Cucumbers in Alto Vista

I went to the Farmer’s Market on STR Agriculture in Alto Vista, on March 18th.

A big green sign directed me from the Chinese restaurant up the street. The place has been open about six months.

The STR Agriculture complex is impressive, some swanky condos with a beautiful iron gate to the south, tall greenhouses to the north, an elaborate, unfinished, water element with a rock formation and colorful tile in the center, and the Farmer’s Market, now offered weekly, Saturday 9am to 12 noon

What does STR mean. I understand the agriculture part. They are the initials of the owner’s children, I heard. He called his business after his children. And who is the owner, I insisted. An investor from NY, I was told, a man by the name of Joe Ramadan who is pouring big bucks into the island and is trying to grow food, and secure a share of the market.

Right now, six warehouses grow cucumbers, and others grow rotating crops, tomatoes, red peppers, hot peppers, papaya, and pumpkin. STR Agriculture also grows local banana, lemon, and plantain, and makes a tasty hot sauce.

Water? They collect from roofs and buy from Santa Rosa.

I bought a nice cucumber. One would feed me for a week. They are the real deal, very flavorful, and solid, just make sure you peel some of the bitterish skin, not everything, because most nutrient are in the skin!

That was Awg 1.5, for a fleshy, just picked cuc. Well worth it.

The tomatoes also looked. I noticed very little greens because the neighbor, Gregory from +297, handles that market very well. I love his mixed field greens. I love all other lettuce, too.

The Saturday Farmers’ Market is modest, under a beautiful pergola in the shade. Around it, rows of plastic covered watermelon beds, with the little heads of the sprouting plants peeking out of the mound.  This looks promising, against the backdrop of the giant greenhouses.

The plastic protection I read, helps farmers increase production, improve food quality, minimize water consumption and reduce the ecological footprint of the crops.

Food. It is very important for us to secure sources of food, as an island, that needs to import everything. Perhaps we can import less. And local food is healthier and can be more affordable than the imported goods.

Joe Ramadan came in with a mega investment and we wish him well. The STR Agriculture’s FB page says it was his dream and it came true.

Last summer an MOU was signed between local farmers, United Farmers Aruba, and Santa Rosa, the new Farmer’s Markets in Savaneta, and Noord etc., are part of that agreement. Let’s see if we can teach our locals to shop local. Bring a shopping bag and containers and buy at fresh open air markets instead of airconditioned supermarkets, that stock perhaps more beautiful produce, but commercially grown, and travelled.

Support the local farms, we’re lucky to have them. Agriculture is back-breaking, farmers are visionaries and somewhat crazy.

I also bought Portuguese style Cucumber Stoba and Green Papaya Stew, accompanied by Funchi laced with aioli and turmeric, cooked by Thomasia de Freitas, also a T2pan loaf of sourdough. Yum.

STR Agriculture is inclusive and invites outside venders to join for more variety and interest.

Incidentally, #6 of the RED political list of candidates, was on hand the film and promote. It’s a small world.

#STRagriculture

 

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March 20, 2023
Rona Coster