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Finding your Thanksgiving Turkey Provisioning in the Caribbean

You know you want it...

Mocka Jumbies and Rum...

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Cruisers who hit the perfect weather
window and spend seven to ten glorious days sailing south to the Caribbean from
the eastern U.S.
mainland, find their provisions nearly depleted and the big American food
holiday of Thanksgiving up coming. While Thanksgiving is an official
holiday only in the U.S.
owned islands of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, there’s no
reason why any boater can’t enjoy a good old turkey dinner, since fixings
are found throughout the Caribbean.


Large, well-stocked supermarket chains like Pueblo, Amigo
and Grande are located throughout the island, and are within a 15-minute or
less taxi ride from entry ports like Boqueron on the
west coast and Fajardo to the east.

Pueblo and Plaza Extra are the two large supermarkets on
St. Thomas and St. Croix, in the Virgin
Islands. There are gourmet groceries nearer port that offer
holiday foods, both ready-to-cook and pre-prepared. On St. Croix, Schooner Bay
Market is within walking distance of the Christiansted
anchorage and docks at St. Croix Marine. On St. Thomas,
there’s Marina Market across the street from
American Yacht
Harbor in Red Hook and
Gourmet Gallery at Crown Bay Marina. “With a day’s notice, we can
have a complete, pre-prepared turkey dinner ready for pick-up. You just heat
and eat,” says Bill Hyde, a former manager at Gourmet Gallery. Over on
St. John, you’ll find
Dolphin Market and Starfish Market. Both require a 5-minute taxi ride from
Cruz Bay,
but are well stocked with essential and festive foods.


Tortola, the capital of the British
Virgin Islands, offers supermarket and specialty food stores that
are amply stocked with Thanksgiving foods, thanks to the territory’s
proximity to the U.S. Virgin Islands. The fresh produce, in-house made baked
goods and fresh meat, poultry and seafood selections are excellent. “We
order a special trailer of items from the mainland to make sure we’re
stocked up for Thanksgiving,” says Leon Brewley,
at Bobby’s Supermarket in Road Town and a 5-minute walk from Village Cay

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Tortola is a real mecca for
charter bareboats, with over a dozen companies like
The Moorings, Sunsail, Horizon and Conch Charters based on the island. The
Ample Hamper, located at Frenchman’s Cay Marina and Inner Harbour Marina,
in West End and Road Town, respectively, is one gourmet grocery that provides
provisioning services that include online ordering, filling orders on a short
three-day notice and delivery of ordered groceries to the dock. You can order
your turkey frozen or ready cooked from The Ample Hamper.


There are many food stores, from
larger supermarkets to mom-and-pop and gourmet grocerys
on Antigua. Most convenient, you’ll find
Dockside Liquors & Supermarket at the Antigua Yacht Club marina in
English Harbour,
and Bailey’s Supermarket in Falmouth.
North, nearer the capitol of St.
John’s, Gourmet Basket is a treat for holiday
shopping. “We have over 5,000 different food items from frozen, fresh and
dry and over 650 references in our wine division, so anything you’d need
for Thanksgiving is here,” says Didier Boulos-Callias.
If you want to skip the turkey, Gourmet Basket offers roast quail and Certified
Black Angus Beef.


Cruisers to
Barbados will find a place to anchor at the
Barbados Yacht Club, in Carlisle
Bay, about a mile outside of the capitol of
Bridgetown. There are
several mini-markets nearby as well as larger grocery stores. A short taxi drive
away you’ll find a Super Centre supermarket. This is the largest chain on
the island with five locations all equipped with a hot foods take out, plus
deli with soups and sandwiches. “We have an assortment of turkeys and
hams, plus deli with sell cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes. We don’t
carry pumpkin pie, but do have the ingredients to make one,” says
marketing manager, Karen Alleyne.


There are many small food stores and produce markets
throughout the Grenadines. The main yacht
provisioning shops on Bequia are Doris’ Fresh Foods, Shoreline Mini-Mart and EuroShopper. “I’m expecting a shipment of
turkey for early November,” says Eardley
Simmons, manager at EuroShopper.


Most cruisers shop at three major grocery stores, Foodfair, Foodland-IGA and Real Value. “From
Mount Hartman
and Prickly
Bay, it is a 5- to 10-minute drive to
Grand Anse where these stores are located,”
says Laura Fletcher, president of the Marine and Yachting Association of
Grenada and owner with husband, Jason, of Grenada Marine. “They all stock
turkeys, cranberry sauce and tinned pumpkin pie mixes, though the small items
tend to disappear quickly so the rule is, if you see it, buy it! The fresh
produce market in the center of St. Georges is worth a visit, if you’re
willing to get there between 5 am and 7 am on Saturday mornings. There are no
cranberries, but there are bananas, cashew, citrus, passion fruit, sapodilla,
guava, mango, mammy apples, West Indian cherries, carambola,
and sugar apples to name a few.”

Grenada’s sister
island, has several small retail outlets filled with a reasonable range of
commonly used items shipped from
Grenada and surrounding islands.
“Fish and meats are somewhat generated by the community so if you are
willing to buy locally butchered meat, you will be fine,” Fletcher says.


In the Chaguaramas area of
Trinidad, where most cruisers first arrive, the Hi Lo and
Dockside Mart are both fully stocked food stores with fresh, frozen and canned
foods. “Hi-Lo also has two larger branches within easy reach of Chaguaramas. Both are easy taxi rides. There’s also a
regular taxi service to Pricesmart and Tru Value Supermarkets, which are 20 minutes away and have
a selection of Thanksgiving fare available,” says Jacqueline Clarke,
general manager of the Yacht Services Association of Trinidad & Tobago.

“But,” adds Clarke.
“Provisioning may not be necessary. The Trinidad and Tobago
Hospitality Institute will be hosting visiting cruisers for the fifth year,
providing a full Thanksgiving meal for TT$45 (US$7). YSATT’s
Members Only provides a free shuttle.”

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

So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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