Shopping For Fruit In Barbados

Submitted by Islandgal246

 

Today I was out shopping looking for some fruit to buy. My husband had tried getting some bananas earlier this week but was unable to do so. So I decided to go to Bridgetown to seek some fruit and  I visited Cheapside market. I asked some vendors for some melons, cantaloupes, honey dews, pineapples, water melons anything that is called fruit. Many told me that they never see cantaloupes nor honeydews selling in the market and I must try Scotty’s across the street.  I told them that these can be grown here so why aren’t we growing them? They said that they didn’t know. Now Scotty’s  is an importer of melons and pineapples and  I have frequently bought fruit there. I went in and saw a piles of fruit. Many apples, plums, pears, grapes, oranges, grapefruits all imported. I managed to get one of the last three honeydew melons and the last pineapple.  I decided to go to Hanschell Inniss to see if I can obtain a cantaloupe. That was another disappointment.  I was fed up and hungry so I decided to head home.

As I was approaching my driveway, I noticed a hired car parked in the driveway. I said to myself “like we have some visitors”. I unloaded the car with my precious fruit and made my way into the house. I heard some activity in the garden where  I found my husband  talking to some visitors.   I remembered being contacted by someone from Canada who wanted to visit the garden. They had visited Barbados before and followed my blog. I was introduced to this very pleasant couple and we started talking about the plants and garden. I told them that I was in town shopping. The lady who is a doctor  at a hospital in Canada, mentioned that she was in the  supermarket and that she couldn’t find any fruit to buy. She wondered how people who live here can afford to buy food  and how we survive with the high prices. I told her that I was on the prowl for some fruit as well and I had some difficulty obtaining some and I was fed up!

Yes I am fed up! So fed up that I will start growing my own melons!  I then had to scold myself that it was my fault trying to buy imported fruit that  we can grow here in Barbados. I had grown these before so growing is not a problem. I know I will have to wait three months to harvest but I am going to start TODAY.  Where are the local fruit farmers? Is fruit a luxury in Barbados?  Is that why a water melon cost $25.00 in the supermarket? In Florida tropical fruit farms are producing every exotic fruit they can lay their hands on. What are we doing here where we have suitable growing conditions.  Yes fruit is seasonal, but why do we have to wait until mango season to get fruit?

Are there any fruit farms here on the island? Why can’t we plant short crop fruits? What is the Ministry doing to widen the varieties of fruit on the island. There are many delicious fruits we have never heard of that grow in Brazil  and Guyana. Why haven’t we done trials to see how well they adapt to Barbados. Governor plums, Jaboticaba, Longan are a few that can grow here.  I fed up of scrounging  to buy fresh tropical fruit on a tropical island.  Anyone growing unusual fruit here on the island please contact me. I am eager to hear about your experiences.

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58 Comments on “Shopping For Fruit In Barbados”

  1. Anderson M. Pilgrim March 4, 2011 at 7:48 PM #

    I am aware of farmers in St. Andrew who grow fruit and have planted different types of fruit trees not normally grown in Barbados. I remember growing up everyone I knew (and I grew up just outside of Bridgetown) had a kitchen garden and fruit trees around their house. I suspect many of these areas have been paved over to build garages for the family car(s). Maybe folks need to return to that way of life instead of depending on imported fruit (and everything else). When I visit the island I enjoy the local food and prefer not to eat what I would normally eat in North America. Locally grown provisions and fruit is the way to go.

    Like

  2. Sid Boyce March 4, 2011 at 7:54 PM #

    Power to you!
    In the early 1900’s Jonathon Barnett brought back from the USA cloves, nutmegs and other exotic plants not hitherto known in Barbados and they thrived.
    After his death his gully was added to the national treasures for the paid enjoyment of locals and visitors. Even as a local I never had the pleasure of seeing his life’s work until lately – trespass was only allowed if you worked for him, a crying shame.
    Between then and the recent advent of the flower forest, imagination slept, briefly woke up and seemingly has gone into a deep sleep again.

    Like

  3. Andrea March 4, 2011 at 8:19 PM #

    We love cantaloupes so much…that my mum has some seeds that she’s trying to plant now. We had some grape vines growing too. It is getting too expensive to buy the fruits that we love.

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  4. The Scout March 4, 2011 at 8:35 PM #

    Water melons, cantalopes, honey dew melons and many other fruits are grown here in B’dos, even Jamaica ackee but most of these fruit goes directly to the hotels.

