Business

BAMSI partners with Poop Deck

The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) has partnered with one of Nassau’s fine dining establishments in a move to showcase the versatility and unique flavor profile of its Andros-grown produce. Offering these specialty items as part of their Thanksgiving feast and now incorporating them into the holiday and regular menu, the culinary staff at The Poop Deck restaurant at Sandyport, West Bay Street, provides diners with a distinctive experience focused on fresh, quality ingredients, bold flavors, bold textures and creative concepts.

Initially featured as part of the Rotary Club of Nassau’s annual Thanksgiving luncheon, the Poop Deck served up a warm purée of butternut squash, richly flavored with the decadent spices of curry and coconut and aromatic herbs such as ginger. Accompanying the savory dish was a salad of crisp, crunchy, vibrant greens, tossed with a burst of tangy red tomatoes, slivers of sweet carrots, cool curls of cucumber and the zestiest of onions, all caressed by a smooth vinaigrette of luscious Andros papaya. This is dining the BAMSI way.

These two Andros-infused starters balanced out the entrées of roasted turkey with seafood stuffing and cranberry sauce, island style baked ham with sweet potatoes, and roasted vegetables.

Proprietor of the West Bay Street eatery Frederick Lightbourn was excited about the opportunity to have fresh produce on his menu. The addition of BAMSI’s fare to his kitchen – lettuce, cucumber, butternut squash and papaya – means that he is able to say, like the fish he brings to the table on a daily basis, that his guests dine on the freshest fare available on the island.

“It’s great produce! Anything picked fresh today as opposed to being picked weeks ago in another country to sit on a shelf, then get on a truck and be driven to another location to sit on a boat before it arrives here, will be better. And because they are picked younger there’s no time for them to develop full flavor. The produce comes in super fresh from BAMSI and it’s a far better product.”

Newly installed BAMSI Chairman Stephen Turnquest said part of the institute’s focus is bringing to market the best quality items possible not only for the Bahamian public to enjoy from a taste perspective, but that will also support a healthy lifestyle. He noted that produce coming out of BAMSI’s research and tutorial farm, its aquaponics center and through its agricultural partners in Andros, have been grown using best practices inclusive of planting methods, irrigation and fertilization, and post-harvest procedures, to ensure the produce arrives in the best condition offering the highest quality nutrients and vitamins for the consumer.

“BAMSI’s goal has always been, in addition to driving down food imports into the country by enlarging the agricultural community, to grow the right variety of produce under the right conditions to bring about the richest possible harvest. And as a result of this focus, we’ve been able to make inroads in the Bahamian market – partnering with the top wholesale and retail grocers and now making connections with the best restaurants in New Providence,” Turnquest said.

In agreement with the sentiment, Lightbourn said that not only can consumers purchase BAMSI produce with confidence knowing that they are the freshest on the market – picked on a Wednesday, in stores on Saturday – consumers should also recognize that these items are also the healthiest fare available.

While consumers may have become numb to certain trigger words advertisers love to use to highlight their products – ‘fresh’ being one of them – the proof of the pudding is in the eating and BAMSI’s produce holds up to the taste test. According to Lightbourn, as he considered how to use the produce, such as the unsung hero – butternut squash – and what ingredients would complement the array of BAMSI items, he focused on bringing out and building on the best aspects of each vegetable.

“I was sitting down thinking about what works best with say, the squash, which is an unsung hero. Here, we had these lovely vegetables, which can be used in many different ways and I thought a soup is nice, it can be a little bit daring and exciting. And the papaya vinaigrette, there’s so much flavor inside that. It came out better than I expected. It adds an amazing bouquet of flavors on top of the salad – all with the fresh strips of papaya.”

As long as BAMSI is able to supply consistently, Lightbourn said, he is happy to find space for the produce on his menu. “We’ll definitely continue with the vinaigrette and we’re working on a dessert with the papaya and we’d also love to use some of your broccoli. We’re excited to delve into more of your products, I can’t wait to get into the livestock.”

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