This weekend we headed for the loooong (island speak for "20 minute") drive out to the west side of the St Thomas for the Cultural Fair and Farmers Market in Bordeaux. The Bordeaux Farmers Market isn't your typical hipster/small farmers gathering. It's a collective of mainly Rastafarian organic farmers who, one weekend a year, go all out to celebrate and share their culture, food, produce, crafts, natural medicines/remedies. There were even several drum lesson set-ups. This event draws looooads of white people. Seriously. Tons. Ask anyone on the island that has been. I like watching all the newbies try to figure out what each food stand is selling. The stands often don't offer menus or prices and the poor first-timer Stateside transplants can't understand a word the dreadlocked guy on the other side of the counter is saying. They end up ordering a styrofoam container of food through a serious of points, grunts, and brief unsure phrases like "that orange stuff" and "a fried thing-y." And a couple trying to order a meal together and share? Forget it. Relationships have ended over less. When one half of the couple didn't understand that just because she asked for soup doesn't mean she'll get it if she wasn't there at the exact time to earthenware pot comes off the hot rocks? And her failure means the other half of the couple is stuck eating some sort of lentil substance and a grey mystery food? Not that I know what that feels like first hand. Nope. I've got it under control.
This isn't to say the food isn't good. It's delicious. Love it. This year we feasted on eggplant, barbecued tofu, potatoes, and black eyed pea fritters (peas balls). And it's good to be shaken up and tossed out of your comfort zone. The fair is a typical island environment. We waited fifteen minutes for a mysteriously absent woman to return to her stand so that I could buy a bag of spirulina, and when I did she seemed annoyed that I was bothering her. But three or four stands down I bought sorrel (the flowers, not the greens) from a woman who patiently answered all my questions about how much I needed and how to make a traditional sorrel drink (recipe to come!). It's the island. Like I said, it's nice to be out of your comfort zone.
Although the weekend fair is only held once a year, the Bordeaux Farmers Market is twice a month on the first and third Sundays. There aren't as many vendors on regular weeks but there is almost always a variety of seasonal produce, stands selling honey, eggs, and vinegars, and the pumpkin soup guy. Oooooh, the pumpkin soup guy. Don't miss him. Trust me. He alone is worth the ridiculously long twenty minute drive.