    Like

  5. Rosemary Parkinson March 4, 2011 at 8:42 PM #

    I almost do not even want to write what I feel here…I am so tired of the same old talk from myself…screaming about why we are not growing more, and why we have to import all these ‘everything-food’ from America…especially when their processed food is laden with chemicals and their fruits are filled with pesticides…Ask the farmers why they do not grow more. Praedial larceny is the No. 1 answer. And then comes how costly it is to farm and and and…I am tired of all the excuses. Yes! we should and have to go back to backyard farming it seems if we want the good old-time fruits without pesticides. I visited David Kinch’s farm – he has about 200 golden apple trees and says this is an easy fruit to grow with great rewards, and it loves Bajan soil. Bananas are grown in St. John and I have seen them plentiful. The Agricultural Station in St. Andrew used to have trees laden with fruit – Bajan cherry, carambola. I have seen grounds in Christ Church with melongs growing. Where do all these fruits go? Well some are exported and God only knows where the rest do. Why are we exporting the little we have? Good question too…we export all the good stuff and receive back the crap from the US. I see ‘exotic tropical fruits’ (all ah we fruit) in supermarkets in New York and London. So here goes another question? Why are we not able to import more readily fruits from other Caribbean islands? Limes, mangoes, bananas, sapodillas, otaheite apples, mammie apples, oranges, grapefruits, pineapples and and and? Why? Why? Why? We want to start the ‘importation’ of Caricom people before Caricom food. Why? Why? Why? These are questions that we who live on the island pose daily…but do we get any real answers…no! and as someone told me today Bajans are complacent, just accepting what we got and doan mek no fuss ’bout nutting enough to make the authorities implement certain obvious things that would get our farm land working again…why when we can import crap from the US eh? Why? Why? Why?

    There are so many questions about our food to be questioned…and the only answer we can get is another questions…why? why? why?

    Oh! by the way the guys in Swan Street have some great stalls with Fat Pork, Dunks, Bajan Cherries, Gooseberries…I have seen jams & jellies made with these…and they can be also stewed and made into desserts to be eaten with ice-cream for instance.

    I am getting tired of the fight and that is really sad!

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  6. smooth chocolate March 4, 2011 at 9:46 PM #

    we import very expensive strawberries from north america but they’re grown also in Jamaica…my workmate even brought to work some from her own garden in st. philip..they were smaller than the imported ones but much more delicious! why have the ministry of agriculture not experimented with fruits such as these. why do we import tamarinds from europe and refused to sell our own home grown tamarinds in the supermarkets? i have never even seen dunts and gooseberries being sold in any supermarket here. when will we change?

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  7. Paradox March 4, 2011 at 9:46 PM #

    I have tried growing all kinds of melons and was sucessful at doing so; but from the time the melons reach the size of a tennis ball I have to sit and guard the lot from dawn to dark. I say dark because I have seen those 4 footed …… walking around; like tonight and on many nights about 07:00/ 07:30 pm. At times if my windows did not have screens I am sure they would make their entry by that means.
    Something has to be done about the monkey population; they are eating sugar cane, grapefruit, sweet potatoes,sweet peas, and cassava, to name a few.

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  8. Hants March 4, 2011 at 11:49 PM #

    Anyone who lives in Barbados and has land around their house should grow fruit and vegetables.

    Take responsibility for yourselves.

    If you continue to depend on imported food you could be in for a nasty surprise.
    One Supermarket chain in a city like Montreal or Toronto buys more fruit and vegetables than all the importers in Barbados.
    One day you will have shortages because the North American market is the “preferred customer”.

    Islandgal246, Melons are easy to grow in Barbados. My late Dad used to grow 2 acres of sugar baby and cantaloupe at a time. They were the size of footballs.

    You all keep expecting an economic recovery to start soon but the world economy will continue on a roller coaster ride for a few years.

    Food security on an individual and a national level should be a priority.

    Start planting.

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  9. Under-Disguise March 5, 2011 at 5:07 AM #

    NOTHING BAJAN IS GOOD
    EVERYTHING MUST COME FROM OUTSIDE
    FOOD
    CLOTHES
    MUSIC
    IDEAS
    WE HATE OUR OWN
    MUSIC
    FOOD—–BREADFRUIT
    PERSONALITIES-RIHANNA; GARY SOBERS; SUKI KING’ GABBY; DAVID COMMISONG
    WE HATE THINGS BAJAN
    WE HATE OURSELVES
    BRAIN WASHED TO THE CORE !

    Like

  10. David March 5, 2011 at 7:17 AM #

    Feeling your pain Rosemary.

    Let us face it, we are dealing with an indifference to agriculture borne out of how we have been educating our people. There is the prevailing attitude we are a country that will pay the bills from tourist receipts. The idea of import substitution has been scoffed at by politicians and other stakeholders because according to them we can buy cheaper from outside. To suggest we need a risk mitigation strategy to accommodate food security seems unpalatable to who we have become; educated fools we dare say?

    Like

  11. David March 5, 2011 at 7:39 AM #

    Chinese companies mass producing fake rice out of plastichttp://www.naturalnews.com

    The above link may make the discussion relevant for scoffers.

    Like

  12. islandgal246 March 5, 2011 at 7:59 AM #

    @David and Rosemary

    WE ARE A BUNCH OF LAZY S.O.B.S we allow ourselves to be this way. Yes and I am including myself. We have been asleep for too long. I actually felt like a refugee looking to buy food in a war torn country. If a TOURIST cannot find fresh TROPICAL fruit to buy in our supermarkets what does that say about us as a country.

    Lordy loh, I have just read some devastating news about the water and soil contamination in Martinique and Guadeloupe. I was told the if you eat fruit from these islands you have a 50% chance of getting prostate or breast cancer. This is because of the chemicals used in the Sugar, Bananas, and pineapple industries have contaminated the soil.

