April 23, 2008

More from the Bahamas -- Holey Farm

As I mentioned the other day, while I was in the Bahamas, I cooked a fabulous meal with Frederic Demers at Jean-George Vongerichten’s, Café Martinique.  I wanted to know where this top chef finds all his beautiful produce and he told me about a wonderful gem of a farm called Holey Farm.  I wanted to visit in the worst way, so I grabbed the television crew and off we went.  We were greeted by Maria-Therese E. Kemp, who created this amazing place.  Holey Farm gets its name because the growing areas are actually situated in the holes of limestone formations.  It was very challenging to grow produce at first, in such rugged terrain, but Therese had perseverance and developed many special techniques.  Take a look at these photos to see a most unusual garden that many local chefs rave about! 

Holey Farm is a really magical place.

Between narrow flat walls of limestone and cement, herbs and vegetables grow - these are in great demand by the local restauranteurs who are in the know.

Superbly grown and extremely tasty, this cilantro is the basis of the cilantro sauce for Chef Freddie Demers - he uses it on his signature dish - grouper with aromatic black beans, at Café Martinique.

The flower garden is prolific - red amaryllis, impatiens, hibiscus, datura, and passiaflora grow in profusion.

These beautiful goats are raised solely for their manure - they are not for meat.

Holey Farm is called such because of the very unique limestone craters that comprise the landscape. Not far from the Nassau Airport, this land is rich in minerals, sparse in soil, but everything that grows here grows well and has deep flavors - the only thing that is challenging is the scarcity of water. An irrigation system has been installed by the owner, Maria-Therese Kemp.

The white pipes carry water. Consistent and constant composting, along with goat manure applications, make up the soil that fills the craters.

This is a tropical cherry tree.

These are the local cherry tomatoes - a real favorite of Jean-Georges

Here are some baby avocados just starting to form.

This mango tree is covered with mangoes - not yet ripe.

Therese has made a concrete walkway to make planting and harvesting a bit easier in this rugged landscape.

This lettuce is going to seed - a planned event, as it will reseed itself.

Kim, Sae and Gary studying the situation.

Here are several types of leaf lettuce growing well and beautifully amidst the limestone craters.

Here are young thyme plants which will soon cover the earth.

Maria-Therese and I hit it off right away - we understand, all too well, that to make a garden takes effort, ingenuity, and persistence.