The Mountains: St. Lucia’s Breadbasket & Sweet Retreat
As you sit at Calabash Mountain Villa, the view you see is of the marvelous mountains; but you do not see what is really on these mountains. The Fond St. Jacque area in the Soufriere Quarter is known as the breadbasket of St. Lucia. This area is very green with the trees of all sorts and the other plants, many of which feed the community; ergo, the breadbasket. Being in the breadbasket can be rewarding in more than one way. The obvious benefit is that it provides an awesome backdrop for this beautiful community. The practical benefit is having a wide variety of food staples available in the area. And our guests benefit from the freshness and variety of food items readily available in close proximity.
The gardens and farms can be deceiving because the terrain is not flat. When driving through the area after the roadside area gets trimmed you could be very surprised at what lies behind the roadside growth. Sometimes, you see well-tended farms with various crops growing. Other times you will see homes surrounded by smaller gardens (some with gorgeous flowers, some with edible items or both.) The breadbasket term fits both types of farms/gardens that produce edibles – they feed people.
Sometimes on larger plots you will also find livestock – cows, pigs, goats, chickens, and/or sheep. While the livestock is not “breadbasket”, it is the meat that provides sustenance for the people.
So, what goodies will you find in the “breadbasket” farms/gardens? Some items are regular staples in the St. Lucian diet, such as yams, dasheen, breadfruit (see below), plantain, calaloo greens, christophine, black-eye peas, tomatoes, celery, soybeans, carrots, etc. There are fruits, such as bananas, avocado, papaya, guava, oranges, grapefruit, ackee, star apple, pumpkin and more.
You will also find spices such as allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, cumin seed, and peppers, (sweet, hot or pungent,) and onions. Cashew, coffee and cocoa trees are also found in this area. There are so many other items found growing in the area, but this just gives you a sense of the variety and how they are tailored to the ingredients of the typical St. Lucian diet.
While all of these items make great traditional meals so tasty, they also make the area beautiful, with all these plants growing. The array of colors is splendid – reds, yellow, orange, green and more – and provides an awesome backdrop for your Home Away From Home!
There is something special about realizing that what is on your dinner plate came from surrounding gardens and farms. The feeling of being one with nature comes into sharp focus when you take in the beauty of our surrounding area and recognize it is also a source of sustenance.