Homeland Security

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Fruits

St Croix Source: Community Supported Agriculture Taking Root in the V.I.

This is the time of year that we all start thinking a bit more about the most common natural disaster in the Virgin Islands:  Hurricanes.

I’m already seeing online reports about the current tropical storm to the Southeast of St. Croix – Chantal – and today it’s making me think about one of the aspects of buying and eating locally that people don’t think of as often.  And that aspect is – food security.

Less than 1% of the food eaten in the Virgin Islands is grown locally, according to an independent study performed for the St. Croix Farmers’ Cooperative.  And what that means is that we are tremendously dependent upon the continued supply chain of boatloads of food arriving weekly on our island – food that travels thousands of miles to make it to our plates !  We are always one natural disaster away from that supply chain coming to a halt.  What would happen if there was a large enough disaster that the boats simply couldn’t come for a while?  I can tell you what would happen, we would all be eating out of the bush, and we would rapidly deplete the fish in our ocean.  Iguana and mongoose might just become new ingredients on our tables.  Hermit crabs might become a new delicacy.  Tan tan seed pods are edible, and we might just be eating a lot of tan tan salads.  Personally, I would rather not get to that point!

By buying locally, and eating locally, every dollar you spend goes towards supporting our local farmers, and maintaining (and hopefully increasing) our local food supply.  This is TRUE homeland security folks, as we are building up our local food safety net for the possibility of a natural disaster.  By supporting our local food economy, we are supporting our local community, and each other.

So next time you’re buying meat or produce in the grocery store that wasn’t grown or raised locally, please consider what that dollar you are about to spend is supporting – is it supporting our local food economy and security at home?  Or is it supporting a corporation somewhere across the ocean?  Every dollar spent is a vote for the future – and I hope we all continue to vote for OUR future, here on St. Croix and in the VI – keep our food money, and our food security – Local!

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The Bountiful Summertime

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Mangoes in my kitchen

Ah, Summertime on St. Croix…the time of year when the pace slows down, the temperature rises a teeny tiny bit, and we all look occasionally to the East for the possibility of a storm, while relaxing on the beach, drink in hand.

The official start to Summer is actually June 21, the Summer Solstice, but on St. Croix we know that it’s actually a different day – and that day is the day you get to eat your first delicious, juicy, sweet, floral scented and tropical flavored MANGO of the season.  For me, it is a day I look forward to all year!  And that first mango is also a sign of more delicious bounty to come in the form of avocado, carambola (starfruit), soursop, and more wonderful tropical fruit treats, ready and ripe to enjoy in a recipe, on a dish, or simply out of hand.

And while the bounties of summer flourish, the pace of life also slows.  Our beautiful little island becomes a bit quieter and softer, as the hustle and bustle of the tourist season comes to an end and we enjoy our summertime visitors and the start of wedding season.  We watch the flamboyant trees slowly unfurl their summertime coats of red splendor and relish the scents of the greenery and flowers in the air.  The kids are out of school, the community gathers for picnics and family barbeques, and the beaches are the days of rum and long, summer languid moments of nothing but – peace.

Oh, and mangoes.  Have I mentioned mangoes yet?

This week I’ll be visiting Aberra Bulbulla and wandering through the variety of tropical fruit trees in his orchard, trees that are now laden with fruit and beauty.  I’ll have photos to share and hopefully some inspiration to try something new and local on St. Croix that perhaps you haven’t tasted before!  Our local bounty of fruits is tremendous, and today only marks the beginning of the season.  I hope you’ll stick with me over the next few months as I cover more of our lovely summertime, and continue to Go Local St. Croix!