Everyone benefits from local food, says minister

| 09/02/2012

slow food (196x250).jpg(CNS): The minister with responsibility for agriculture has called on people to support local farmers following the success the first Slow Food Day at the Agriculture Pavilion in Lower Valley last Saturday that demonstrated the connection between locally grown fruits and vegetables and how they are prepared.  The minister said the whole community benefits when people by  locally grown  food. The event matched farmers with the islands’ tops chefs allowing the public to eat the prepared food and buy the fresh ingredients used during the event which served as a curtain raiser for the 45th Annual Agriculture Show.

Juliana O’Connor-Connolly said it was good to see everyone working together.

“Farmers need the chefs and restaurants need the farmers. There is nothing better than growing what you eat,” the minister said. “A lot of the food we consume in this country are imports because we don’t see it best to support our local farmers. When we buy Caymanian, we are telling the farmers a thing or two, because the schools the churches, the communities and the entire country benefit.”

A large crowd lined up for a chance to sample the freshly grown and prepared ingredients at what was describe as a “perfect marriage of events,” by the Cayman Islands Agricultural Society president Errol Watler.

“Everyone that came said they enjoyed it, and best of all people got a chance to see firsthand how the ingredients we farmers grow are connected to what they eat. It was a fantastic atmosphere. I would like to thank all the farmers and the chefs and restaurants that participated,” he said.

Local restaurant owner Michael Schwartz said, “Anytime you can get people excited about where their food comes from, meeting the farmers who grow it and connecting with chefs who cook it, and getting up early on Saturday morning, it's a huge win. The first annual Slow Food Day accomplished all of that.”

Farmers that were paired with chefs to demonstrate the farm-to-table component were Errol Watler and Paul Caroll of Grand Cayman Beach Suites /Hemmingways, Joel Walton, Paul Bodden and Keith Griffith of the Cayman Islands Culinary Society, Hamlin Stephenson and Sara Mair of Ortanique Restaurant, Patrick Panton and Niven Patel  of the Brasserie Restaurant, Donna Conolly and Thomas Tennant of Michael’s Genuine Restaurant. 

The Brasserie featured jerk chicken and green onions on Italian bread. Thomas Tennant and local egg farmer Donna Connolly combined to present scrambled eggs on garlic toast. Chef Keith Griffin’s recipe worked well from Joel Walton and Paul Bodden’s  farms– island spiced pork-loin and freshly made vegetable salsa. 

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