People are becoming more and more selective when it comes to food. An abundance of the food we eat in the Caribbean comes from the United States where ever increasing amounts of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are introduced into food products. Genetically modified means that the DNA from herbicides, pesticides, bacteria and viruses has been introduced into many mass produced food products. This artificial means of producing food is complicated by the fact that these same items can be labeled ‘natural’ without any objection from the FDA who, as a government agency, may well be in the pocket of the big food producing corporations. So what do we do? We have to make our own educated choices.
Throughout the Caribbean Islands a weekly market is part of island tradition. Visiting boaters can enjoy a wonderful morning strolling around a market and purchasing fresh exotic food items for the week ahead. Alternatively, in many anchorages, boat boys in ragtag dinghies will approach a visiting vessel with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and I can remember in years gone by purchasing a stalk of bananas for a couple of dollars and hanging them from the boom for snacks and smoothies all day long.
One operation in the BVI that is dedicated to producing GMO-free, organic food is Good Moon Farm. Located on a hillside on Tortola’s northern shore, terraces have been painstakingly constructed to provide beds for a large variety of fruit and vegetables, herbs and spices. Fruit trees produce an assortment of nature’s bounty: mangoes, avocados, breadfruit, soursop, banana, plantain and guavaberry. Specially designed returnable boxes are used to pack the freshly picked produce on a daily basis.
One inspiration of the farm’s owner/manager, Aragorn Dick Read, was to organize a network of local farmers to supply crops to his distribution center to cover times when the farm fell short of supplies. Contacts from Dominica were sourced years ago to provide organic foods to the BVI to supplement locally grown produce. All sources of produce were carefully examined to ensure no artificial pesticides were used. “Integrity of the product is paramount,” explained Aragorn.
Market gardening or farming is very labor intensive and Aragorn employs local experts Drake and Johnson, both of Carib Indian descent, to nurture his operation and work at a multitude of jobs, as is required on a farm. Islanders are very much a part of the operation too; building terraces, planting and harvesting. To understand the extent of this burgeoning operation take a look at the website and the long list of available products – all deliverable to your boat – fresh from the farm.
Delivery of farm produce direct to your boat is especially convenient for charter yachts – and the service can be accessed by a simple phone call. Large luxury yachts are using this service not only for desirable organic foods for discerning clients but also for orders of fresh cut flowers for attractive displays for arriving guests, for weddings and special ceremonies. Exotic flower arrangements include heliconias, bird of paradise, lobster claws, pink and red gingers … to name a few.
A new facet to this farming gem is a ‘food lab’. Here drying units can dehydrate foods which are then packaged in zip locked packs or vacuum sealed bags for preservation. Bananas and plantains are especially good candidates for drying. Quantities of basil are mixed with extra virgin olive oil for pesto, and hot sauces from a variety of peppers and fresh ginger are on the horizon.
Soon to be on offer will be meat, fish and poultry – all naturally raised and hormone and anti-biotic free. Exotic items like buffalo, game and crocodile will be available.
The good news is that all items from the farm and its subsidiaries will be offered to all – from bareboat companies to the most exclusive mega yachts. Crews and chefs can access the inventory and phone in their requirements for delivery the next day. From farm to boat – what a concept!
For more information or to place an order, Tel: (284) 542-0586 or visit: http://goodmoonfarm.com
Julian Putley is the author of ‘The Drinking Man’s Guide to the BVI’, ‘Sunfun Calypso’, and ‘Sunfun Gospel’.