Farmers’ abundant produce much in demand
Fresh produce is abundant in Bermuda, the island's farmers said this week.
Tom Wadson explained: “This is prime time for everything, and it is increasing daily. Everybody is into a pretty serious harvest. Good food is available now.”
Newly harvested produce includes broccoli, carrots, red and green cabbage, zucchini, sweet potatoes, field-grown lettuce, swiss chard, kale, collard greens, spinach, tomatoes, celery, and more, farmers said.
Some potatoes are already out of the ground, with more to follow soon.
“Everything starts to come now,” Mr Wadson said.
The veteran farmer, in business since 1976, runs Wadson's Farm on Luke's Pond Road in Southampton.
The business includes an active retail operation, and also operates a 60-strong subscription programme, providing pre-packed groceries for weekly pick-up during an eight-week season.
Mr Wadson said consumers have beaten a path to his door for fresh produce, eggs, herbs, chicken, and even live poultry. This week, he is adding 100 pounds of pork sausage to the menu.
Visitors to the retail shop have begun to enquire about other items, too. “People are asking me to carry things like Dunkley's milk,” Mr Wadson said.
He added there has been a surge in demand for some offerings.
“I will be out of chicken as of this week,” Mr Wadson said. “I haven't run out of chicken … ever. All of a sudden, we have become the community store.”
He said another flock will be ready for harvest on May 7.
Mr Wadson added: “Do you know what I have sold a lot of? Large laying hens. People are decentralising their food a bit. They are buying laying hens to put in their backyard and get fresh eggs. I normally sell two or three a week, but I have sold 20-plus this week.”
Mr Wadson said there is also big demand for seedlings.
He added: “People seem to intend to almost try and sustain themselves a bit better. People are thinking about it, their mindset has changed.”
Mr Wadson said consumers can visit the shop, call in orders to 238-1862 or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The store, which is limiting customers to two at a time due to Covid-19, but which also offers window service, has modified its opening hours to 10am until 4pm Tuesday to Friday, and 9am to 1pm on Saturday.
Carlos Amaral and his brother, Antonio, run Bleak Farm off Watlington Road West in Devonshire, continuing a family tradition that stretches back nearly 60 years. Today, the Amarals farm some 25 acres of land around the island, their fields supplying fresh produce for retail outlets and roadside markets.
Mr Amaral said: “It is business as usual for us, local demand for fresh grown produce has remained steady. A lot of commodity is available now.”
He said the absence of visitors in Bermuda may prompt him to reallocate labour from the production of crops such as tomatoes, which are consumed in larger quantities when tourist season is in full swing, to smaller crops such as string beans.
“Capacity for growing on the island also encompasses visitors,” Mr Amaral said. “We will reach the point where certain items will be surplus because we don't have those extra mouths on island to feed. I am trying not to overproduce one item.”
Malcolm Smith operates Windybank Farm in Smith's Parish, the island's largest producer of eggs, supplying virtually every shop in Bermuda with product.
The third generation owned and operated farm also grows a wide range of produce.
Some 200 boxes of food orders have been prepared for pick-up today and tomorrow morning, Mr Smith said.
He added: “The past two or three weeks have been quite busy. It will slow down sooner or later because people will be overstocked.
“It is a good time of year for a local farmer for producing vegetables, and that goes for all farmers. I don't think any farmers are complaining right now. They are probably moving vegetables quite fast.”
Orders for Windybank produce must be made via e-mail to email@example.com, Mr Smith said, adding that details of what is available are posted on the farm's Facebook page.