Organisers of Grand Cayman’s new farmer’s market are intent on consolidating the success of Saturday’s first event, which drew large crowds to a festive Stacy Watler Agricultural Pavilion.
The strong turnout meant many vendors were sold out of produce by mid-morning.
Not that they were complaining.
Anthony Wright, a vendor from North Side – whose stall featured mangos, calaloo, sugar cane, guava, seasoned pepper, hot pepper, watermelon, pumpkin, cassava and plantain – said the morning had been a great success – and a lot of fun too.
“Everything we had has gone today. Next Saturday, we’ll prepare much better now we know people will come out and support it.”
George Davis from Sparkie’s Amazing Farm in East End said he is already planning to plant new fruits and vegetables.
“This opportunity to be here every Saturday will be very good for me. I love it. We’re going to put in some more produce now, now that we have the market for it.”
One of those there supporting the event was Governor Stuart Jack, who brought along his chef, Stuart Mena.
“I’m really impressed,” Mr. Jack said. “The turnout has been great, there is a lot of great produce, good craft work. It’s heartening to see that so many people are interested and so many people have come out to see what there is and to buy some good fresh food.”
Mr. Mena said he likes to include as much local produce as possible in the Governor’s meals and the market will make that a lot easier.
“We got some sugar cane, some plantain, some scotch bonnet, some mangoes. We’re going to be eating some ackee and codfish this week, with some of the plantain that we got here, and perhaps some papaya sorbet.”
About 35 vendors set up stalls at the pavilion, selling wares that included produce, fish, paintings, arts and crafts, nursery plants and hot food. The North Side Kitchen Band helped bring a festive atmosphere to the morning, while children were kept entertained with pony rides.
Market Coordinator Brian Chrichlow said he was very pleased with the turnout.
“It’s been excellent. Since 7am, people were here. Between 7.30 and 8.30 there must have been over 200 people and it’s been steady ever since.”
“What I have really enjoyed this morning is the social atmosphere. People really seem to be enjoying just walking around, talking, catching up with friends, getting something to eat, shopping. That’s a really important part of the market,” he said.
He said he thinks the market will give farmers a fantastic opportunity to get their produce out there, especially for part-time or backyard farmers. “It’s going to be a great stimulus, both for the farmers to produce more and to broaden the variety of things they are growing.”
Market at the Grounds continues next Saturday. For more information, or to become a vendor, call Gina Bodden at the Department of Agriculture on 947-3090.