Farm to Table (or Table to Farm)

With so much of this region’s economy focused ecotourism (to be explored in the next post), it seems to follow that Belizeans have a great respect for their environment.

At my hotel in Belize, they take the process one step further by composting. After my daily ritual of a morning cup of coffee, the used coffee grounds are combined with decaying plant matter, wriggling worms, and old fashioned ingenuity to produce nutrient-rich soil for the hotel’s on-site farm. This farm supplies many of the fresh fruits and vegetables at the resort’s restaurant.

Here, I learned about the process of cultivating a variety of young plants: papayas, beans, corn, tomatoes, and bananas. Most fruits and vegetables can thrive in Belize’s tropical climate. So, I visited Marie Sharp’s factory to follow the journey of one locally-grown fruit from farm to table.

Marie Sharp’s Hot Sauce is the end result of some basic family-farming and a little entrepreneurial spirit. Marie grew many different fruits and vegetables on her farm, including the super-hot habanero pepper. She started creating sauces and condiments, and what she couldn’t use she shared with her friends and neighbors. They were so impressed they encouraged her to start her own business selling the goods. Marie Sharp is now a local legend, and her spicy sauce is sold all over the world.

All the fruits and vegetables used at Marie Sharp’s are still locally grown, making this a true Belizean company. At most restaurants in Belize one can find her sauce sitting on the table next to the salt and pepper shakers.