Today we went to St. George’s, the capital of Grenada. We caught a Number One bus outside the marina. We were on a hunt for tomatoes. There is a shortage of tomatoes on this island. It is a mystery perhaps not worthy of a novel but certainly deserving of a blog post. It seems as though whenever something is hard to find we begin to have cravings for it; funny how that works. We think we have a good idea as to why tomatoes are so hard to find. The farmers tend to grow spices and crops fetching higher market prices. Being an island, farm land is limited. I imagine farmers are also somewhat limited. I can’t say I blame the farmers for trying to get as much money as they can from their limited acreage. Toiling in fields during this intolerable heat should be justifiably rewarded. I guess tomatoes do not fetch market prices in the same realm as spices, cocoa beans, or sugarcane.
The grocery stores never seem to have tomatoes. The stores have farmers supplying directly to them. These contracted farmers tend to grow crops more seasonal and in high demand. Potatoes, carrots, mangos, coconuts, bananas, ginger root, apples and watermelon all seem to be in good supply. On the one rare occasion when we did find tomatoes, they were green. They were also hard like little rocks. Cindy put them on the counter top to ripen. They never did turn red. They sat there for a week. I swear they turned greener. We found if we sliced them thin enough, we could take away the crispiness. Tomatoes aren’t meant to be eaten when crispy.
The restaurants have tomatoes. They serve nice fresh salads. So, we asked the restaurants from where they purchase tomatoes. Secretly we were hoping they would offer to sell us some. We were told they purchase produce directly from farmers or import from Trinidad. We decided a hundred mile sail to Trinidad for tomatoes might be a little over the top and axed the idea almost as soon as it arose. A friendly waitress told us to try the market in St George’s. She warned us they may be expensive but most likely available. So off to the market we went.
Just about every food and clothing item you can imaging are available from street vendors in Grenada. We have found the street vendors have much better prices than stores. But, as with any street vendor, the knowledge of a fair price point is recommended beforehand. We can buy bottle water from a guy with an ice chest on the street for EC$3.00 (about US$1.10) or spend EC$5 inside a store for the same brand and size. The downtown market is about 3 blocks long and is jammed with Grenadians selling their wares. Out of all these stalls, we found only one with tomatoes. But, one was all we needed. We purchased a pound of ripe red tomatoes for EC$5.00 (US$1.85). A deal! Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the purchasing of tomatoes would make me so happy. The one occasion we found tomatoes in the grocery store they were EC$7.50 per pound (US$2.77). We stuffed our new found precious tomatoes in the backpack and continued to walk about taking in the market sights. About an hour later we passed by the stall where we purchased the tomatoes. They were all gone. The entrepreneur still residing deep within me thought about selling the tomatoes we had just purchased for EC$10.00 per pound netting a nice 100% profit. I wish I could get my mind to stop thinking like this and just smell the roses.
We were walking by the chocolate museum/store. A few fellow cruisers told us to make sure we tried the chocolate milkshakes. Apparently these milkshakes have become world famous. And, here’s why: The ice-cream is home-made. The chocolate chips blended into the ice-cream are freshly made here on Grenada from fresh cocoa beans and fresh vanilla beans are added. These ingredients are all blended into a delicious frothy concoction and served in a chilled mug. I have to confess, I am not a big fan of chocolate. I find American Hershey chocolate to be repulsive. I do like some Cadbury or Mars products but can take it or leave it. Dark chocolate can be tolerated when washed down with a glass of red wine. I never order chocolate flavored anything. I much prefer vanilla cake over chocolate cake. I think you get the picture: me and chocolate – meh! So with all that said, how were the chocolate milkshakes? OMG – to die for!
Cindy and I sat quietly in the air-conditioned shop sipping our world famous chocolate milkshakes. As we sat enjoying the cool, my mind calculated how much money I could make developing a tomato farm on Grenada. After some deep thought, I figured a soilless hydroponic system would be the answer eliminating any seasonality. I could produce plump organic juicy little red perfectly tasting tomatoes all year long and sell them for a couple of dollars per pound. And because I invested in a costly soilless hydroponic system, I could work indoors away from the intolerable heat. This is when the epiphany happened. I realized if I were to invest in a costly soilless hydroponic system, I could grow anything at any time of year. Perhaps a more profitable crop would yield a faster return on investment for the costly soilless hydroponic system. A crop like, eh… cannabis. Cannabis definitely yields a much higher profit. I could start my pot farm with my newly acquired costly soilless hydroponic system on the west coast of the USA where pot is now legal, somewhat legal. Yes, I could become a pot farmer. I then began to wonder how long it would take to get my first cannabis harvest and how much ROI would be generated. Yep. Pot farming is surely the way to go when investing in a costly soilless hydroponic system. Now do you understand why there is a shortage of tomatoes on Grenada?