For Yacht Chefs, Finding Produce Down Island Means Braving Guns, Roosters, and Kaliks

Categories: Rants
Chef Sara Ventiera is on a three-week trip to the Bahamas, manning the kitchen on a 91-foot yacht. She will file regular updates from the waters about what it's like to work on a yacht, from pretrip provisioning to seaplane produce delivery. Click here for previous reports.

The horse was friendlier than the sign, which warned of an attack dog with the message: "I can make it to the gate in 3 seconds. Can you?"
We stepped out of the cab to be greeted by a couple of roosters sitting under a sign: "Private Property. My wife has a gun. Violators will be shot."

I shared a befuddled glance with Julie, the yacht's stew. We continued toward a fenced-in building with a farm store sign on the front. Just inside the fence sits a paddock with a couple of ponies that approached as we entered. We stopped to pet them. They lost interest as soon as they discovered we did not come bearing food. We didn't have much time anyway. We came to provision.

Goodfellow Farms is on the west end of New Providence Island, about a 30-minute drive from downtown Nassau. I have been sourcing produce from them for years, but this was  my first visit to the property. I usually have them deliver. I was impressed. They stock a decent array of fresh produce, including greens grown on-site and a selection of international gourmet jams, vinegars, and cheeses. The farm caters to the visiting yachts and wealthy foreign nationals wintering in the nearby luxury, gated communities.

Photos by Sara Ventiera
Greens are grown on-site at Goodfellow Farms.

Around 6:30 p.m., Julie and I finally finished stowing the last of our provisions. It was a bit of a push to fit everything needed into the small amount of fridge space. There is now a pile of greens sitting atop carrots, squeezed between bottles of water and cans of Coke. Produce is rather difficult to come by down island. You have to take what you need.

Penguins know how to stock a fridge.
We are now preparing ourselves for the trip ahead. The guests arrive around noon tomorrow. I have already begun defrosting tomorrow's meals. Stone crab claws and shrimp cocktail for lunch. Flank steak and lobster tails for dinner. It's going to be another long day tomorrow. That being said, this is our last evening off for the next two weeks. It's time to get off the boat. Tonight we're going out for dinner. We decide to head to the restaurant at the end of the dock.

We sit outside the Captains Table restaurant overlooking Lyford Cay marina. The sun is setting over the trees at the back end of the harbor. As we sit sipping our Kaliks, the three of us watch the crew of various yachts stand at their passerelles, the long, mechanical, plank-like devices that extend from the stern. They're wearing their epaulettes, waiting to greet their guests. With black pants and white pilot shirts, they resemble emperor penguins searching for mates. It is relieving to watch them work as we drink our beers waiting for dinner to arrive: whole snapper with rice. For me, this is my favorite part of any trip, the traditional local, fare that becomes the celebratory staple of the evenings before the guests arrive. The captain, Julie, and I settle in to our last supper. Tomorrow, we will be the ones standing at attention awaiting our guests. Tomorrow, we will be the penguins.

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