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Exuma resort aims to ‘buy local’

Exuma Beach Resort targets benefits for health and local economy from move
Guardian Business Reporter

Published: Oct 29, 2013

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One resort on Exuma has taken a bold step by making the decision to buy Bahamian.  Limes, spinach, tomatoes, onions, okra and hot sauces are just some of the locally-produced foods that are used at the Exuma Beach Resort, located in Georgetown, Exuma.

The resort’s General Manager Sarah Swainson said a stance was taken to support local farmers as much as possible.

“We are in the process of reworking our menus and we’re trying to frame them around what’s available throughout the year.  We are looking to unveil them right before Christmas.  The number one benefit is engaging the community.  As a business here in Exuma, we have to support what is local.  We need to support those that are working hard everyday.  The health benefits are huge,” she told Guardian Business.

“I have a wonderful relationship with the local farmers association, headed by Teddy Clarke.  We look to support the local farmers as much as we can.  I pretty much go down to the local farmers a couple of times every week.  All of the limes used at our resort are locally grown.  We have a great spinach outlet on the island that we try to use as much as we can.

“Local hot sauces are our favorites on our tables and we sell for a local vendor, if people would like to purchase.  We do as many tomatoes and onions as we can.  We have had some really terrible flooding this past season so there have been some ups and downs with the crops.  If we had a special, we use okra.  The pumpkins, melons, any of the local fruit that we can offer, we do.”

Minister of Agriculture V. Alfred Gray recently confirmed that the construction of a packing house that is intended to be an “economic boost” for Exuma farmers could begin before the end of the year.

The proposed structure has been designed for farmers to sell their freshly grown produce before it is distributed.  It will be built in Mount Thompson, Great Exuma.

The packing house will be more than 25,000 square feet in size and will be outfitted with state-of-the-art machines like grating, waxing and yellow machines.  Gray believes the building will be a great asset to local farmers on that island.

The Bahamas reportedly imports more than 80 percent of its food.

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