    Now that has far reaching implications for Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean islands who grow similar crops for export. Now take a look at here in Barbados. Has any study been done to see how contaminated our soil is? There has been an increase of cancer. They say it is our diet that is the main cause. Is it really?

    We have been growing Sugar cane for centuries, right? Has any study been done to see when chemicals were introduced, what types were used and what effect it may have had on the population. This is frightening! We also grow sweet potatoes in former cane grounds. What chemicals have been used on this crop and for how long? This would also include other crops that are being grown in former cane ground. Ha the tamarind ball has started rolling, how much stuff will it collect when it finally stops?

    Is there any VIRGIN land on this island. The ease with which many use chemicals on this island is frightening. Who is responsible for educating the masses about this dangerous practice? We have a huge chemical re bottling plant here. Where do they dump their empty containers? We dump ours in the garbage bin to be collected by the Sanitation service. Where does it go? To our dump of course. When it is compacted and placed in the land fill and the rainy season starts. Where does that runoff go? Many of those chemicals state on the back that it is not to be dumped near drinking water supplies. Has anyone tested our water for trace elements of these chemicals imported on this island. What about illegal dumping? Do we know what is being dumped into our gullies and open lands?

    WAKE UP BARBADOS we are a small island with one of the largest populations for our size. We will become contaminated sooner than other counties who have a larger land mass and less people per square mile.

    The question is, how safe is our food? Let us start cleaning up our environment. The ministry of Agriculture has to start too. We all have a part to play. Let us hope that it is not too late.

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  13. David March 5, 2011 at 8:06 AM #

    @islandgirl

    Is this the correct link to the Martinique story?

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  14. islandgal246 March 5, 2011 at 8:12 AM #

    David yes it is.

    Like

  15. islandgal246 March 5, 2011 at 8:18 AM #

    Pesticide contamination of the coastline of Martinique
    Gilles Bocquene´a,*, Alain Francob
    aIFREMER, Rue de l’Ile d’Yeu, BP 21105, 44311 Nantes Cedex 3, France
    bLaboratoire de Rouen, 49 rue Mustel, 76022 Rouen Cedex 3, France
    Abstract

    In January and February 2002, the presence of certain agricultural pesticides throughout the coastline of the Caribbean island of Martinique was investigated. The tropical climate of the French West Indies is suitable for banana production, which requires inten- sive use of pesticides. An inventory of all pesticides used on the island (compounds and tonnage) was compiled. Surveys and analyses revealed the presence of pesticides in the plumes of seven rivers. The organochlorine chlordecone and metabolites of aldicarb were detected at nearly all of the monitored sites, even though the use of chlordecone has been prohibited since 1993. Two triazines (amet- ryn and simazine) were also identified. The concentrations of carbamates and triazines detected in the water and sediment samples from Martinique are comparable to those reported for mainland France. Chlordecone concentrations in the sediment and partic- ulate matter samples were, however, particularly high in the samples from Martinique. Toxicological implications are discussed. Of particular concern are the high levels of chlordecone (which is bioaccumulating and carcinogenic) and further monitoring of this compound is recommended, especially in fish and other sea-food products.
    Ó2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved

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  16. islandgal246 March 5, 2011 at 8:24 AM #

    In the 1980s, the first generation of organophospho- rus pesticides, such as malathion, methyl parathion, disulfoton and diazinon became widely used on the is- land. At the beginning of the 1990s, these compounds were replaced by less ecotoxic organophosphorus com- pounds, such as cadusafos (RugbyÒ), terbufos (Coun- terÒ), izasofos and phenamiphos. During that same period carbamates, such as aldicarb (TemikÒ) and oxamyl (VydateÒ) were imported into Martinique. The use of aldicarb was also prohibited in 2003. The herbicides currently used in banana plantations in Martinique are triazines such as simazine (Gezatop ZÒ), substituted ureas such as diuron (KarmexÒ), and quaternary ammonium compounds such as para- quat (R. BixÒ), diquat (RegloneÒ) and glyphosate (RoundupÒ, BastaÒ).

    Between 1977 and 2002 the amounts of pesticides im- ported to the island appears to have been relatively con- stant (Table 1). There was, however, an increase in the imported tonnage of herbicides and fungicides, while tonnage of insecticides decreased.

    From 1994 to 1996, given the volumes of pesticides used, authorities initiated a series surveys to determine whether these compounds could be detected in surface waters.

    The first data collected by the French Ministry of Environment (DIREN, 2001) and the French Ministry of Health (Direction de la Sante´ et du De´veloppement Social de Martinique,DSDS, 2001) revealed widespread pesticide contamination of rivers and streams (discussed below).

    Given the potential for transport of pesticides from rivers to the coastal zone we undertook a baseline inves- tigation of pesticides and metabolites at nine different sites located in the plumes of seven rivers in Martinique in early 2002.

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  17. islandgal246 March 5, 2011 at 8:28 AM #

    The above is an excerpt taken from the report and those of you who are interested please go the the link David provided.

