Eating Local On Paradise Island, Bahamas

Dine at The Ocean Club resort sourced ingredients from Holey Farm, where owner Maria-Theresa Kemp practices extreme gardening to overcome the island’s challenging terrain.
 

Dune at The Ocean Club resort on Paradise Island, photo by Christian Horan/Four Seasons

Dune at The Ocean Club resort on Paradise Island, photo by Christian Horan/Four Seasons

I did a double-take at the velvety-thick arugula leaves in my salad; punchy with a surprisingly clean finish, they were spectacular tossed with cleaved chunks of mango, shaved fennel and meaty Kalamata olives. When it comes to fresh food, many choose local. When Michelin-starred chef-restauranteur Jean-Georges Vongerichten opened Dune at The Ocean Club resort on Paradise Island, the concept of sourcing locally became a reality in the Bahamas.

The unique produce comes from Holey Farm and its owner Maria-Theresa Kemp, said Vongerichten as he watched my reaction to each bite. “Every single herb [she] grows, has five times the flavour,” he said. Kemp practices extreme gardening to overcome the island’s challenging terrain and scorching year-round heat, using a traditional Bahamian technique of cultivating vegetables in mineral-rich volcanic soils tucked into limestone pockets. Her tiny patches of 50-plus different herbs and heirloom and leafy greens grow out like weeds. Naturally shaded by subtropical fruit trees, the prized produce is harvested-to-order and served hours later while still at peak freshness.

 

[This story appears in the December 2018 issue of WestJet Magazine]