Garden of Eaten

Planters on St. Kitts have grown everything from tobacco, to cotton, to sugar cane, but today's farmers are focused on feeding the local population, provisioning restaurants and grocery stores, and exporting to foreign markets. As a vegetarian, few things make me happier than wandering through a farm or market full of fresh vegetables and fruit. Especially if I can graze while doing so.

Of course, anyone who's gone to the Basseterre farmer's market early Saturday mornings knows that St. Kitts has quite a bounty of nature's goodies - produce most likely from the west side of the island, grown around and in the rainforest. But you might be surprised to learn that there's a new farm in town - on the Southeast Peninsula. That's right, the part of the island you're more likely to see cactus than tomatoes. Until now, that is. The farm is huge and is growing so many things, it might be easier to list what's not sprouting up rather than what is. Although, I can't think of anything offhand. 

 

Gary, proprietor of Reggae Beach Bar & Grill, stuck a few coconut trees into the ground 5 years ago. Aww, look at them getting all grown up.

A year later, he started planting just about everything under the sun to see what would work and what wouldn't and then crossed his fingers he'd have something to show for all his efforts. Here's the farm at the very beginning (thanks Jilly C for finding and sharing!).

Slowly but surely, the trees have grown, the plants have produced, and The Coconut Farm has become a major supplier of fresh organic fruits & vegetables to not only its own restaurant, but also others as well, not to mention the supermarkets. 

By the end of the year, they're hoping to offer a weekly farmer's market on-site. There will likely be a small cafe or smoothie bar added so you can taste the fruits (literally) of their labor right on the spot. Islanders, tourists, and guests at the Park Hyatt right across the way will be able to meander around the property, breathe in the tropical smells all around them, and guess at what they're staring at. He's already had a class of young people who had fun learning where their veggies came from and eagerly taste testing a number of nature's sweets. 

              Do you know wwhat this is?

If that's not enough, Gary and his experienced cultivators were preparing a big chicken coop for a baby chicks delivery they were expecting the day following my visit. Fresh eggs, anyone? Did I mention the farm also has bees for honey? Donkeys coming soon too - just 'cause. Who doesn't like donkeys?

Ornamental plants are also going to be available for purchase. 

See how many edibles you can identify. If this doesn't make you hungry, I don't know what will.

Whew! The best part is that isn't everything!

Not even close. Add: celery, dragon fruit, cashews, cherries, limes, lemons, christophine, star fruit, peanuts, grapefruit, pineapple, guava, golden apple, sugar apple, genip, gooseberry, herbs - pant, drool!)

Of course, you know I couldn't leave without a few goodies. Yum! 

Stay tuned,; hopefully soon the farm will be open to the public. In the meantime, know that the mangos in your coladas and the veggies on your plate at Reggae Beach Bar are as farm-to-table (or drink) as it gets. When you're in the supermarket, be sure to buy local when you can! The best reward for the hard efforts of our growers is your business.

Thanks to Reggae Beach Bar for several photos used in this post.