    Like

  18. islandgal246 March 5, 2011 at 9:07 AM #

    Here are some links to the cancer increase in the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article2485340.ece

    http://irf.posterous.com/reproductive-cancer-and-pesticides-martinque

    Like

  19. fairness March 5, 2011 at 9:53 AM #

    Good day folk’s i have just returned to the uk after spending 4 weeks on barbados, and what an experience it was, the warm weather was beautiful, the people really friendly, the beaches to die for the ocean was fantastic to swim in, the public transport was death defying, the hardware shop’s(busman’s holiday) are fantastic to kill time in when the sun is not coming out to play, the supermarket’s have a vast array of food but expensive to what we are use to, what saddened my wife and i was the lack of rural communities coming together and organising home grown local produce and holding Saturday market,s sure you get small shops selling sweet potatoes etc, but no tomato’s lettuce reddish cucumber pineapples strawberries, banana’s or any soft bush fruit the only soft fruit we saw was in supermarket’s imported from the u.s.a or elsewhere, i was told even garlic is imported surely there is a niche in the market for some entrepreneurial bajans to set up a growing business pardon the pun, we will be back on barbados soon for another 4 weeks and let,s hope some parish’s have some entrepreneurs who will do something and make a difference,don’t forget healthy eating is healthy living, anyway must go now and hope everyone has a good day bye 4 now

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  20. Rosemary Parkinson March 5, 2011 at 9:54 AM #

    May I first apologize for my not checking for ‘mistakes’ in the above posting..I try to be careful usually but food has become such an overpowering fight for me, I guess I got carried away with speed of typing!

    To those who would like to know –
    1. Our soil is badly contaminated already. Most of the nutrients have disappeared. Hence we need to begin organic farming as fast as possible. The need for ‘composting’ within the household is major…even just placing all vegetable bits in one bin and perhaps someone young out there wanting to start a business could (a) collect from house to house and (b) sell to farmers once the waste is composted properly.
    2. The ban on pesticides and insecticides from being imported (Monsanto!) is required.
    3. Feeds given to our animals from our feed sources on the island are to say the least very, extremely very dubious in content. In another blog the question was posed as to what the feeds really contain…I do not recall seeing any answer from those in the know. Well the answer is this – to my knowledge and anyone out there who can prove otherwise, do tell – (a) just under the maximum limit allowed for hormones and antibiotics. And this is too much! Why can’t organic feed be produced from hay for instance or grass for instance – anything but GMO corn + all the above! I also understand that farmers not wanting to feed their animals the above, try to purchase ‘pollard’ (a wheat derivative I believe?) but these purchases have at times been blocked heavily and quite nastily by those who know who are doing it (i.e. themselves) (cannot say more!). Enough trouble in Arima! So on this count, feed suppliers should prove without a doubt that NO AND I MEAN NO HORMONES AND ANTIBIOTICS ARE IN THE FEED SOLD TO ANIMAL FARMERS. And also farmers have to be re-educated in the feeding of their animals…what happened to the days of ‘slop’, and the days of chickens & rabbits roaming in an enclosed area, eating grass and fruit…I bet noni, dunks, fat pork would make some great feed for them!

    I now buy organic lamb & chicken. And I am trying to buy everything else from organic farmers. I do not eat from America. Or China. I have stopped buying water in plastic bottles. I am playing my part…and if we all did, perhaps those who do not care but just want to make the almighty dollar even if it makes us sick, would see their profits diminishing and give us THE CONSUMER WHAT WE WANT….CLEAN AND HEALTHY FOOD…SO THAT OUR CHILDREN HAVE A CHANCE TO HAVE A GOOD, CLEAN AND HEALTHY LIFE, EVEN IF WE MISSED THE BOAT!!!

    So yes! we should expect our government to do stuff for us. That is why we put them in power. But if we the people play our own part we can break the cycle.

    Like

  21. Hants March 5, 2011 at 12:45 PM #

    David wrote”Let us face it, we are dealing with an indifference to agriculture borne out of how we have been educating our people.”

    Farmers does sen way duh children to college an university an wen de farmer dead, cowohwen gine buy de lan an sell to foriners.
    Ask de legal luminaries ef wunna doan believe muh.

    Fact. Farmers have been using pesticides for the last 40 years in Barbados.
    It is likely that the soil is very contaminated.
    However, it would be interesting to know if the chemicals are diluted by rain.

    Still better to grow your own than to import but wanna lazy as shiite.

    Those who can should immigrate to Canada. Supermarkets up here full.
    Even small West Indian stores got nuff Bajan ground provisions so wunna would feel at home.
    I bought white yam(soft) eddoes and sweet potatoes last week.Even buy some Casava pone.

    So my BU brethren start planting. I can’t cause muh garden still frozen.

    Like

  22. Sargeant March 5, 2011 at 3:19 PM #

    @Hants

    Those who can should immigrate to Canada. Supermarkets up here full.
    ***************
    But prices are also rising up here, guess you haven’t seen these stories,
    BTW have you bought gas recently? I use premium (ultra 94) it is now $1.41 a litre or 6.40 a gallon.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/george-weston-to-boost-food-prices/article1928103/

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/world-food-prices-hit-record-in-february/article1928338/

    Like

  23. Pat March 5, 2011 at 3:41 PM #

    I just returned from a month in Barbados and it was lovely. The weather was beautiful and not too hot.

