Friday, April 27, 2012

Getting our Veggies On

While we didn't make it to the Open Agricultural Days yesterday, we did today. It was a fun way to blow a couple of hours. There were a lot of school kids. A lot...First up was the Department of Marine Resources. It was a fun display with lots of fish tanks.  Lion fish are becoming a real problem in the Caribbean because they're very destructive and reproduce quickly. Island officials are trying to get more locals to eat the darn things, so we got to see them both ways.


Then there were lots more tents selling farming ideas or locally made, all-natural products.  We first chatted it up with a nice gentleman from CARDI. Their big pushes are easy-to-grow-and-cook things like sweet potatoes, but their latest project has been to get people to compost. He seemed happy with the progress they were making.



Next up was some tea tasting. I've mentioned before that every time someone sees me with basil they yell "bush tea" at me. Well, these guys had a lot of teas with basil in them. When I mentioned that I thought this was weird, they had me taste test a few. My favorite was one with lemongrass, basil and something else. The best part is that it's supposed to speed up your metabolism. Yes, please! I decided to try one without basil in an icee (it had tamarind and mint instead) and thought it was delicious (they sweeten them with brown sugar or honey). They're working to get this into stores, but it's not there yet. I'll be in line for the lemongrass.

 

By now we were getting hungry and were happy to see another Rasta/Ital tent so gave them a shot. They sure didn't skimp! It was ok, but they need to spice it up! What do Rasta's have against garlic and chile pepper?!



We found out that although they buy the veggie chunks from the States, they do grow soy here. So what do they do with it? Anywho, there were a few how-to plant ideas - we liked what they did with old tires, but I wonder how many chemicals seep into the ground around them.



There was a nice green house and we were hoping to find some already-established cucumber plants since ours got eaten by something, but no luck.


Ever wonder what a Caribbean children's petting zoo looks like? Me neither, but here it is.


First up were rabbits.



They're trying to get locals into rabbit meat so had a sample of it right across from them, which I thought was weird until I thought about the fact that chickens, cows and pigs were nearby and so were chicken legs, hamburgers, and ribs. Yuck. All I have to say is that they better hope these don't end up wild because eventually they'll have the same problems that they do with monkeys and mongoose and won't be able to control what the now pests eat and how much they reproduce.





There was horseback/donkey riding



and even a peacock.






Then the usual things like goats, pigs, ducks (I'm not sure I've ever seen ducks here)...



But how often do you get to see a bull without a tail?  That's right. Only in St. Kitts?


Ok, enough with the poor animals. The best part was that iQueen's ice cream was there. iQueen's makes ice cream, without the cream - it's nondairy and low sugar. It's been on our to-do list since we first learned about it and we couldn't wait to finally try it. I had passion fruit and Michael had goose berry. It was absolutely delicious. She's normally at Independence Square should you want to get yourself some. And for only $5EC (that's less than $2US), Michael has decided that he will be down there every week. Maybe more than once. The flavors change all the time (banana and watermelon and have gotten an enthusiastic thumbs up from friends).



Check out the Taiwanese display (they trade SKN assistance for UN votes against China).



Wow! What the heck is all this stuff?!



They must be eating pretty darn well because they aren't sharing. We've certainly never seen this kind of variety anywhere and don't know how to get our hands on those goodies. There didn't seem to be anyone to talk to at the tent, so we'll never know. I also think they should hire me to help them with their proofreading.


We were quite pleased to hear that hydroponics are finally coming (it's been on Nevis for years), but apparently we have to wait 3 more months (lettuce, cabbage, peppers).


The last displays were how to do unhealthy things like kill pests that have caught rides in from Florida and are now terrorizing the local produce.



There. We then headed to town and tried one more flippin' time to get Michael some shorts. I am reminded of why I don't shop and have not changed my mind. My mom has found some that fit at Walmart, so I see my credit card getting some usage.

It's now rather rainy out there, so it seems we timed it all just right. TGIF anyone?