• Farmer/Artists

    Local artists Luca & Christina Gasperi run ARTfarm, a small local vegetable farm and art gallery. Together with a small staff we grow a variety of salad greens, heirloom tomatoes, herbs, veggies, and tropical fruits. We welcome volunteers who want to learn about our organic growing methods.
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Monday Brushfire, Saturday Sweet Mix

The color contrast of a Valencia Pride mango, with a gradation of hot pink to a warm yellow, stands out atop a pile of green and orange mangoes.

Valencia Pride mangoes are a “Technicolor sunset” hue.

Saturday, 10am – 12 noon: Sweet salad mix, limited amounts of microgreens, dragonfruit, passionfruit, papaya, mint and lemongrass. From our partners we have a varied selection of top mangoes including Nam Doc Mai, Madame Francis, Valencia Pride and Haitian Kidney from Dennis Nash, Viequen Butterball mangoes from Tita, and vegan coconut ice cream from I-Sha.

 

We heard you could smell it in Frederiksted. Dozens of acres of bull pasture that are part of UVI’s Senepol cattle operation burned early Monday morning, right across the road from ARTfarm. The fire was started by vandals who stripped a stolen pickup truck and then set it on fire halfway up Spring Gut Road’s south side at 3 AM.

Looking north from the road near the ARTfarm entrance, Monday's reignited brushfire is seen here progressing west. Note the blackened hillside east of the smoke.

Looking north from the road near the ARTfarm entrance, Monday’s reignited brushfire is seen here progressing west. Note the blackened hillside east of the smoke.

The blaze quickly spread west across the arid pasture. The VI Fire Service was on the scene by 3:10 AM and managed to extinguish most of the blaze by around 7:30 AM. It reignited soon after and burned all the way to Many Paws Road with flames up to 20′ visible from the South Shore Road, destroying more pasture forage, threatening nearby homes and our neighbor’s sheep pastures. VIFS returned and battled the brushfire again, putting it out again with the assistance of a sudden and very welcomed rain shower that arrived about an hour later.

Can you spot? A fire truck surrounded north and south by blazing pastures? Fire crawling up the hill toward houses? Two Senepol bulls being pushed into the next pasture by UVI cattlemen? A patch of flames much closer to the bulls? At times the grey and yellow smoke was so thick you could not see to move a vehicle.

Can you spot? A fire truck surrounded north and south by blazing pastures? Fire crawling up the hill toward houses? Two Senepol bulls being pushed into the next pasture by UVI cattlemen? A patch of flames much closer to the bulls? At times the grey and yellow smoke was so thick you could not see to move a vehicle.

A clearer image of the firetruck up in the bush. A team of firefighters were working to extinguish the north head of the fire that was moving toward homes up the hill.

A clearer image of the firetruck up in the bush. A team of firefighters were working to extinguish the north head of the fire that was moving toward homes up the hill.

Arriving just behind this 3,000 gallon pumper truck: well-timed backup from Mother Nature. The dark clouds approaching from the east brought a brief but heavy rainshower that helped to extinguish the blazing pastures.

Arriving just behind this 3,000 gallon pumper truck: well-timed backup from Mother Nature. The dark clouds approaching from the east brought a brief but heavy rainshower that helped to extinguish the blazing pastures.

Madame Francis and Butterball Mangoes!

ARTfarm Saturday: 10am – 12 noon. Mangoes like crazy today! Summer solstice arrives on Sunday, hopefully dragging some rain clouds with it for Father’s Day! Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there. From the farm this morning: Small amounts of sweet mix and microgreens, a few pineapples and papayas, lots of passionfruit, fresh mint, Italian basil, garlic chives and lemongrass. Don’t forget the lemongrass – steep in hot water to make a very cooling and slightly sweet, refreshing brew to keep in the fridge!

From our partners: vegan ice cream from I-Sha in a rainbow of flavors, honey from Errol, and lots of beautiful mangoes, including Viequan Butterballs from Tita and Nam Doc Mai and Madame Francis from Dennis Nash. Farmer Luca, a mango connoisseur, claims that the VBs have even less fiber than the buttery  NDMs. Their velvety texture is a triumph of mango husbandry! Enjoy mangoes now, as the drought may possibly make this a historically short mango season.IMG_9559IMG_9561IMG_9560

Still pretty dry out here… We’ve heard some farmers remark that we are in a fifteen-year drought (meaning that it has not been this dry since after Hurricane Hugo – not that it will last fifteen years). Two years ago at this time of year we were able to grow a lot more summer crops. We know it has been an extended campaign, but please keep rain dancing! Your efforts have brought a few decent showers to the farm, but not enough to yet quench the thirst of the rock-hard topsoil. So keep on getting your groove on if you love local food!

ARTfarm Miracle Mangoes

ARTfarm is open Saturdays only (until it starts raining again), 10–12 noon today. We’re on the South Shore Road just east of the Ha’Penny Beach entrance. Fresh today: sweet salad mix, microgreens, bunched arugula, Ethiopian kale, garlic chives, recao, mint, bananas and passionfruit.

From our partners we have homegrown honey from Errol, vegan coconut-based ice creams in local fruit flavors from I-Sha, and miraculous mangoes from Tita. These mangoes are so fiberless and sweet that you can literally eat them out of the half like a melon with a spoon. They have an almost honey-like flavor. Incredible in any mango recipe or simply consumed fresh.

A yellow mango on a blue plate with a knife.

1. Select your mango.

A yellow mango halved on a blue plate.

2. Slice your mango lengthwise, skimming your knife along the flat mango pit within.

A yellow mango half on a blue plate has a spoon in it, with a round portion of mango flesh spooned out of the half.