    When shopping at Cheapside for vegetables the hawkers will let you know what is local and what is imported. The local produce is cheaper. Local bananas could be bought from a lady from Hillaby at 3 for $ while the imported from St. Lucia sold for 60 cents each. Now the local ones were smaller and do not have a pretty yellow skin, but they are much sweeter as they are not picked as young as the imported ones. While I was home local yams, potatoes, cassava and okras were plentiful and this is what I ate. However, the local carrots were $5 a pound and local tomatoes were $4.99 a pound while the imported tomatoes were $2 a pound.

    You can eat well by eating what local produce is in season at the time and buying in bulk and freezing for later use. I was amazed at the amount of cold climate fruit on the shelves and on the streets. I bought dunks and gooseberries from a rasta on lower Swan Street. I bought from him, because he washed them there on the spot before bagging so you could eat them righ away.
    At $2 a bag, I thought that was reasonable.

    Someone on this blog recommeded three ladies at the food court at Cheapside and I ate from two. One was good, the other was so-so. No names.

    The fresh black belly mutton (not lamb) from Cheapside was tender and tasty. The butcher, when I asked for mutton said, “Oh Lordy, a real Bajan! Nowadays everybody want lamb, nobody know what mutton is!” We had a good laugh.

    In 2007 I planted two fig trees at the family home that is used for vacations and since then about 12 bunches of figs have been harvested. I got a bunch this year and thinned out 12 suckers and about 9 large trees from the patch. Had to call the Sanitation people a Mr. Jones, to get a special pick-up. When he heard that I would be leaving and no-one would be at the house he sent the truck the next morning. That was Wednesday and I left on Thursday. The workers were excellent. They picked up the trunks, trash and the leaves that I had bundled and then asked for a rake and broom and swept up the dirt and roots. I could not believe it. In Barbados yet. Thumbs up to Superintendent Jones and his people. They told me that stuff does not go with the regular garbage, but to Bagatelle.

    I brought back some spinach seeds I picked off a friends vine which I will be starting soon and some local carrot seeds for my garden this summer. When I move back to Bim I will have no lawn at my place, just garden. I will plant nothing that cannot be eaten as I do at my home now. I love flowers, but prefer to buy for the home and grow only what I can eat.

    Like

  24. David March 5, 2011 at 3:52 PM #

    @Pat

    Glad you had a good vacation, understand the weather is not too bad in Canada now, should make for a pleasant transition.

    Like

  25. Hants March 5, 2011 at 4:04 PM #

    @Sargeant,
    I am paying $1.40 for gas and yes food prices going up but I am not complaining yet.
    If gas and food gets to be a problem I get rid of my 6 cylinder gas guzzler and buy a hybrid.

    Food is not a problem because if needed, I can cook like my late grand mother did sometimes.

    Like

  26. Hants March 5, 2011 at 4:08 PM #

    @Pat,

    Glad you had a great vacation.

    When I am in Barbados I also buy fruit and vegetables in de market or on the street.

    Bought somelocal figs and Bananas one sunday morning at Eagle Hall. Lady was from St.Andrew.

    Like

  27. Sargeant March 5, 2011 at 4:42 PM #

    @ Islandgirl246

    First of all let me say I enjoyed your rant but given that you have lived in Barbados for most of your life what were your expectations when you went to the market to purchase Melons, Pineapples etc.? Did you really expect that the vendors there would be stocking and carrying those items? The vendors will stock what they think that they can reasonably sell and the farmers will grow what they think they can sell to the vendors (or the public).

    That means they will sell what they have always sold; yams, sweet potatoes eddoes, stringbeans, cabbages etc. Bajans will buy the imported tropical fruit for special events or if they have disposable income, mangoes or bananas will do just fine. Thank you..

    Some Bajans have developed a taste for these imports but will that acquired taste create a market for these products to sustain a viable return? Perhaps the answer is yes but that is why folks like you should be whispering in some farmer’s ear that if he plants some of these fruits there will be some sales potential- start small with a farmers’ market where the word can get around. If enough interest can be drummed up he will have some regulars coming to shop and as word gets around he will have more and more business , soon others will take notice of his success and start growing them to get a piece of the action.

    It is all about marketing your product as many a major selling item has had its start as a “cottage industry” product available only at farmers’ markets or craft shows. Sometimes businesspersons have to create their own market.

    Remember, If you build it they will come.

    Like

  28. islandgal246 March 5, 2011 at 5:05 PM #

    @Sarge
    I have whispered to many farmers but I see nothing being done. I have one farming next to me and I keep telling him to grow some of these fruit. I think I will ask him for a few rows or give him the seedlings. I am working on something as well. I used to grow fancy lettuce, water melons when I first bought the property. Business was dicey so I switched over to plants and fruit trees. I am now in the process of switching back to curcurbits and passion fruits. Now another problem many farmers have told me that the seeds are not easily available. Perhaps that is a service to farmers someone can provide. I have a couple bottles of carambola chutney and pickled limes and stewed pomerac to give away for sampling. Just let me know if wunna interested.

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  29. Hants March 5, 2011 at 7:08 PM #

    @Islandgal246, “farmers have told me that the seeds are not easily available.”

    Have you considered buying seeds online or asking one of your North American friends to bring you some next time they visit ?

