Breadfruit grows in the summer months and can be harvested until May. Bananas are prolific and there are different varieties. The islanders grow sweet potatoes. All islanders have vegetable gardens and grow the usual crops such as pumpkins, cabbages, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers etc. Small pineapple gardens are seen around the island. Limes and mandarins grow here too. Fruits include prolific coconuts, pawpaw and many pasionfruit vines.
Do islanders still process sugar cane and arrowroot flour?
I have heard that they do this as a community project occasionally. As yet this year they have not done it in the eight months that I have lived here. I suspect that two traditional crops such as sugar cane for making molasses and arrowroot for making arrowroot flour will slowly die out as it becomes more convenient to order flour and sugar on the supply ship. Many households have containers of molasses in their cupboards and make sticky popcorn balls as a treat to sell on market days.
Do you buy fruit and vegetables from the locals?
Once a month there is a market day at the Public Square. This is an opportunity to buy and sell surplus vegetables and fruit. Visiting yachtsmen can arrange to buy a box of vegetables and freshly baked homemade bread.
What can you buy at Market Days?
Market days are like an open air flea market. It is held in the public square. Anyone can buy and sell surplus goods of any type. Used clothing and household items, vegetables, fresh fish, eggs, clothing etc are all sold here. There is an atmosphere a bit like a school fair. Usually the big barbeque will be fired up by the men and fish and chips are cooked and sold. A plateful is NZ $6.00
Is the soil heavy and hard to dig? Do you have a hose?
The soil is volcanic. At the top of the island there are many gardens maintained by the islanders. Yes it can be difficult to dig. I have dug extra sand and seaweed into my vegetable garden and mulched it to keep moisture in. The soil around the school house is heavy clay. Yes, we have a hose but we use tank water sparingly. In the hot dry times we save the water from the shower and washing machine to use on the plants.