3. Scoop out the perfect sized bite and enjoy. (This particular variety of mango is unusually fiberless!)

We want to acknowledge all the recent graduates! This is the time of year to celebrate the culmination of a lot of hard work. Congratulations to all those who have passed finals, completed performances, received accolades, and progressed in some large or small way. Keep on growing!

Jurassic Fruit, Fresh Sweet Salad!

Two hot pink dragonfruits ripen on a green, succulent spiny vine during the dry season.

The strange and wonderful pitaya, or dragonfruit, grows at the end of a primitive, spiny climbing vine. Early summer is typically the season for the dragonfruits to flower and ripen.

Pitaya, also known as dragonfruit, has one of the most strange and dramatic presentations of all the crops we can think of.

Today’s haul: Loads of tender sweet salad mix, Ethiopian kale, bunched arugula, mint, lemongrass, Italian basil, rosemary, zinnia flowers, a few pineapples, a few passionfruit, and red fleshed dragonfruit!

A trug full of ripe hot pink dragonfruit is photobombed by a pineapple and a magenta T-rex puppet.

Dragon photo-bombing the dragonfruit. We also have pineapples and passionfruit today for your inner fruit monster! OM NOM NOM NOM

From our partners we have raw local honey from Errol and vegan ice cream from I-Sha.

That’s 10 AM to 12 noon today, folks! ARTfarm is currently open just once a week during this drought.

ARTfarm Saturday: Back in action! 10am!

Slight drops in temperature combined with some much-needed but brief rain showers have blessed us with some beautiful greens to share this morning! 10 AM – 12 noon: Sweet salad mix, baby arugula, baby spicy/young lettuce mix, microgreens, a few tomatoes, pineapples, bananas, Ethiopian kale, Italian basil, scallions, garlic chives, mint, and zinnia flowers. From our partner food makers we have I-Sha’s vegan ice cream in beet-ginger, baobab, eggfruit and other flavors; and Errol’s beautiful raw local honey.

Last night’s Caribbean Dance performance pushed out so much incredible positive energy into the audience that at least 17 people exploded spontaneously with love! Tonight’s final show starts at 7:30pm at the theater at Complex. If you are not a ticket holder, allow a little extra time at the box office to chat with your neighbors! Concessions are available during intermission including local drinks and veggie pates. We encourage you to come out and support the arts! The show is a mix of uniquely Caribbean ideas, pop-culture references, and so much more!

Heather attended the show last night, and you can see that she is still smiling!

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Saturday Farmstand, Pineapples, Schedule Change, Dance!

More pineapples today! ARTfarm pineapples are ridiculously sweet this year, maybe because of all the dry weather. June seems to be our pineapple month!

More pineapples today! ARTfarm pineapples are ridiculously sweet this year, maybe because of all the dry weather. June seems to be our pineapple month!

Open 10 AM – 12 noon on South Shore Rd. this morning, ARTfarm has, organically grown for you: Salad mix, microgreens, small quantities of pineapples, tomatoes, and cucumbers. We have beets, scallions, mature bunched arugula, Ethiopian kale, Italian basil, mint, zinnia flowers, local honey from Errol Chichester, and admission/raffle tickets for the Caribbean Dance show next weekend! No Wednesday stand this coming week, so come out to the farm today…

Our adopted border collies, Ginger and Spice, vigilantly patrol the pineapple gardens at this time of year to discourage rats. We've seen these athletic dogs leap all the way over the row of spiny plants during the hunt. This is a viable and much more entertaining alternative to poisons for controlling crop pests on an organic farm. During dry times there is increased pressure from all pests on farm crops and resources.

Our adopted border collies, Ginger and Spice, vigilantly patrol the pineapple gardens at this time of year to discourage rats. We’ve seen these athletic dogs leap all the way over the row of spiny plants during the hunt. This is a viable and much more entertaining alternative to poisons for controlling crop pests on an organic farm. During dry times there is increased pressure from all pests on farm crops and resources.

We are changing our schedule to reflect the weather patterns. The drought is really affecting our ability to grow crops at this point. It also seems like a natural pause to tackle some big farm projects we’ve been wanting to get to. So, we have decided to curtail our Wednesday farmstands until we get some rain or production picks up again. We will be open today and next Saturday as well, and we will play it by ear after that. Mango season is coming, but it also may be a bit delayed by the dry spell we are all in.

Young dancers preparing for the annual show in the Caribbean Dance studio in Christiansted. Support the arts on St. Croix!

Young dancers preparing for the annual show in the Caribbean Dance studio in Christiansted. Support the arts on St. Croix!

The Caribbean Dance School‘s 38th annual performance is Friday, May 29 and Saturday, May 30 at Complex (the high school across from the UVI campus). We have tickets ($15 donation, includes entry into raffle for plane tickets and more) available at the farmstand or you can purchase them at the door! Show time is 7:30 PM. There are adorable tiny ballerinas in the show but also a number of accomplished student and professional dancers — the show is family-friendly and highly entertaining! The closing number in the show features rousing carnival music and traditional calypso dancers, and includes over 30% of the ARTfarm workforce! So come see your farmers in action and support all our local talent in the arts! The Caribbean Dance School and Company is an important cultural institution in the Virgin Islands, founded in 1977 to tour the world and share our island culture, and is still operated by the original artistic directors! It is also an enduring nonprofit organization engaging thousands of students over the years, promoting health, self-esteem, and self discipline. The arts are an important and vibrant part of Virgin Islands culture, help improve our communities in countless ways, and are woefully underfunded. Please come out and show the students you care.

Plus, you’ll get great inspiration for choreographing your own rain dance! ;)

 

SOLD OUT!

Sorry folks, but what little we had today is sold out. We’ll see you Saturday, 10am – 12 noon. Thanks for your support! Pray for rain!

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