Having served the Royal Dutch Navy for 18 years, Lorraine Cooijman Van Bogaert settled on Aruba and became a farmer. Logical, no?
Her story is actually very inspiring. How a Navy vet reinvents herself with the help of YouTube and whatever else she could lay hands on, to become an exclusive purveyor of fresh microgreens on the island.
Lorraine grows about 25 varieties of vegetable shoots, her vibrant greens are grown on demand and delivered personally every Tuesday to Aruba’s fine dining restaurants and hotels.
Just peek at Lorraine’s dry-erase board, in the small shack that double up as her office, in Santa Cruz, and you will see all top island chefs and premier restaurants listed, and when I say all, I mean perhaps two dozen?!
We reconnected recently when Lorraine attempted to educate some of my readers about CBD and THC, and the difference between them, and about customizing Marijuana plants for one or the other.
She said: “Aruba should educate its people to recognize the difference between CBD plants and THC plants. There is a huge difference between those two, and their effect. But, sure, they are both called Marijuana. And when you say Marijuana, people go nuts and negative. So education is the solution. Selling and growing the right plant with a THC below 0.3 % and a high CBD percentage, will be a huge economic boom for Aruba. True, Marijuana with a high percentage of THC gets you stoned, BUT a plant with low THC and high CBD is going to relieve chronic pain, and alleviate Chemo symptoms. It’s a wonder plant. We should grow the high CBD plants not the high THC plant.”
So her inner farmer would love to grow licensed and certified high CBD low THC plants, make her own oils, and sell them here to an anxiously waiting ailing public.
But the authorities are dragging their heels.
They are also dragging their heels about land for agriculture and water.
So she grows microgreens meanwhile.
I went to visit her on a Monday. Monday is a good day, her microgreens are at peak performance, just before being delivered for harvest on Tuesday.
Lorraine grows everything under two white party tents in her backyard with a third tent coming up soon. It’s all growing in neat little reusable plastic boxes on soil imported from the Netherlands, available at Flora Market, she waters by hand.
Experience is the best teacher she says, and over the last 18 months she cracked the code on what the chefs want, then she grows it. She studies their menus, then delivers fresh ingredients. They go crazy, if I am late, she beams.
The reason I am a farmer, she states, is mostly because I want to be an example for Aruba’s youth. I am doing this because I want to prove to Arubans that it is possible to become a farmer, even if you don’t have a farming background. And to show that you can grow food for profit and sustainability, but you need to grow the right crop. Showing Aruba what I have accomplished in 2 years and showing Aruba that it is possible to become what you want to become, is my goal.
If you see my farm now, there is a big change from when I started, and I am still not done reaching my final vision. I want to inspire, there must be young entrepreneurs out there having the same passion and they need to be inspired. I have so many other ideas for Aruba, but money is naturally the big challenge, to start things up. But we are getting there. I am persuasive.
I want to reach out to Aruba and to show what I do, and inspire others, she concluded.
Petite Green Aruba: Microgreens Business to Business, for chefs, restaurants and other businesses.
Petite greens Aruba produces the best microgreens, edible leaves and edible flowers, we grow what chefs want. Always open: Call 562 1052