Post-Hurricane Irma – ARTfarm (temporarily) closed: St. Croix USVI Is Open For Business!

Long term crops include ginger and turmeric, which was planted in April. Even when we are closed, farming is a constant.

ARTfarm is on our annual fall hiatus for the next few weeks as we prepare the farm for the upcoming growing season and keep a watchful eye on the weather satellites for more storms that could come our way between now and November. Thanks to all our fantastic customers for your continued support of our family. We plan to reopen the farmstand, growing season permitting, in October/November.

We will post again soon with updated information on donating to relief efforts. While this acute phase is a crucial time, there will be ongoing efforts to recover that will take months if not years. We appreciate the outpouring of love and support from across the islands and globe for our well-being during the storm. 

Please, spread the word that St. Croix is alive and well after Hurricane Irma. Spread the amazing stories of our USVI community coming together selflessly to provide relief efforts. Encourage your friends and family to come and visit St. Croix and take a vacation here. Part of the recovery process is keeping our economy going as we assist St. Thomas and St. John and our other sister islands to get back on their feet as well. St. Croix is open for business! Thank you!

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Donating To Hurricane Relief Saturday 

UPDATE 9/9/2017: Yvette Browne at Sejah Farm is coordinating St. Croix farmer/gardener/orchard produce donations. You can drop off farm produce, fresh fruit (nothing too too ripe or that needs refrigeration, of course) etc. She will be packing family sized boxes for the relief boats going over. Feel free to drop in and bring produce between 5 AM and 7 PM, and/or volunteer to help pack boxes, bring them to the docks etc.

Hurricane Irma as it was bearing down on the Virgin Islands and neighboring islands, Wednesday September 6th. St. Croix was mostly spared completely while St. Thomas, St. John, the BVIs and surrounding Leeward Islands suffered Hugo-like or worse devastation.

The ARTfarm Saturday morning farmstand will be CLOSED tomorrow, September 9th. We are planning to donate our available produce or equivalent cash to Hurricane Irma relief efforts, either here on island at one of our community shelters, or via one of the citizen-organized ‘Crucian navy’ ships that have been making relief supply runs to St. Thomas and St. John, where devastation is widespread and communication very limited. Please, get involved. Here’s a couple of ways to help:

DONATE FAMILY ITEMS:

The Holley family are working in contact with Tots on the Rocks, a 1,700+ member family FB group for STT/STJ, to coordinate an effort for babies/ kids clothes/ necessities. They will be accepting donations at SEABORNE HANGER IN C’STED HARBOR this Saturday, starting at 8am.

Family Items of need:

Diapers/Wipes

Onesies

Good condition kids clothes for all ages

Distilled water

Good condition or new toys for all ages

Baby food/Formula/Bottles

Coloring books/ crayons

Bug repellent

Battery fans

Batteries

Mosquito nets 

Hand sanitizer

This is not an attempt to purge to rid of unwanted items. Please consider the condition of the items you want to donate.

They are still working on logistics with Caribbean Sea Adventures and Seaborne Airlines to get the items over there. Please know we need to support our Rock Moms. Anything helps. 

So thankful our families are all safe here in St. Croix and have an incredible community willing to help our sister islands. Now is the time to come together! #virginislandsstrong

DONATE RELIEF SUPPLIES:

Caribbean Sea Adventures has been collecting any and all kinds of relief donations at their Christiansted shop at 59 Kings Wharf between 8am and 5pm daily. They have been sending their tour boats over to our sister islands with supplies. Sarah Ridgway has also set up a go-fund-me account to purchase additional relief supplies and they have raised nearly $60,000 so far in the relief efforts for St. John and St. Thomas. https://www.gofundme.com/irma-relief-for-our-sister-islands

Seaborne Airlines is establishing a charity program: 9-08-17 SEABORNE CARES—RELIEF EFFORTS AND DONATIONS. “To all our customers and community members across the Caribbean, we appreciate all your calls and requests to provide relief to our Caribbean neighbors. Seaborne Airlines is working on reestablishing our operation for the movement of passengers along with monitoring Hurricane Jose for a possible impact on our network in the next few days. 

We are working on activating our Seaborne Cares program to establish relief flights, once authorities grant us permission and we are secure to land. Initial flights will primarily be to assist our employees at our destinations that have lost everything, including their homes. 

Once we have rescued our employees, we will be delivering supplies to US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Antigua, and St. Maarten. We will be collecting supplies of water, canned food, medicines and first aid kits. We will work with appropriate authorities to distribute in the stations affected as our flight loads permit.

We will be accepting donations until September 17 from 10:00 am until 4:00 PM

Collection center USVI (St. Croix): Seaborne Airlines Seaplane Base, 1210 Watergut (Christiansted Harbor at the west end of the boardwalk)

Due to security reasons, we request all donations be brought in good condition boxes —not sealed and ready for inspection.

We thank all for your assistance during this tough times of our Caribbean neighbors. Together we stand strong!”

Post Hurricane Irma

Just a quick note to let everyone know we are all OK at the ARTfarm. Thanks everyone for sending your positive vibes and prayers for our island. Please continue to support folks who suffered much worst damage in St. Thomas, Saint John, and the Leeward Islands. And for those still in the path of this storm as it heads west northwest.

