4 Fantastic Farmers’ Market Finds in Nassau
Have you ever tasted the sweet yellow flesh of a Bahamian-grown mango? Picked up bunch of bright, emerald bok choy, simpson kale or sharp mustard greens? Sipped on a tamarind ale? Sampled a lion fish taco or passion fruit sorbet? Farmers’ markets across the island are serving up delicious and unique treats like these in growing numbers. If you’re not already privy to these local hotspots offering the best selection of natively grown produce, baked goods, seafood, seedlings, artisan jams, pepper sauces and more- then you should definitely read on.
The proliferation of Nassau’s farmers’ markets represents a shining example of a local phenomenon that reflects the wider global trend of increased demand and interest among consumers for purchasing locally-sourced fruits, veggies, herbs, and their by-products. It’s no secret that all of us at Tru Bahamian Food Tours look forward to our weekly visits to markets throughout the island to stock up on culinary essentials (and maybe a few pineapple tarts while we’re at it). We also value the fact that local farmers and vendors are contributing to reducing the whopping 90% of our of nation’s food supply that is currently still imported from abroad. The green-thumbed movers-and-shakers of the local farmers’ markets community are offering both fresh, sustainable and super tasty options that keep us creatively inspired in the kitchen and raising the level of food security for our little island nation.
Whether you’re visiting Nassau for a day, vacationing on the island for a few or are simply a resident in search of some home-grown and earthly guidance- you’ll want to see our finds below featuring some of the awesome farmers’ market finds here in Nassau…
Field to Fork Community Farm
Fresh thyme, oregano, or cilantro anyone? How about plum, heirloom, and cherry tomato seedlings and four kinds of pepper varieties for your own home garden? Field to Fork Community Farm is the brainchild of Selima Campbell Hauber and her husband, Tim. As a place to grow and harvest fresh, organic, and locally grown produce for the local Nassau market, the family-run farm was founded in 2011, in the grassy fields of western New Providence.
Selima earned a Ph.D in horticulture and was inspired to expose farmers and home gardeners to new crops as well as do her part to promote sustainable production and protection of the environment when she returned home. At their Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings, you can find Field to Fork’s yummy bounty of freshly-picked vegetables and fruit in all their glory, products made by local artisans (like home-grown charcoal), as well as potted herbs. Selima says her potted herbs can be picked for “immediate salad gratification” or planted in home gardens for “bigger leaves, which means more gratification”. In addition to the Saturday AM markets, the farm also hosts a smaller mid-week market on Wednesdays from 12pm-2pm for replenishing your produce stock:)
Want to go beyond their Farmer’s Market? Field to Fork Community Farm also offers organic gardening mentoring programs, tours of their facilities, and features regular recipes using harvested food from Selima’s home kitchen on Facebook.
Look For: Fresh coconut water, ginger beer, kombucha, sunflower sprouts from Om Grown Greensand a great selection of fruit trees, orchids and bromeliads
Days/Hours Open: Saturday mornings, 8am to 1pm & Wednesdays 12-2pm
Location: New Providence Community Center, Blake Road
Phone: (242) 434-0818
Website: http://www.fieldtoforkbahamas.com or https://www.facebook.com/FieldToForkCommunityFarm
Credit: Field to Fork Community Farm
Doongalik Farmers’ Market
Whether it’s organic eggs delivered from a local farm only 4 miles away, an exotic bowl of Irish moss salad (translation: vegan conch salad) or scrumptious lion fish tacos, the weekly Saturday market at Doongalik has you more-than covered. From gourmet chocolates (think Bahamian sea salt and hibiscus caramel) to freshly-baked artisan breads and quirky pantry items like cassava flour- this colourful gathering place is always abuzz with excited shoppers and charismatic vendors proud to share their prizes.
If you are an avid reader of our blog, you may recognise Doongalik in our recent feature, “6 Outstanding Art Galleries to Visit in Nassau“. As one of the island’s most distinguished artistic spaces, Doongalik serves the dual purpose of an multi-media arts & culture sanctuary as well as a Saturday morning farmers’ market. The centre is owned and operated by Pam Burnside and her daughter Orchid- both passionate advocates (and artists themselves) of celebrating what is uniquely Bahamian and sustainable tourism efforts. The farmers’ market launched in 2011, but the gallery itself was established back in the 1970’s by Pam and her late husband and Bahamian legend, Jackson Burnside.
