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Homespun 16-07-2009 10:27

Availability of Fruits / Veggies in Bahamas / Caribbean ?
I did a search on this and couldn't find anything. If this belongs under the Caribbean/Atlantic subforum, I apologize.

The situation: My wife is a vegan who eats almost exclusively fruits and veggies. She's not the type of vegan who eats tons of pasta, rice, beans, etc. We go through a considerable amount of fruits and vegetables in a given day.

The question: How available are local fruits and vegetables in the Bahamas and western Caribbean? Are they cheaper than what you'd find in the States or more expensive?

The second question: How available are imported fruits and vegetables in this area? I can imagine already that they are more expensive than we'd find in the states, but was wondering just how much more expensive on average.

Any other input about acquiring or the availability of fruits and vegetables there?

Thank you kindly.

GordMay 16-07-2009 10:53

There used to be a Produce Exchange on Potteŕs Cay, at the foot of the Paradise Island Bridge, in Nassau; and vegetables were generally available (at least on mailboat day) at select islands in the Exumas.
Stock up opportunistically!

Scott730 16-07-2009 11:00

I found the selection of fruits and veggies to be hit or miss, mostly miss unless, as Gordy states, you know when the mailboat arrives. In the Abacos, your best selection will be in Marsh Harbour, stock up there. Even when you do find produce, don't expect it to be of the quality you have in the States. And it is all more expensive.

mesquaukee 16-07-2009 11:25

In Mexico, especially Cancun, you can get everything and it is cheaper than the US.

In Belize it is very variable. The local people do not take much pride in growing vegetables or fruit. People from Guatemala are the ones who care about vegetables and fruit. In San Pedro there are a number of vegetable and fruit stands, they tend to be expensive. Cay Caulker used to be terrible, it is getting better, but it is limited and expensive. In Belize City if you go to the Queens Market you can get everything at a good price. The best way to get to the Queens market is to anchor at the south end of Turneff Reef Talk to the people at the lodge. A couple of times a week they go to Belize City for supplies, they will take you along. In Placencia there is a decent vegetable stand, and so it goes for the rest of the country, variable.

In Guatemala you can get everything at a good price.
Honduras is variable. It all depends on where you are and the day of the week.
In Panama and Columbia you can get everything and it is cheap.
Except in the San Blass, which is variable. You can if you get to know the locals get anything you want flown in, excellent quality.

Homespun 17-07-2009 05:55

Thanks very much for taking the time to post your replies. I appreciate it. This is very helpful information. We were thinking that things like bananas, and maybe things like mangoes and avocados would be readily available but it doesn't appear that way, unfortunately.

If anyone has any information on the eastern Caribbean, that would be helpful too.

Again, I appreciate the responses, Gord, Scott and Mesquaukee.

mesquaukee 17-07-2009 06:30

Lots of Bananas and avocadoes readily available in most places in the western Caribbean. Mangoes are seaonal. right now they are plentiful.

Vasco 17-07-2009 06:39

I can only speak for the Bahamas as I have not sailed in the Caribbean for over five years. The good deal at Potters Cay in Nassau is no longer. You used to be able to get a $10 box but no more. The box contained an assortment of fruits and vegetables, their pick. You can still get stuff there but the choice is limited and there are minimum quantities as this is essentially a wholesale operation although anyone can buy there. Fruits and veggies are plentiful in the supermarkets in Nassau but very expensive compared to Toronto or the States.

In the Exumas they're available at about two or three cays. Staniel and Georgetown have the best selection but even more expensive than Nassau. Broccoli $4 a bunch, romaine hearts $4 - $6, limes 2 for $1. (here in Toronto they're usually 5 for $1 and often 8 for a buck.) I need these for my rum and water. :). At Barreterre (Exumas) there is a small vegetable farm run by Mr.Lloyd who is close to 100 years old. It is essentially pot-hole farming and you can pick your own. In Abaco lots available in Marsh Harbour. In Long Island there is locally grown produce and the price varies depending on the farmer.

In general I would say that fresh produce is about twice the price of that in the US.

camaraderie 17-07-2009 06:40

Excellent fruit availability in the Eastern Caribe. Veggies are more problematic. French Islands have everything...hit or miss elsewhere.