    A lot of farmers are going to grow what they are comfortable with. My father never took a single word of advice from me and he was able to support himself doing things his way.
    Bajan farmers are very “independent”.

    google this. “seed supplier in canada” of “seed supplier in the USA”.

    Like

  30. islandgal246 March 5, 2011 at 7:17 PM #

    Hants I can find some of these seeds here at Carters. I have bought seeds online and had them sent to me. I had to get permits and phyto sanitary certificate which many suppliers are not willing to supply. It is alotta stress. If I bring them in with the necessary docs they will be confiscated by plant quarantine. I try to toe the line most of the time.

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  31. islandgal246 March 5, 2011 at 7:18 PM #

    I meant without the necessary docs they will be confiscated by plant quarantine.

    Like

  32. Pat March 5, 2011 at 8:18 PM #

    @ David and Hants

    Thanks. The month was too short. Next time I will stay for 6 weeks. The weather here is pleasant. Rained all day and 6 degrees. I feel like I am still on Bim. Just ate some bonnavists and rice with christophenes and carrots and mutton stew – black belly mutton smuggled in from Bim among the flying fish and dolphin. The fish had its own bag for which I paid $47 bajan. It wighed 49.4 pounds – just within the 50 lbs limit. Whew…. I would have hated to have to leave anything behing, especially my 10 sea crab breasts and claws or my whelks. ha, ha, ha. Strange, I did not even bring back any liquors. Have so much in the house could not decide what to buy, so just passed. The immigration officer looked at me strangely when I said “no alcohol, but frozen fish.”

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  33. Hants March 5, 2011 at 8:29 PM #

    islandgal246,

    I guess you will have to go with what you can find at Carter’s.
    Surely there must be other places you can buy seeds for things like melons,cantaloupes etc.

    http://www.agriculture.gov.bb/
    Our motto is: “We help farmers to help themselves.”

    Put them to the test islandgal246.

    Like

  34. The Scout March 5, 2011 at 8:36 PM #

    David
    It’s easy for someone who is not in the business to talk about growing crops in Barbados but the truth is the obsticles in the way are numerous. The cost of preparing the soil, fertilising the plants, keeping the field weeds free while crops are maturing, watering the crop, then to see a whole crowd of monkeys enter the field and bite up the crop or worse of all, go to sleep at night a leave a full field of matured crops ready to be harvested, then to wake up next morning to see an empty field reaped by some person/s who didn’t have any of the expenses to mature that crop. What is frustrating is that these thieves always have a market for their produce and calling the police is a waste of time. Unless or until something is done with the monkey population and thieves are caught and punished harshly, agriculturalist in this country will plant less and less food crops. There is one group of people who I don’t hear complain about larceny.

    Like

  35. David March 5, 2011 at 8:38 PM #

    The 4H Shop use to be a cheap and ready source of seeds, understand the shop has been shut down. It would be helpful to ascertain why from Minister Estwick.

    Like

  36. Hants March 5, 2011 at 8:41 PM #

    Pat I had a suitcase full of frozen fish at Pearson and an Rcmp officer guided his dog to my suitcase and the dog would not stop.
    The third time he tried I told him my frozen fish was “melting and he laughed.
    His dog knew there was no contraband in the suitcase.

    Like

  37. Random Thoughts March 5, 2011 at 8:53 PM #

    Ist prize for best response goes to Rosemary Parkinson who said

    “Oh! by the way the guys in Swan Street have some great stalls with Fat Pork, Dunks, Bajan Cherries, Gooseberries”

    Go to Swan Street for the best local, seasonal, organic fruit.

    If you are a foreigner maybe you are not accustomed to fat pork, dunks, Bajan cherries, cashew fruit (not the nut), gooseberres, ackees, golden apples, soursops, mangoes, avacodoes but they are good and the growers and vendors deserve our support.

    Maybe we shoud stop wasting our tie trying to grow grapes and buy enjoy what we have.

    Like

  38. Random Thoughts March 5, 2011 at 9:01 PM #

    island gal asked

    “Where does that runoff go? ”

    Dear island gal:

    Look in the shallow gully to the south of St.Thomas parish church

    Like

  39. Hants March 5, 2011 at 9:08 PM #

    @The Scout,”It’s easy for someone who is not in the business to talk about growing crops in Barbados but the truth is the obstacles in the way are numerous.”

    I am a farmer’s son and am well aware of the problems with farming in Barbados.

    I guess the problems with monkeys and praedial larceny
    have gotten worse in the last few years.

    As you know Scout, there is a bounty on monkeys so you can buy a shotgun and shoot them.Not sure how to deal with the 2 legged predators.
    Electric shock therapy maybe?

    Farming can be very difficult but also very rewarding.

    Like

  40. ac March 5, 2011 at 9:23 PM #

    i love my guava. fat pork . dunks. hog plums.gooseberries cashews spinach, ilove bajan spinach.soursop .pomegrante. all bajan. the imported fruit i can take it or leave it. fuh one it is too expensive,. a golden apple or two would do just fine. Btw i also have a beautiful vegetable garden as well as an ackee tree. I am an animal rughts activist and i would be hard press to shoot the monkey. So i stay away from planting exotic fruit.

