It was the “Big 50” – a half a century of showcasing the very cream of the crop – at the Stacy Watler Pavilion on in Lower Valley on Ash Wednesday, and everyone was sharing the celebration. There were cows, goats, rabbits, horses, chickens ….and that was just the animals. Where to begin with all the fruits and vegetables? and all the tasty treats that clever entrepreneurs are making with them? It isn’t just about agriculture – it’s about a whole back-to-the soil way of life that is being rediscovered right here in people’s backyards.
A good example is Reagan’s Honey, being produced in Savannah, the honey-capital of the Cayman Islands, by Jamaal and Chandra Solomon. They caught the bee-bug three years ago, and since then, although the business is small, it is growing.
“The honey is named after our first daughter, Reagan. It’s still just part-time and a bit of a labor of love but it’s something that we’re passionate about,” Mr. Solomon said. “We enjoy bee-keeping and all things to do with honey and nature. We started slow, just in the backyard, and we’ve expanded a little bit this year.” The new ‘buzz-ness’ doesn’t only keep bees for honey, but like many of the small businesses here, they are making the most with what they produce: “ This is some iced tea and its made with some natural honey, and its infused with some lemons as well. Would you like some?” I tasted it and it was amazing. I have never tasted anything quite like it Now that must be good for a sore throat!
They always say the early bird catches the best worm, and its always a good idea to be at the show as soon as possible – before all the plants and produce are snapped up. Ella Allen Bonnie Haylock looked very pleased; I’ve got cilantro, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes,” Ms Haylock said.
There are always some lovely crafts on display. A table full of dolls in the most exquisite costumes particularly caught my eye. “I just do crafts – me and my husband,” Tricia Purchase said. “The cups are made from coconuts and the record players are made from rope. And the dolls are made from different stuff… and I have some wine bottles that are covered in rope and also covered in crocus sack.”
Healthy Alternatives is a company run by Dominique Rochester that focusses on products made from locally-grown, natural ingredients: “We do local organic products made from scratch, we do coconut oil, we do body scrubs charcoal face masks. We have a lot of natural tea powders, coconut candies and fresh Cayman local bread. I get the coconuts from North Side, from my uncle’s plantation, and I also get them from another family friend in West Bay. Coconut oil is good for you because its good for lowering your cholesterol and its good for Alzheimer’s and its good for getting into your system and protecting yourself from diseases,” she said.
There were some beautiful fruits and vegetables at Dorothy Wedderburn’s stand. “I have a wide variety of stuff. I have fruits and vegetables and tomatoes, cucumbers and callaloo, watermelons, oranges. We have ginger, we have yam, sweet potato, pumpkins, plantains we have breadfruit and hot peppers and pumpkin,” she said.
This year, as was the case last year, there is a lovely little ‘petting zoo’ area where young children can get to see a donkey and a Shetland pony. There were all kinds of local cooked foods, too. I heard that the Lobster and Conch were particularly good this year.