Friday, 3 June 2016

Food Is Where You Find It…



Lamb chops anyone? This feral sheep on Ascension Island popped out of the banana trees on Green Mountain just as we approached on our banana hunt.  Finding food is not always easy, and while we did have space in the freezer, we decided to leave the sheep behind.

We spent an amazing 10 days on St Helena Island in the company of Canadian friends Diane, Evan and Maia, from the catamaran Ceilydh, much o fthe time chasing down food. It’s a spectacular and beautiful island, steeped in history, dotted with old forts, with rock walls and cannons aplenty.  However finding fresh food and provisions there was not easy.

We would prowl the supermarkets for fresh produce, sometimes meeting with local friends and retiring to the Blue Lounge at The Consulate Hotel.  There we would connect to the most expensive (and slowest) internet we have encountered, before prowling the shops once again. 

Jamestown - Site Of "Food Scrum Thursdays"
Sometimes It's Who You Know

Information on food sources comes from other cruisers and locals alike.  On our passage from Cape Town, Di emailed  us about Food Scrum Thursdays at one of the main supermarkets on the island.  Local produce would be delivered from the farms, shoppers would queue up at the side door and the food scrum would begin.  Except when we arrived only carrots and cucumbers were on offer each Thursday!

So each day we would scout out the four main supermarkets, sometimes hourly.  6 bags of potatoes were opened one day, luckily during one of our hourly visitations.  Bags of freshly picked green beans were on offer another time.  Another day we found local lettuce - again a very small supply, reinforcing our regular supermarket sorties. Our friend, film maker Dominic, told us about a man who drives into town every Thursday morning with a boot load of bananas, and he offered to buy some for us.

Evan Harvesting Bananas On Green Mountain
Not every excursion was rewarding, but slowly we manage to buy egg plants, avocados, basil, parsley, mushrooms, green tomatoes, onions and some produce that was bought in on the supply ship, RMS St. Helena, from Cape Town.   

Our best deal was several dozen farm fresh eggs, supplied by the farmer Peter, who was delivering beer to the Consulate Hotel. Really, provisioning in these small places is about who you know.

We are now ready to depart from Ascension Island, but with a seriously depleted fruit and veggie larder.  We saw only two small vegetable plots on our drive around this volcanic island and there is very little available in the two small stores open to us.   

However, we struck cruiser’s gold on Green Mountain – wild bananas available for picking.  With limited resources we managed to get 3 small bunches of green bananas to be shared.  Maia also collected a small container of delicious wild raspberries.

Spending our last few St Helena pounds in the supermarket we sadly noticed that there were no frozen peas.  I asked the staff if there were any available  - “No” was the sad answer, so we resorted to buying mixed frozen vegetables.  At the check out we heard a voice call “did you want frozen peas?”  They found some for us in their store room .  Out cruising in remote areas,  it’s important to talk to people and let them know what you need. They will often go the extra mile for you.

Our Fruit Basket In Better Times - Now It Holds Just Wild Bananas And A Few Remaining Oranges

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