergy shots, allergy meds, and inhaler after taking this product my allergy dr released me after 6 months he was amazed!
Love this place and their products! Very kind and loving atmosphere. You can definitely tell they truly care about what they do. I will always be making a stop here during every vacation!
Abaco Neem Oil, specifically, as well as their other products, but especially the oil, is literally amazing. When we’re in the Bahamas, I frequently am the cruisers’ net anchor on the morning VHF radio, and do promotions for local businesses. I vetted my script (based on personal experience as well as their marketing materials) with them before using it. I had described it as a miracle drug (more later) but they cautioned that it is NOT a drug but rather a natural element and treated as a supplement. With that caveat, I have had personally astounding results with the oil, and have donated the few drops required (literally – a single drop goes a long way) to allow fellow cruisers to experience the healing and topical relief it provides. A few examples: I occasionally get topical dermatitis – locally inflamed and terribly itchy skin, particularly from things like poison ivy. In the Bahamas, there is a “poisonwood tree” – contact with that will raise a welt for most people. Sure enough, I got into some without realizing it, and it started spreading systemically – throughout my body via the bloodstream. The area directly affected was truly maddening – and the prescription steroidal cream I had did nothing to provide relief. A few drops, rubbed directly into the skin, within a single day, cleared it up entirely. No more welts, no more itching, and no other sites trying to spring up (systemically). It’s also amazingly healing. In prepping our boat for hurricane Matthew last fall, I slipped on the wet deck and barked my shin dramatically. Here’s a before and after picture of my wound, 4 days apart. It’s since healed completely. It’s proven similarly effective in instantly arresting hotspots on our geriatric long-haired chihuahua. Likewise, a capsule of the ground leaf extraction his dinner has stopped his itching overall Basically we have concluded that if it involves the skin, the oil is a curative. The owner’s wife had discolorations on the order of birthmarks on her face, all of her adult life. You guessed it – gone in days. I could go on, but likely you’d be overwhelmed. It suffices to say that they have many other products derived from the neem tree; their website will tell you about them. It absorbs readily into your skin, leaving it supple, not greasy. For us, it’s beyond amazing. The typical is either a 1/2 oz. or 1 oz. bottle, with a dropper. We felt strongly enough that we bought a 4-ounce bottle, normally used as a supply item for resellers to use in filling their bottles, and are still using that despite not having been back to Marsh Harbour (home of Abaco Neem) for well over a year – and that includes all the folks we’ve helped with our supply. Note that if it doesn’t say “Abaco Neem” it’s not – it’s just some other neem product. I can’t speak to those, but if the label has anything other than 100% pure neem in it, it’s not going to work as well. We love it.
Once we bathed in the neem, the wound took a drastic “healing change” that had never been seen before! 12 hours was like a week of healing on its own! We were overwhelmed and astonished as to the healing properties that are in the neem! This product should be in every house, vet and equine center! “Organic Abaco Neem’s” reputation certainly follows true when using high-quality products such as this! I have used supplements for years under doctors and experts care! It has been stressed to me many times the difference between high quality and low-quality supplement! Organic Abaco Neem certainly is one of the highest quality, purest products on the market! Thank you for your honesty and care, in producing such a product! Thank you for your honesty and care , in producing such a product!
When I first was introduced to Abaco Neem it was to treat discoloration on my face due to hormonal changes. I used it both morning and evening for about 10 months religiously and it totally evened out my skin tone. I have used to ever since and the discoloration has never returned. It also improved the elasticity in my skin giving a tighter more youthful look!