Wednesday, April 24, 2024

All things natural

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Standing out like a pink and white lighthouse on the south coast, Santa Neta Apartments in Hastings play host to a small, but wonderfully diverse secret: The Hastings Farmers’ Market.

On Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9  in the morning to 2 in the afternoon. you can find a market area full of locally produced items, all of which will appeal to your eyes, mind and stomach.

One vendor, Ken Browne, seeks to appeal to all three. Browne’s display area featured products ranging from handmade wooden tables and utensils, to natural oils, extracts and lotions.

While working on a piece of wood, Browne paused to point at a wood and glass table. “These are pure mahogany roots here, all handmade. Kinda keep it that island tropical theme, you know?” he said.

The table, which also carried a lamp with a multicoloured glass insert, features a lizard and snake carved into it.

As Browne continued working on the piece of wood, which he identified as a quinine bitter cup, he explained that one of the tables would take around two months of night work to complete.

He then moved over to a table with a host of wellness products. “[This is] anti-malarial and also good for stomach issues. It gives tonic to the body, that’s used in tonic water,” he said as he pointed to one of the finished quinine bitter cups.

Next to this was pure wild bees honey, all natural creams made from the bees’ wax, and noni extract.

Also on the table was cold pressed coconut oil and noni/dog dumpling extract, which Browne said was anti-carcinogenic and lowered cholesterol.

The lone potters at the market, Alison and Joel Thomas, had some exquisite pieces which seemed to have the spirit of Barbadian tradition baked into them.

Alison said the name of their company “Mud to Magnificent Pottery”, came to her as divine inspiration. “We got that name by the inspiration of God. It means we are made from mud, by a magnificent God,” she said.

One piece she made sure to point out was the “Lady Light”. This full bodied, clay figurine carried a candle at the back, that when lit, created a glowing portrait.

All of the dinnerware by Mud

To Magnificent Pottery, featured things that were indigenous to Barbados such as the chattel house, market vendor, flying fish, hibiscus, and turtles.

There were also two displays that, although on opposing sides of the creativity coin, exuded creativity.

Linda Cutting and her handsewn items were as cute as they were imaginative. From colourful quilts, to patterned stuffed dolls, elephant and giraffes, Cutting’s was a fun exhibit.

A few stalls down, another woodwork artist, Ilon Skeete, was busy working to add an additional item to his creative and abstract woodwork sculptures on his display table.

Skeete’s work was made from mahogany as well, but interestingly enough, some of it was made from old furniture.

One of his abstract pieces was created from rotten wood which he cleaned out and then worked on. After cleaning out the wood, one part resembled a turtle to him and so he shaped in the shell and fin. The other side of the wood resembled a saxophone and so he fashioned that. He called the finished piece, “The Turtlesax”.

Another piece he had on display featured a family of monkeys which he titled “Love and Togetherness”.

One of the more colourful and mouth-watering sights at the market could be found at fruit vendor Mahindra Etwaroo’s table. As  if someone bumped up the saturation on real life, the colours of every fruit and vegetable at his table were rich and deep.

Etwaroo, whose product is largely locally grown, has been operating at the Hastings’ Market for the past three years. Although he had some of the most mouth-watering produce on show, there was one thing Etwaroo said the market really needed.

“We need a lot of local support,” he said. As he’s never missed a Saturday at market, Etwaroo said that most of the people who frequented his market area were tourists. On a brighter note, Etwaroo said, “It’s a nice market, you can get things reasonable and it’s a nice atmosphere.”

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