Sunday, March 19, 2006

Ve Duss Done Reach...

"Ve duss done reach" is how one might say "We're home" in the Bahamas.

Finding goat peppers on New Providence Island, last year, was an exercise in futility. We kept being told that we could find them easily at the vegetable exchange but for some reason, the government officials who run the exchange simply didn't have the goat peppers or didn't want us to have them.

This years trip, came out with slightly better results. You'll be pleased to know that although we didn't manage to come home with any goat peppers in our pockets, we did manage to find two steady suppliers. One is growing some pretty amazing things in the very rocky ground of the island will be shipping peppers to us this spring. The other, on our enticement is planting knowing he now has a sure market for his produce. We can thank our Hurricane Mash purchasers for this project.

What was most fascinatingly interesting to me is how they farm in the islands. They call it "pothole farming" and until you see it, you've never see anything like it. It's a wonder they can grow anything at all. And you should have seen the incredible fruit and vegetables growing out of these potholes. You simply can't imagine what kind of quality they are managing to get out of these literal holes in the ground. And because the ground is essentially a coral bed, pothole farming is the preferred method of farming in a lot of islands in the Caribbean. Truth be told, when you see what Caribbeans have to work with for soil, then farming any other way seems ludicrous.

This is Caribbean-style Pothole Farming:

Not to be confused with Prairie Pothole Farming:

Where I come from, one first clears the land, removing all rocks, tree stumps, and anything else that might break the tines on a roto-tiller. Then, they till the soil, preparing a bed of soft moist earth to plant in. In the Bahamas, short of building a raised bed of earth, which is very expensive and time consuming, one simply plants in the pockets of soil that are found in the porous coral bed of the islands. In other words, in the potholes. It's a pretty darned cool way to grow things.

And we now have two farmers pothole farming peppers and native Bahamian limes just for us.

We arrived in the Bahamas to beautiful weather. Our flight to the out-islands was uneventful.

Our cottage turned out to be a delightful shade of coral pink.

and the beach was delightfully, 200 yards from the back door, as promised.

It took two weeks before we found any goat peppers at all, but then it was as if the heavens themselves had opened up and dropped manna onto our doorstep, because from that point forward, there were peppers everywhere! Bird peppers, finger peppers, and yes, even goat peppers.

We had the opportunity to meet several Bahamian hot sauce makers. None of whom are interested in exporting, unfortunately for North American chiliheads.

But to make it up to everyone we've made arrangements to share our island. If you find yourself with time to visit the out-islands of the Bahamas and would like a quiet little cottage a stone's throw from the sea, I can get you set up.

Me out.



bahamagirl said...

hi! i didn't read the entire blog right...i only read about the pot-hole farming because i googled it and i'm doing a school project...but i'm from the bahamas (i'm guessing you're no duh)and i'm glad to know you enjoyed your trip and found our farming techniques interesting. I hope you visit again, and tour other islands because they are each different in their own way. From the pink sand beaches in Inagua to the turquoise waters in Exuma, they are all a sight to see.

Pepperfire said...

You'd guess right. I'm not from the Bahamas, but my husband is.

The pictures were from Eleuthera and we've spent lots of time in Nassau (where my husband grew up). I intend to spend quite a bit of time in the Islands.

I hope you found the information you were looking for.