Hud3 18-07-2009 13:52

In the eastern Caribbean, the quality, variety and availability of produce really depends on which island you're talking about.

Camaraderie is right about the French islands--they have the best supermarkets and some good local fruit/vegetable markets. The other end of the spectrum is the Grenadines, where you find very small "mini-marts" with canned goods and a very limited selection of fresh produce. Although there are some small produce stands here and there, most, if not all of the produce in the Grenadines is imported from St. Vincent. Bequia has a nice produce market, supplied directly from St. Vincent.

St. Vincent and Dominica are huge exporters of produce, mostly organically grown. Here on Nevis, we look forward to the boat from Dominica every Tuesday, loaded down with everything that's in season. The stuff from Dominica is noticeably better than anywhere else, in my opinion.

Other locations with decent supermarkets carrying a variety fresh produce are Jolly Harbour, Antigua, Grenada (near Grand Anse), St. Lucia, and the Virgin Islands.

I think you'll be able to get by just fine, but you should do a bit of research and map out the locations of the best spots to provision as you cruise from place to place. 18-07-2009 14:21

Panama is probably out of the range of your inquiry, but as mesquaukee said above, fruit can be had cheap there. Without even looking for stuff that's cheap among the variety of cheap fruit, I was awakened by men driving around in a decrepit Toyota pickup with the bed loaded down with fresh fruit almost every morning. "Tres pinas por un dollar. Veinte naranjas por un dollar" are phrases I'd normally love to hear, but this was over amplified bullhorn at sunrise. :) The pineapples were big, the oranges were tasty (but only orange on the inside) and bananas were about 5 cents (or less) each.

lassufu 29-09-2009 19:22

Such a very amazing link!
That's pretty good.
Thank you, this is good news for other visitors

Reality Check 30-09-2009 04:43

In the Eastern Carib PR, USVI and BVI fruits and veggies are availble and typically about 10 to 20% higher. Exceptions are bananas, limes and mango... they are typically less costly and if your lucky enough to have local friends... FREE!!!!

Most seem to come direct from Miami..... some of the local markets that serve the cruising boats have weekly deliveries and the selection can get low near the resupply date. Typically you can get better prices if you go into some of the larger town and almost always better price than the marina stores where you pay a premimun for convienance. In a few places you have local boats that will come along side to sell supplies... some just local things like fish and fruits and others have ice, beer, and the all important rum which is a great item for veggin types :whistling:

MarkJ 30-09-2009 05:46


Originally Posted by Homespun (Post 305251)
My wife is a vegan who eats almost exclusively fruits and veggies. She's not the type of vegan who eats tons of pasta, rice, beans, etc.

In a recent study 100% of Vegans ate meat when the choice was death.

Surprisingly enough a survey just conducted on this marina of people who have all been cruising for more that 1 year (everyone) - some 11 years, one 20 years but he is a bit sus - of all those people ALL eat a balanced diet including meat, carbohydrates, fat and protein.

So in answer to your concerns, just go cruising and you will find your life (and hers) becomes a whole lot easier! :)


Reality Check 30-09-2009 06:22


Originally Posted by MarkJ (Post 339524)

In a recent study 100% of Vegans ate meat when the choice was death.


So in answer to your concerns, just go cruising and you will find your life (and hers) becomes a whole lot easier! :)


LOVE THAT!!! Actually that is about what my mother did... she cooked it and we ate it or went hungry!

While I try to make special allowances for short term guest with special desires... a limit is reached at about 3 meals then Mom's influence takes over again:D

GordMay 30-09-2009 10:31


Originally Posted by MarkJ (Post 339524)
In a recent study 100% of Vegans ate meat when the choice was death...

I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain, just to become a vegetarian!

I'm not vegetarian because I love animals, I'm vegetarian because I don't like vegetables.

I follow a strict vegan diet. I eat only vegans.

If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?

Q. What do you call a militant vegan?
A. Lactose intolerant.

A vegetarian, a meat-eater, and a cannibal walk into a bar, the veg' orders a salad, the other orders a burger, then the bartender asks the cannibal "anything for you?"
To which he replies, "no thanks, i'll wait till they're done."

I was adding milk to my coffee when a vegan colleague said, "Do you know that milk belongs to a calf?"
To which I replied, "Relax, I already ate that calf for lunch."

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