Skies magazine: Homegrown; from small seeds grow big ideas

(Published in Cayman Airway’s Skies magazine, Jan/Feb issue, 2018)

Cayman has earned its culinary chops, not only as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean, but also for increasingly embracing the locavore movement.

One of the latest operations further cementing Cayman’s culinary reputation is The Farmacy. Located in the picturesque district of North Side, the farm is headed up by Josh Clark with his partner Lauren Hogan and offers a smorgasbord of locally grown organic produce.

“It started in October of 2014 when Lauren and I decided to plant some tomato seeds, and by December we were eating our own homegrown tomatoes every day,” Clark says.

“Once we started to grow our own produce we could immediately taste the difference from the things we were buying in the store,” Clark adds. “From this we began to think about how much of a niche there was in Cayman for locally grown food.”

The dynamic duo started supplying friends and family with the surplus fruits of their labour, but it wasn’t long before word spread.

“By the Summer of 2015,” Clark explains, “We were growing tomatoes, eggplant, scallion, peppers, cucumbers, pumpkin, watermelon, bananas, plantain, callaloo, bok choy, kale, arugula and basil, and we had our own hens that were laying fresh eggs.”

The duo quickly spotted a gap in the market for produce boxes delivered directly to customers’ homes. The boxes typically include a selection of vegetables, fruits, herbs and eggs. Customers can also opt to add a whole chicken, pork chops and sausages, alongside coconut water, homemade pesto, jelly and jam.

Community focused

Clark and Hogan are not only passionate about farming, but they are also passionate about educating Cayman’s youngsters on the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle.

“As a young Caymanian growing up here there was nobody giving us opportunities to learn about where our food came from and how to grow it,” Clark says. “I felt that as a young farmer it was my responsibility to teach the next generation how to be responsible for their food choices and how to use the beautiful island we have to make our own food.”

Fulfilling this mantra, the duo often hosts visits for local schools, where youngsters get to help on the farm and learn about where their food comes from.

Expansion beckons

Never one to rest on his laurels, Clark is always looking to grow his operation further. He is planning on expanding his menagerie of 10 pigs, two goats and more than 200 chickens to open a small petting zoo. “We hope families can come and spend time petting the animals and picking their own fruits and vegetables,” Clark explains. He also says that he plans to open a farm-to-fork café in the future.

When asked what he feels the most rewarding part of his day is, Clark elaborates, “There isn’t a more rewarding feeling than after a long hot day outside, picking your dinner and coming in to cook and enjoy a plate of your homegrown hard work.”

No doubt it’s a sentiment echoed by many of The Farmacy’s customers as they tuck into a plate of Cayman goodness.

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