    Like

  41. Hants March 5, 2011 at 9:55 PM #

    Hants difference between an animal (has rights) and a pest (no rights).

    @Islandgal246,

    You are in a position to grow most of the fruit and veggies you need. More Bajans may have to follow your example.

    Like

  42. Sargeant March 5, 2011 at 10:08 PM #

    @Islandgirl246

    As you are concerned about pesticides and antibiotics used in farming I have some bad news. Unless you are living in some remote part of this planet most of the food that you eat will not be pesticide or antibiotic free.

    We don’t know what we don’t know and pesticides that were considered safe many years are now contributing to chronic diseases. It is impossible to run any farming operation which supplies meat on a large scale without using antibiotics, the chicken, pork or beef that you eat would have been treated with antibiotics.

    Take the potato, what we in Barbados used to call “English potato” do you know that it is nigh impossible to buy any that have not been treated with some anti fungal product? Potatoes have been subject to bacterial, fungal and viral diseases for many years and farmers will use what are considered “safe” means to protect their livelihood. If potatoes are part of a country’s agricultural output the fields will be sprayed as any disease out break will cause an export ban. Do you know that corn or a byproduct is found in many of our food products? Where was the corn grown and how was it treated?

    Some may choose to eat fish but do you know that Marlin and Dolphin are considered to have high levels of Mercury? Scientist may say that the levels may not cause any harm unless you eat pounds of the fish daily but perhaps small amounts may trigger some illnesses in some people.

    Since Rachel Carson published “Silent Spring” in 1962 about the effect of DDT on birds we have been struggling to catch up, perhaps we are falling further behind.

    Let us eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we shall die.

    Like

  43. ac March 5, 2011 at 10:39 PM #

    So hants to satisfy ones need for a honeydew or watermelon . Your advice is to shoot the monkey! Haven’t you ever heard of Green houses a very good alternative for planting .Your advice is a kneejerk reaction which most people tend to give when they don’t have a viable alternative. Green houses work just as well as out door planting and in most cases doesn’t need pesticides. Before you decided to kill or mane another innocent animal think that that animal is only trying to live and it has the same needs to survive just like you and eating plants for its day to day survival is one of them.

    Like

  44. Hants March 5, 2011 at 11:11 PM #

    @ac,

    Monkeys in Barbados are a pest because of their large numbers and should be culled.

    Green houses are expensive to build and maintain. If Farmers in Barbados can afford to build them that would be great.

    There is a mindset in Barbados that clouds your collective vision.
    Produce nothing,import everything and hope God is a Bajan.

    What are you going to do when gas is $4 a litre and there are shortages of food ?
    I hope it doesn’t happen but it can.

    @ The Scout,

    were you ever a real real boy scout?
    If so you should remember how to make twist and roast pigeons in mud.

    Like

  45. ac March 5, 2011 at 11:23 PM #

    Greenhouses in the long ran cost less over all when it comes to outside planting. Look at the money , water and labour cost ,not to mention the pest that would devour everything that is planted. it would also eliminate that problem. the answer is not to Shoot a defenseless Monkey! in order to satisfy ones need ! These animals play avery important role in cleaning the environment and must not be seen as nuisances .

    Like

  46. Hants March 5, 2011 at 11:25 PM #

    @ac,
    My advice is no knee jerk reaction.

    I have shot “pest” on my late Dad’s farm in Barbados with a shotgun and would do it again.Some pests cannot be poisoned or scared away and we don’t all have the cash to build green houses.

    I have also hunted for rabbits and grouse in Canada but fortunately (for your peace of mind)I didn’t shoot anything.
    Didn’t adapt very well to walking in 2 feet of snow.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. maat March 5, 2011 at 11:34 PM #

    We do have a agro chemical disposal problem, and a lot of the stuff has been stored in various places around the island in rotting containers. The BWA can tell you that their water quality tests come up with high levels of chemicals from agriculture and world wide 90% of the food is produced with chemicals.

    Organic farming is still a small percentage, but it is developing. A European consultant that I spoke with recently reckons that Barbados is 15 years behind Africa when it comes to even organic farming.

    The challenge with greenhouse growing is proving to be the high levels of humidity at low altitudes in the Caribbean. This humidity translates to too much moisture and salt building up in the soil, effectively reducing the soils ability to produce. Some people employ fans (which can be expensive to run), or no roof systems, which can prolong the location. Other than that some farmers plant in a non soil or semi hydroponic system, using some other medium to hold the plant roots and feeding the plants with liquid fertilisers through pipes. Green house farming suited places like Israel where the air is arid. Some people say that the reduced UV in greenhouses also reduces the shelf life of certain crops.

    Cows and other grazing animals do cause a lot of damage to farmers crops, as do monkeys. The thing with monkeys is that they adapt to nearly every stunt you try. We have put out molassis and cucumber and they have accepted that offering for a time, other farmers alternate between newspaper, pungent chicken/pig manure, until the paper gets wet, and the manure loses it’s scent. Others have used scarecrows and dogs. Until the monkey realises the dog is either tethered or easily distracted and the scarecrow does not move. Still others have used large white sheets on short flagpoles, again until the monkey realises that this cannot do harm. One man I know who had a successful deterrent was a man who had hung a dead monkey on a pole overlooking is land. I wonder if they’d let us do that with a thief?!

