A Guide to the Hamlin Stephenson Farmer's Market
For an island as small as Cayman it was difficult to establish ourselves as a fully farm-to-table community. When I was growing up, restaurants and supermarkets imported all of their goods from abroad because there was no other option back then. Even if they were able to get some local produce the farmers simply did not have enough supply to meet the consistent demand these businesses required. Over the past decade I have watched our community embrace things like farm deliveries to their home or office, attend farmer-focused events like ‘Slow Food Day’ and reserve a seat at restaurant’s farm-to-table dinners. This shift has allowed the farmers to expand their businesses and given them the ability to provide enough produce for restaurants, supermarkets and even residents. In order to create more lucrative opportunities for Cayman’s farmers and artisans the idea of an open-air facility was devised so they could sell directly to the public. In 2015 the Hamlin Stephenson Farmer’s Market at the Cricket Grounds was formed thanks to many sponsors who donated services, material and funding. The farmer’s stalls take up most of the area with their abundance of seasonal produce, but they also share the space with a few talented artisans. This is a guide specifically highlighting my favourite artisans (cooks, craftsmen/women and artists) that can be found at the Farmer’s Market at the Cricket Grounds.
Sweet As Can Be:
If you have a sweet tooth then you’ll want to stop by ‘Sweet As Can Be’ on Friday and Saturdays. They are known for their jams, jellies and relishes, and use seasonal Caribbean ingredients including mango, guava and pineapple. Their local desserts are just as delicious and you can expect to find bread pudding, cassava cake, custard topped corn bread and more from them. Their menu is constantly changing so expect something new each week. You can contact Ms. Carol at (345) 916-1474 or Ms. Linda at (345) 925-5466 for any advance or bulk orders.
Ivy’s Cayman Treats:
Ms. Ivy is known for her tangy and spicy sauces that are traditionally used to season and enhance Caribbean dishes. Purchase her homemade herb blends, jerk sauce, scotch bonnet pepper sauce and pickled pepper sauce and you’ll be making Caribbean food in no time. Ms. Ivy can be found at the Cayman Farmer’s Market only on Saturdays, but is also at George Town Craft Market by the waterfront during the week. Contact Ms. Ivy at (345) 327-0707 if you need to locate her and place a bulk order in advance.
Farm Fresh Direct:
Expect a wide range of handcrafted food products when visiting Farm Fresh Direct. It’s an eclectic stall offering hot food, including empanadas and a daily soup, and bottled items from unique vinegars to hot sauce. They are also obsessed with coconuts so expect to find packaged versions of grated coconut, young coconut meat, coconut water, coconut oil and even an organic coconut yogurt that’s dairy-free. Visit their website http://www.farmfresh.ky/ for more information and to purchase items in advance.
Eileen’s Native Crafts:
Thatching is a part of Cayman’s heritage and Ms. Eileen McLaughlin is making sure she keeps that tradition alive. You can find her at the Farmer’s Market quietly thatching her next project. She’s the woman to visit if you want a sturdy thatch bag that is perfect for a beach day or trip to the grocery store, placemats for your hot pans and a wide-brimmed hat to keep you cool. Ms. Eileen will even make custom-design items for you if you give her advance notice since it can take a few days to complete. Contact her at (345) 947-5718 or (345) 924-3908.
Wanting to take a literal piece of Cayman home with you? You can do just that by purchasing Caymanite jewelry from Ms. Launa. This rock is unique to the Cayman Islands, but rare to see crafted because it is difficult to find and has a very hard exterior. For talented craftsmen/women, it is worth the effort because after it is carved and polished the earthy hues, ranging from white to red to black, create stunning earrings, bracelets, necklaces and pendants. Email her at email@example.com or call her at (345) 939-8332.
Healthy Alternatives Cayman:
Healthy Alternatives prides itself on using local, homemade products to improve your body from the inside and out. Some of their edible products include coconut sugar, coconut oil and moringa tea, whilst their natural body products include coconut oil soap, mosquito repellant, vapour rub and even deodorant. Contact them at (345) 929-8801 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hailing from North Side and representing Whistling Duck Farm is the ‘Cayman Exotics’ brand. Not only do the have a variety of jams and jellies including mango, soursop and pepper jelly, but they also serve fresh juice blends. Their starfruit and pineapple, june plum with ginger, and mango flavours are some of my favourites.
To learn more about the vendors, farmers, location and times for the Hamlin Stephenson Farmer’s Market at the Cricket Grounds you can visit their website www.caymanfarmersmarket.com/.