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Provisioning and Where to Shop for Food While Cruising the Caribbean

You don’t have to subsist on grog and hard tack while cruising the Caribbean. Nearly every island boasts plenty of places to provision. You’ll find everything from roadside stands brimming with fresh fruits and vegetables, to gourmet groceries and mainland-type supermarkets that stock ingredients from soup to nuts. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find:

Dominican Republic: On the north coast in Luperón, there is a general supermarket at Marina Luperón, and a commercial center just south of the main square in Puerto Colon that has both a supermarket and bakery. Nearby to the east in Puerto Plata, Ocean World Marina offers supermarket services, which include order assistance and delivery. Further east in Samana, Casa Dorado has two general grocery stores and a French bakery. In the southeast in La Romana, the Casa de Campo Marina offers a general grocery store, Supermercado Nacional. It also has the Block & Barrel Gourmet Deli, an upscale shop that sells high quality foods including Starbucks coffee and Cheesecake Factory desserts and a variety of fine wines and liquors.

U.S. Virgin Islands: Pueblo and Plaza Extra are the big stores here. Since last year’s remodel, The Fruit Bowl, in Wheatley Center on St. Thomas, has turned into more of a full-service supermarket. In addition to a spectacular variety of conventional and organic produce (think eight to 10 different types of tomatoes!), there’s an extensive cheese selection, whole grain and specialty breads, prime meats, kosher poultry, wild salmon, nuts by the pound, a salad bar and an Indian, Hispanic and British products section.

British Virgin Islands: Bobby’s Market Place and RiteWay Food Markets are the two large supermarket chains in the BVI. For something different, check out Dockmasters at the Village Cay Marina on Tortola. There are salads, sandwiches and soups. Salads, sold by the pound, range from lettuce and tomato to honey mustard chickpea. Sandwiches offer gourmet touches like goat cheese and olive tapenade and there are daily soup specials. There is also a small grocery section with many imported items.

St. Maarten: There are several provisioning agents on both sides of the island as well as gourmet supermarkets and other stores catering to the yachts, says Riselle Celestina, administrator at the St. Maarten Marine Trades Association. “Most are centered in and around the Simpson Bay area and have either dinghy docks or locations at marinas such as Simpson Bay Marina (Georgie’s Provisioning) and Isle de Sol (Isle de Sol Yacht Provisioning). Most if not all provisioners deliver right to the boats and St. Maarten’s airport gets flights in from all over the world, which makes it easy to get fresh produce in—and in record time.”

Antigua: In Falmouth Harbour, says John Duffy, president of the Antigua & Barbuda Marine Association, “There’s Dockside Supermarket. A few minutes drive away is Bailey’s Supermarket. In St. John’s, the best is Epicurean, which also has a branch in Jolly Harbour. Gourmet Basket, also in St. John’s is a favorite with yachtsmen.”

TCM and Island Provisions are among the best-known yacht provisioners, says Duffy. “New to the island is Shore Solutions, a company which imports provisions to order by air and can supply anything from truffles to caviar.”

“The variety of provisions available is very similar to a supermarket in the U.S. or the U.K.,” says Duffy. “For smaller items there are numerous local shops, and locally grown produce can be bought quite cheaply and, of course, is very fresh.”

St. Lucia: This year, says Raoul Massé, manager of Marigourmet Ltd., in Marigot Bay, St. Lucia, “We will carry more French products than last year, including cheeses and gourmet items.” Last year, the gourmet grocery expanded its variety of cheeses and wines. This selection will be available this year as well as will game meat, fresh fish fillets, USDA prime and choice beef, and unique items such as sushi products, especially around the winter holidays.

Super J is St. Lucia’s largest supermarket chain. The market is Castries is a great place for fresh fruits and vegetables as well as meats and seafood. Several stalls line the market and sell pre-prepared local dishes and snacks.

St. Vincent & The Grenadines: In St. Vincent, Narendra ‘Seth’ Sethia, base manager for Barefoot Yacht Charters headquartered in Blue Lagoon, says, “There are a couple of small stores close to St. Vincent’s yacht harbor, but for decent provisioning you need to go slightly further.
Sunrise Supermarket & Bakery, part of the C.K. Greaves chain, is probably the most convenient. The selection is reasonably good by local standards, though the availability of fresh produce varies according to what the ship brought in. In Kingstown, a 20- to 25-minute cab ride from Blue Lagoon, Aunt Jobe’s supermarket has a very good selection of fresh produce and imported cold cuts and cheeses.”

Swedish-owned Gourmet Foods, within walking distance of the charter companies, boasts an extraordinary assortment ranging from virgin olive oil to gourmet chocolates, frozen seafood, cheeses and frozen vacuum-packed breads such as Panini and Focaccia.

In Bequia, Doris Fresh Food sells meats imported from the U.S., cheeses from all over Europe, Italian pasta and rice from Thailand and India. There’s also a wide range of smoked fish and pate, and Indian, Thai and Italian herbs, spices and sauces. On Union Island, Bougainvillea Marina offers fresh bread, croissants, pastries and pain au chocolat, while Captain Gourmet has a great selection of freshly baked products, yogurts, cheeses, pates, local specialties, fine wines and Cuban cigars.

Grenada: Grenada has quite a number of supermarkets and other provisioning opportunities in areas most frequented by yachtsmen, says Edwin Frank, spokesman for the Grenada Tourist Board, in St. George’s. “Many of these supermarkets offer a wide range of fruits, vegetables, wines, cigars, canned juices, rums, cleaning detergents, soaps, frozen meats, and almost all of the various foods that are available in North American supermarkets.”

A few of these supermarkets include: Food Fair on the Carenage in St. George’s; Blue Danube Grocery on Lowther’s Lane; Foodland, one of Grenada’s largest and most popular markets and closest to Port Louis; Real Value Supermarket, located in Grand Anse and the biggest supermarket in Grenada; and CK’S SUPER-VALUE in Grand Anse, a bulk format store that is close to the anchorage in True Blue.

Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.

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