Farm-fresh produce is becoming more and more accessible on Grand Cayman with an increase in local farming. The epicentre of the agricultural scene is the Hamlin Stephenson Market at the Cricket Grounds, located on Huldah Avenue. Market visitors will find more than 20 vendors selling a cornucopia of produce and products — all farm fresh and grown with love.
Pioneer of Local Farming
The market is named after prominent farmer Hamlin Stephenson, who began hobby farming in the late 1970s. Farming runs in Stephenson’s family. He shares, “My love of farming began watching my father grow vegetables and raise livestock.” In the 1980s Stephenson expanded into commercial production after the induction of the local farmers market and has been a stalwart of local farming since.
Today, Stephenson produces seasoning pepper, kale, mangoes, cucumbers, lettuce, watermelons, avocados, sweetsop, eggplant, pumpkins, tomatoes and papayas, as well as goat meat. Stephenson continues, “My favourite product is avocado because it is easy to harvest and delicious!”
The Latest Variety
Local agriculture continuously evolves with new farms putting their unique spin on service. The Farmacy, established in 2014, is one example whose claim to fame is delivering produce right to your front door! Farmacy owner Joshua Clark was inspired by his wife, Lauren, who missed the farm-fresh produce she enjoyed in the United Kingdom. One day the couple planted a few tomato seeds to satisfy a craving for fresh produce. A few months later, whilst enjoying their fresh fruit, Joshua and Lauren began discussing the benefits of providing fresh produce to the community and agreed to grow more.
Joshua shares, “We started giving little goodie bags of our produce to friends and family, and through word of mouth, we began to slowly expand.” By Summer 2015, the Farmacy was growing tomatoes, eggplant, scallion, peppers, cucumbers, pumpkins, watermelons, bananas, plantains, callaloo, bok choy, mint and basil, and had hens for fresh eggs. Today the Farmacy also offers goat and pig. Joshua continues, “My favourite product to harvest is passion fruit, because my wife and I love to watch them twirl and wind their vines around everything. They grow so quickly, and the fruits are utterly delicious.”
Another service the Farmacy offers is Farm Camp for children aged 5–12, as well as hosting birthday parties. These offerings allow children to learn more about where food comes from and spend time outdoors.
Their Farm to Your Table
There are a number of ways to get fresh ingredients to your table. Those who want to pick their own can shop at the Hamlin Stephenson Market at the Cricket Grounds or explore the constantly expanding fresh produce sections at the local grocery stores. Or, you can choose to have the Farmacy deliver produce right to your front door. Hamlin Stephenson’s final words of wisdom: “It is very important to support local agriculture, wherever in the world we may be.” So get out there and try the Island’s freshest produce.
Author: Stacie Sybersma