A bounty of fresh produce
Not many people realize that Curaçao and Bonaire are, beyond the white sandy beaches, hotels and tourist attractions, also home to a growing number farmers. These farmers are often located in the more remote parts of the islands, that you may easily miss when staying on the standard tourist track.
Some of these farmers sell their produce directly to supermarkets (luckily more and more supermarkets started selling local produce!) and some even have their own farm shop. These farm shops on Curaçao and Bonaire are redefining the islands’ food scene by promoting locally sourced, fresh produce and offer a unique culinary experience for both locals and tourists alike. They often go beyond just selling fruits and vegetables by featuring a variety of artisanal products, from homemade jams and preserves to locally produced honey and cheese. This is where you get to take home the real island flavors!
Supporting Local Farmers
By shopping at farm shops, you are not only treating your taste buds, but also supporting the islands’ hardworking farmers. As a chef specialized in modern Caribbean cuisine, it is my mission to inspire people to cook more with local ingredients. Considering that 90% of the food on our islands is imported, while we have plantations with all kinds of beautiful, fresh produce, then it is about time we start buying local. It benefits our health, the local economy and the ecological footprint. Whether you’re a foodie looking for unique flavors or a traveler seeking a more authentic experience, I hope you will eat your heart out with this list of my favorite farm shops on Curaçao and Bonaire!
Farm Shops on Curaçao
The Marketplace at Hofi Cas Cora
Curaçao’s first no waste store can be found at the Hofi Cas Cora plantation, where owners Femi and Joshua Peiliker have been running their popular farm-to-table restaurant since 2015. In addition to fresh harvest from their own fields, they also sell products from other farmers, organic household, beauty products and delicious homemade jams, pestos and pickles. The shop has a small café with coffee, salads, sandwiches and the tastiest oatmeal cookies on the island. Don’t forget to bring your own bag and jars. Open: Tuesday through Friday from 8am to 3pm, Saturdays from 9am to 3pm.
Sunday Market at Barber
The food market on Sunday morning in Barber is definitely worth setting your alarm for. In an open-air canteen, the villagers of Bandabou gather for a chat, delicious sòpi (soup), stobá (stewed meat), Johnny cakes (fried sandwiches) and repa di pampuna (pumpkin pancakes). You can also find fresh fruit and vegetables, herbal plants and other local products such as stropi di kalbas, a syrup made from calabash that is used as cough syrup. If you are on time, you can see the butchers at work slaughtering local goat through the windows of the slaughter rooms. Open: every Sunday from 7am to 11am at the Kaminda Próspero ‘Popo’ Rojer in Barber.
Plantage Brakkeput Ariba
One of the island’s oldest plantations once known as a cattle and dairy farm, Plantage Brakkeput Ariba has been revived in recent years by the daughter of the now retired farmer and her partner. Every Saturday you can find fresh fruits and veggies, artisan bread, cakes and koko friu (cold coconut water) in their colorful containershop. Order in advance and your farmer’s basket filled with goodies will be ready for pick-up. Open: every Saturday from 9am to 2pm.
This aquaponics turned hydroponics farm supplies the islanders with a steady production of lettuce, herbs and microgreens. The shop also sells produce from other farmers as well as homemade sauces and pestos. Open: every Saturday from 10am to 2pm.
The newest kid in town and easily the hippest shop on this list. Lounge musics and stylish white shopping baskets await you in the small shop which holds quite an broad selection considering its size. You can also order online. Open: Monday through Friday from 7am to 8pm, Saturday from 8am to 4pm.
Tola Eco Family Farm
This farmers family manages to grow an amazing selection of fruits and vegetables at their Bandabou plantation: from purple sweet potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, juicy pomegranates and guaves to creamy pumpkins and fresh peanuts. Open: you can find them every Saturday from 9am to 12pm with a small stall at Bread and More on Coral Estate.
Farm Shops on Bonaire
Bonaire Daily Fresh
This farm recently opened the doors of its immense new greenhouse that houses an impressive state-of-the-art aquaponics system using fish, plants and water to grow vegetables that can be harvested 365 days a year. If you like lettuce this is your place to be! Open: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday from 8am to 11am, or order online: www.dailyfresh.eco.
Their little snack cucumbers are pretty irresistible, but they also grow spicy arugula, yardlong beans, various salad greens and okra. Open: every Tuesday from 10am to 2pm.
Get a taste of the farm fresh produce at my Dinner in the Field. Once a month, I take my pots and pans, tables and chairs and create a stunning dinner setting at one of our local plantations. Enjoy a 4-course family-style dinner with freshly picked harvest from the field and taste what it’s all about!
You can read more about the islands’ farmers and other green entrepreneurs in the latest edition of my Island Vibes magazine (issue 5 – written in Dutch).
NB. This list does not include all farm shops. Let me know in the comments if you think someone is missing and I will gladly add them.