On our hurricane farm wish list would be the loan of a generator for a few days so we can run our pump to water the farm. Two of our generators failed and the backup generator also failed. Also, we are in need of freshly collected dragonfruit pollen for tonight at 8:30. We know that one’s a long shot!

For safekeeping we put our prize turkey hen in one of the storage container trailers Tuesday night as the storm approached, and she laid an egg for us. Today we are on the seventh or eighth truckload so far to remove lots of large debris from trees, but the farm itself has sustained very little damage and only received about an inch of rain. We will post if we can open on Saturday. With Hurricane Jose brushing us on Sunday, we will wait and see. Stay tuned.

Saturday before Irma Farmstand

Hope everyone is prepping for houseguests: Hurricane Irma arrives middle of next week and the rest of the named storm season after she goes. This past Wednesday was our last weekday farmstand for the season, we’ll just be open Saturday mornings 10am–12noon for a few more weeks until we run out of fruit! (Depending on the severity of the incoming weather, this may be the swift end of the fruit season.) Thanks everyone for a fantastic season.

For Saturday morning: Loads of sweet potato, bunched sweet potato greens, the last of our pumpkin, Italian basil, garlic chives, recao, lemongrass, rosemary, papaya, a few dragonfruit, and from our partners we have ripe avocado from Tita and fresh local goat cheese from Fiddlewood Farm!

Everybody stay positive, stay safe and stay dry.

Last Wednesday 3-5:30pm

Green herons love to nest and hunt in the extensive tree cover and ponds we have around our farm. They eat insects and lizards, have a strange set of croaking sounds, and an elegant sweeping flight pattern. Green Heron in Goose Garden. Gouache on paper, 2017.

Well friends, we have made it through this long steamy summer. Kids are headed back to school and we are headed into our temporary farm hibernation phase. We’ll still be open on Saturdays for a bit as we’ve got lots of dragonfruit coming, and avocado. But it has been very quiet here at the farm. 

Harvested for you for Wednesday afternoon: Lots of sweet potatoes, papaya, dragonfruit, bunched arugula, sweet potato greens, garlic chives, Italian basil, recao, lemongrass, parsley and loads of pineapple slips and native trees. 

From our partners we have avocados from Tita and goat cheese from Fiddlewood Farm!

Our injured ram is on the mend. We’re keeping a close eye on him but he seems to be doing a little better. The feral dogs responsible have still not been trapped but we are working with other farmers in the area to try to catch them. 

Saturday at ARTfarm, 10am – 12 noon

Harvested for you, for Saturday: Lots of sweet potatoes, sweet potato greens, bunched arugula, pumpkin, seasoning peppers, garlic chives, parsley, rosemary, lemongrass, papaya, a few dragonfruit. 

From our partner farmers we have beautiful local mild goat cheese from Fiddlewood Farm and hopefully we will also have avocados from Tita!

Pet owners who need unsupervised off-leash time for their pets can safely contain them in permanent or portable fencing. The tamest and sweetest of house pets can maim, injure and kill livestock.

The number one problem for livestock farmers on St. Croix is feral dog attacks. Even dogs as small as 10 to 30 pounds can wreak havoc, gravely stress and injure, and even kill a turkey, chicken, sheep or goat. Early Thursday morning a pack of three small dogs slipped through a woven-wire fence into the paddock where our rams were grazing. The dogs inflicted deep, painful, severe bite wounds on the face, neck and legs of one of the rams, who has lost a lot of blood and has been in a state of shock. We treated him with medication and palliative care and further increased the fence security for the other rams. So far we have been unable to trap the dogs responsible and have had three stressful sleepless nights protecting our livestock as the pack continues to roam widely across and around the four farms in this area. 

All this to say, NEVER abandon a dog or cat.  Please instead find them a responsible home or release them to the animal shelter. It is kinder to ALL animals to do so. Stray animals often injure and kill other wild and domestic animals, only compounding the misery from overpopulation. It’s sadly true that the shelter sometimes has to euthanize unadopted animals, but by releasing animals into the ‘wild’ instead of bringing them to the shelter, it is much less likely that they will ever be adopted (they can become untame-able and can contract heartworm, injuries other health issues) and in the meantime they may be hurting or killing yet more animals, acquiring and spreading disease or injury, or even breeding. 

Do not let pet animals roam off your property – keep them indoors, on a leash, or use a secure fence and train your pets to respect it. Never assume that your ‘gentle beloved house pet would never’ wander quite far, join with other animals, and act instinctively and violently when it is loose away from you and in the presence of prey animals such as poultry or sheep. A pet animal caught injuring livestock may be fatally injured and the pet owner held liable for damages. Most pet owners would be quite surprised and shocked to see the instinctive behaviors their pet is readily capable of.

Please, support the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center. We thank the staff there and all the other animal lovers on St. Croix who work hard to recover feral dogs and cats from the bush or the streets, and find them homes. 

ARTfarm Is-it-really-late-August Wednesday 3-5:30pm

Flamboyant trees are blooming on the farm.

Summer is gliding along. Here’s the afternoon farmstand lineup: Lots of sweet potatoes, sweet potato greens, garlic chives, rosemary, lemongrass, papaya, dragonfruit. And avocados from Tita! 

It’s hot out there folks. Drink water (or bush tea), lower your expectations and hit the beach!

Love, ARTfarm

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