On the Doongalik grounds, you will find local produce such as cucumbers, bananas, a variety of greens, herbs, sprouts, and colourful sweet peppers as well as locally-sourced artisan products from select vendors including native fruit sorbets, savoury chicken souse and johnny cake, lion fish fillets, and baked crab – among MANY others! Before or after you shop, stop in the gallery for an inspiring look at the current exhibit on display or in the adjacent Craft Cottage to pick up Bahamian-made arts, crafts and housewares.
Must Try: Lucayan Tropical Spring Mix, Seasonal Sunshine Bahamas Farm‘s Lionfish Tacos, Bootleg Chocolates, Geb’s Garden Kale and Bok Choy, Ginger and Fever Grass Sorbet
Days/Hours Open: Saturday mornings, 9am to 1pm, year round
Location: The Retreat Gardens, Bahamas National Trust, Village Road
Phone: (242) 394-1886
Credit: Doongalik Art Gallery
Bahamas National Trust
As a quasi-governmental organisation, the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) serves to build and manage the national park system of the country. At their headquarters in New Providence, they also introduced a monthly “Da Market” event in 2011 which allows local farmers, vendors and artisans to showcase their wares one Saturday of every month. “Da Market” events take place in national parks across Grand Bahama and the Abacos as well as in our nation’s capital of Nassau.
With a primary mandate of conserving and protecting our country’s natural resources for present and future generations, the BNT’s farmers’ market initiative supports their efforts to promote subsistence farming and home-based agri-ventures. Vendors offer a selection of: produce, baked breads and sweets, seafood, savoury goodies like quiche and conch fritters and even locally made arts and crafts. It’s also a great place to find seedlings to jump start your own home growing efforts.
An added plus of this market is the fact it takes place in a retreat- so, as you browse, you’re surrounded by local trees and flowers offering cool shade and even nature paths for those wanting to explore the grounds before or after!
Must Try: Homemade coconut bread, warm sausage rolls and the heirloom tomatoes from theLucayan Tropical Produce booth
Days/Hours Open: Next Market is scheduled for June 14th, 2014, 9AM-1PM. Best to check calendar for future dates: http://www.bnt.bs
Location: The Retreat Gardens, Bahamas National Trust, Village Road
Not technically based in Nassau, Chiccharney Farms employs a slightly different approach than other local farmers’ markets. The farm in fact is situated in Andros, the largest island in the Bahamian archipelago and traditionally an agricultural stronghold for the country. Using Andros’ rich, red soil as a backdrop, the farm operates a unique home-delivery box system, allowing Nassauvians to pre-order produce in $25 and $50 assortments of whatever the farm has fresh that week. The farm harvests local produce, including organics, and has now been in existence for three generations. It’s their current and most recent family members who have decided to take on new initiatives like the home-delivery farm share in order to expand their agribusiness entrepreneurship to a larger national market.
The story behind the farm’s name is also intriguing: “chiccharney” or “chickcharnie” refers to the ancient Bahamian legend of a mythical bird-like creature known to bring good fortune. It is said if you happen to encounter one these creatures in the deep forests of Andros Island where they are commonly found, you’ll have good luck! Thus, Chiccharney Farms combines this notion of good fortune with the organic fruits and vegetables that they plant and harvest in the fields of North Andros.
You should know that they take their orders on a first-come, first-serve basis, so interested customers are encouraged to email their selections in the earlier part of each week (freshly stocked items are listed weekly on their Facebook page and through a Wednesday email blast). A recent $25 Box included: pumpkin, papaya, butternut squash, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, a banana bunch, thyme, and goat peppers. A la carte orders are also available for an individual assortment of organics as well as jams and sauces, corn grits, corn flour staples, and bean sprouts. So, there’s lots to choose from! Just remember to place your order early in order to secure your share of good fortune:)
Must Try: All Natural Androsian Honey, Seminole Pepper Sauce & the diverse bounty of their $25 Weekly Box Specials
Days/Hours Open: Varies- call first to make an appointment to visit
Location: #12 Bahamas Agriculture Research Center, Andros, Bahamas
Phone: Call (242) 423-3716 or (242) 676-2977
Website: None- but you can email: [email protected]