Cuisinart Resort’s hydroponic farm

I’m starting to (finally) wrap up the Anguilla posts. I’ve finally reached the CuisinArt hydroponic farm post I’ve been referring to. This is completely unique in that CuisinArt’s restaurant is the only one in the world to have its own hydroponic farm. A similar effort was made on an island off the coast of Puerto Rico, but didn’t succeed for one reason or another.

The advantages to a restaurant having its own hydroponic farm are easy to see. Since Anguilla is a remote place to reach, boatloads of supplies can’t easily make their way to the island. Having your own farm ensures that you have the freshest produce available, and no doubt cuts down on internal costs, since there’s no middleman. Being able to attend to the crops on the premises ensures that you can control the quality of your ingredients, and you can know exactly the amount of resources available to you.

The CuisinArt farm grows tomatoes, lettuces, herbs, peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers, and is consistently trying new crops. The vegetables need to be able to support themselves on the vine, since everything grows vertically.

 

Seeing all that lush, green, edible vegetation in the middle of winter certainly encouraged me when I got home. I went out and stocked up on seeds for tomatoes and leafy greens, and currently my living room is filled with seedlings that are harbingers of summer’s harvest. The first year I planted tomatoes, I didn’t know what I was doing. I let them grow, and grow, and grow, without pruning. This year, I’m approaching my tomato crop with a slightly more experienced eye (only slightly). At the CuisinArt farm, they cut away the leaves closest to the fruit to allow more sunlight to reach it and ripen it – something I’m looking forward to trying on my own plants. In the case of the cherry tomatoes, this resulted in some of the sweetest, most delectable tomatoes I’ve ever tasted. We were allowed to pick and taste them right off of the vine – heaven. I only hope that my plants, nurtured as they are in this Canadian climate, reach even a tenth of that flavour.