    Farming is full of challenges, and we haven’t mentioned weather conditions and pests etc.

    We need to be mindful of how we deal with pests as the chemicals will come back to harm us. One of my greatest concerns lately is our use of chemical bait for the African snail. This stuff is deadly in the water table. Try using white lime instead.

    Peace

    Like

  48. ac March 5, 2011 at 11:47 PM #

    Hants an individual can purchase a green house for a reasonable price . Websites like Amazon.com sell them very reasonable. You do not seem to realise that these primates are very important to our survival and the environment and shooting them would eventually lead to extinction which would eventually leave a void in one of natures way of taking care of the environment. AS of now mankind has shown little effort in doing the job.Therefore a viable alternative to planting is necessary and i suggest the greenhouse is the way to go

    Like

  49. islandgal246 March 6, 2011 at 7:45 AM #

    AC do you really know the cost of a real green house? Do you know the size? I have a large 20×40 ft gothic arch steel green /shade house. I got it at a really good price about 8 years ago. Nowadays if you have five thousand US to spare that might buy a basic frame. Plus you will have to buy the covering which is additional and decide whether you want it wind cooled naturally or use fans which will add to the cost of production. The shipping charges to your port of departure is not cheap. Then paying the shipping to Barbados and then giving the government their share. If you want it in duty free and you are willing to jump through all the hoops and hurdles and waste nuff time go ahead Can you please give me the link on amazon to see the ones you are speaking about.

    Like

  50. islandgal246 March 6, 2011 at 8:04 AM #

    AC I have checked out the ones on Amazon, these are doll houses. They are not for serious farmers and growers. Mine withstood the last hurricane and the storms before that. The ones on Amazon will not last long, powder coated steel will rust, the structure is flimsy and would collapse in a brisk breeze. Those are suited to backyard gardeners growing potted plants. They may serve as a growing area for seedlings but they are not big and tough enough for growing food crops.

    Like

  51. The Scout March 6, 2011 at 8:25 AM #

    Hants
    Yes, I was a Boy Scout in my early days, in fact, I was a Queen’s Scout when Mr Harrison was Scout Comissioner. I was chosen to be one of the Scout’s represntative at the Independence celebrations, an honour I will never forget. Yes, I know of twist and baking a chicken in mud buried in the ground. Did you ever have to light the fire early in the morning for breakfast and had to use wet wood, or did you ever had to scrub the pot after it was used on a wood fire and get it back spotlessly clean? What about gadgets? do you remember how to made any? I once made a thirty foot tower from bamboo at an island camp that was visited by the then G.G Sir John Stow, I then had to erect it at Government House at a function he was hosting, plus make a replica for him to place on his desk. Scout was great, I said I was a scout but I was wrong, I AM STILL A SCOUT because ONCE A SCOUT ALWAYS A SCOUT.

    Like

  52. ac March 6, 2011 at 8:43 AM #

    @Island gal
    If a person wants to achieve a purpose they would do it any cost. In Barbados people would buy certain items at any cost to achieve they perferred purpose . I would say that not everybody can afford them. However not everybody can afford for e.g. a car but they are plenty of them around in barbados and they cost much more than a green house so go figure! In essence our wants trumps our needs.

    Like

  53. islandgal246 March 6, 2011 at 9:12 AM #

    @AC

    I agree if you want something badly enough you will find a way. Many small farmers do not have the finances to buy this equipment. Many lending agencies may not fund these structures. I know I wanted one and I searched the net until I found a manufacturer with good prices.

    BTW those of you who like fat pork, dunks, guavas I do hope you are not collecting them from the wild. Those belong to the monkeys and when you take food from the monkey’s mouth they will take food from out mouth. So plant wunnna own!

    Like

  54. islandgal246 March 6, 2011 at 9:13 AM #

    I meant our mouths

    Like

  55. ac March 6, 2011 at 9:38 AM #

    @island girl

    That is where US the people play an important role in educating our government about the importance of helping our farmers achieve what is necessary for them to maintain a livelihood. We should be calling or representatives and educating them about such issues and the desire for proper funding by government agencies to farmers . It is not good enough for us to vote for these people and for them to turn a deaf ear when we seek their help. Government funding should be expected and is necessary in this area.

    Like

  56. The Scout March 8, 2011 at 9:12 AM #

    a/c They are plenty cars around for two reasons (1) the public transport system is awful and unreliable, therefore to asure they getting to work and other places on time many people were forced to purchase cars, (2) it is easier to get a loan to purchase a car than to get a loan to construct a green house.

    Like

  57. ac March 10, 2011 at 9:40 PM #

    @Scout
    Very good try . However in Barbados”monkey see ” monkey do” Nobody can forced nobody to do nothing. That is why their is an elected government by the people who job is to figure out and correct public needs such as transportation. As far as getting a loan . for a “Greenhouse this is one of the areas in which government is heralding and people ought to approach government concerning such matters as loans .Just like cars people would do whatever it takes to get one . Using the same mindset would also work . It is called “The Spirit of determination.

    Like

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