Brac farmers and crafters prepare to show their wares

| 24/02/2012

Margartio “Merch” Chantilope crops (238x300).jpg(CNS): Following the success of the Grand Cayman show on Wednesday, Brackers will be enjoying all the funof the farm this Saturday with the Cayman Brac Agriculture Show at the Agriculture Grounds off Songbird Drive on the Bluff. The show starts with a traditional Caymanian breakfast at 8 am and the opening ceremony will be around 10am. As well as the livestock and crop displays, arts and crafts, there will be a host of musical talents, such as C Level Band, Layman Scott High School Steel Band, Barefoot Man, Andy Martin the Cayman Cowboy, Dexter Bodden, Tammy Banks-DaCosta and many others.

Organisers said that the entertainment runs continuously throughout the day, with dancing from the Koalition group. There will also be various demonstrations by HM Customs K-9 Unit, Fire Department, Health Services and the Police Department.

One of the stalwarts of the Cayman Brac Agriculture show is Coleen Gibson, whose craft ambitions keeps pulling in a crowd and titles each year. Gibson keeps a dying art and a part of the Caymanian heritage alive by producing works of art using thatch and Caymanite and passing on her skills to generations of her family.

At 64 she was the 2011 Top Exhibitor at both Agriculture Shows – Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac.  “I enjoy the competition. I work hard on my stuff and I am proud to win. I am proud of my island, Cayman Brac, and I like being a part of the shows,” Gibson said.  

The 2011 Top Farmer for Cayman Brac, Margartio “Merch” Chantilope, will also be displaying his best crops. A second generation farmer, with nine fields under operation, Merch now supplies Foster’s Food Fair and Kirk Supermarket with yams and papayas.  In addition, he grows yams, cassava, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, mangoes and avocados and raises pigs. 

“I don’t use fertilizer – just rain water and I rotate my crops,” he said.  “Over the years I have found out that the best months to plant potatoes are August and September. You get a better yield of crops. You can plant in June, but you won’t get a high yield or quality crop,” he explained.  “I like the idea of shade-house farming. Not a lot of land is needed, but you can get a good crop and I support that kind of farming. Things are getting hard throughout the world and we in Cayman Islands need to do what we need to do.”

Admission to the Cayman Brac Agriculture show is $8 per person (ages 11 and up), and $4 for children (ages 4 – 10). Raffle tickets are $10 and includes admission – 1st prize is US$2,500. Gates open at 7:30am.

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