In the country of Belize, food is a common topic right now between groups trying to make sure people do not go hungry and those who are trying to navigate personal grocery shopping in a COVID world. On Ambergris, I know I am not the only one who does not like it that they do not get to pick their fruit. We deal with it; just learning I was not alone made me instantly let it go. Ordering vegetables online from the mainland, I never think twice about what is being picked and sent fresh for me – I love it all.
San Pedro Hot Meals
With the state of things, turning instantly upsidedown, many people were thinking twice about how they were going to eat. Maresha Reid assisted by Jason Gilbertson stepped up to save the day by starting San Pedro Hot Meals (SPHM). A voluntary COVID-19 feeding program on Ambergris Caye that cooks a hot meal for those who do not have adequate facilities for cooking or just need some extra help getting a nutritious meal. This food effort is run out of Maresha’s popular north Ambergris Caye restaurant, Pirates Treasure. When you are allowed back on the island, stop by for their famous lionfish – I tried it; it’s delicious.
In the beginning, SP Hot Meals was planning to serve 120 people a hot lunch three times a week. They have well surpassed that and are up to 350 or so per meal. To date, SPHM has served well over 6000 hot tasty lunches on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to those in need. Areas being served are San Mateo, Boca Del Rio, San Juan, San Pedrito, and DFC. There are still people on a waiting list and factoring in time before things get back to anywhere near normal, numbers will continue growing.
This well-organized effort could use some ongoing help to sustain the operation and work on eliminating their waiting list. Some of you may not realize just what is involved in feeding that many people at once. Imagine cooking meals in the “Jolly Green Giant” sized pots or filling that many containers (pictured below) at once. And delivery on top of it. Feeding program images courtesy of SPHM. They are doing incredible work.
If you are in a position to help with food and supplies, they need lots, and many people will be extremely grateful you helped. Being hungry during a pandemic is no fun, and a nice home-cooked meal with a smile under the delivery guys mask is a huge comfort. I felt it when they dropped off my SPHM fundraiser smoked pork slaw and beans on Sunday afternoon, and boy was it tasty. It was a perfect meal for my best TV night – 90-day Fiance 😀
Items required: poultry, beef, rice, beans, fresh veggies, to-go plates, soup containers, cleaning products, gasoline donations. These can all be delivered to Pirates Treasure Restaurant 1/2 mile north of the bridge on the west side of the street. Please call first, 665-5794, to make sure someone will be there.
Three Cheers For The Volunteers
The volunteers deserve three cheers and a mini spa vacation when all this is done. This amazing group teamed up and are successfully helping many from slipping through the cracks. At a time like this food is love, providing heartful nutritious meals gives people hope they will be safe and makes them feel loved. The following crew makes this Ambergris Caye COVID-19 feeding program run like a well-oiled machine.
Headed by Maresha Reid (Owner of Pirates Treasure Restaurant & Bar and Pirates at Secret Beach) along with Jason Gilbertson. Main volunteers include Geovanni Ramos (Owner Bamboo Fence Bar at Secret Beach), Marina Espinoza (Supervisor of Pirates Secret Beach), Janet Williams (Book Keeper+ other of both Pirates), Emilio “Fluffy” Rodriguez (Waiter Pirates Secret Beach), James Johnston (Bartender Pirates Secret Beach), Shaggy Lisbey (Bartender Pirate’s Treasure Restaurant), A.B (Chef at Bamboo Fence Secret Beach), Annabel Haylock (Secretary), Raul Rodriguez (Bartender Dive Bar), Benji Nicole (Secret Beach Handy Man), Shanine “Christy” Gentle & Andrea, Mr. “Goyito” Cobb and Helper “Joe”, Christopher Burkey and Marlon Calderon. Thanks also go to everyone else who randomly drops in to lend a hand. Please note these pics are from before the mandatory mask rule.
A Special Thank You
A heartfelt thanks from the San Pedro Hot Meals COVID-19 feeding program organizers and community to all donors who have helped this ongoing effort.
Erick Trackman, Mrs. Patricia & Mr. Eric Fairbanks, Puerto Secreto Foundation, The San Pedro Chinese Association, Ted Sprague, Dusty Sprague and Families, Mr. Tom Balbierz & Family, Vintage Gringo-Justin Lambert, Cobb’s Golf Cart Rental –Greg Cobb, El Patio Tortilla Factory, Ak’Bol Yoga Retreat & Eco Resort, Super Buy Supermarket, John, Rose & Ziggy East, Ms. Janice Morningstar, Mrs. Debbie Drury Tyrone & Mr. Floyd Tyrone, Hermanos Hardware, Ms. Marie Carroll, Dawn Schick & Capt. Dave Mclean, Beach Basket-Mike Wixon, Mrs. Kimberly Wylie, Mayan Man, Mrs. Mickey & Mr. Ed Sparks, Mangata Villas-Serena Musil, Pirate Villas-Jason, Gilbertson, La Familia Tortelleria, Don Luis (Veggie Shop across from Superbuy), Mrs. Patty Velez and Mr. Ramon Jacquez, Alia Foundation, Gotay’s Fruit Shop, Mrs. Jodie and Mr. Scott Harnish, Mr. Ruben Navidad, Lino’s Meat Shop, Erica & Kevin Barker, Marbucks – Mr. Rob & Mrs. Mar, Quality Chicken, Hope Haven, Remax Foundation, Mr. Emmet Clever, Caye Mart, Tim Dudley, Mr. Glenn Shwendinger, Ambar Ayala, Caribbean Chicken Ltd, The Truck Stop, Isaias Orellano, Popular Bakery, and Heaven’s Veggie Shop.
Another Way To Help
If you want to help without leaving the house or being in-country, you can do so easily by visiting the San Pedro Hot Meals Gofundme page.
Farm Fresh Produce
Now for some shopping help for those who want an easy to order anytime option. Kunahmul Organics is great you can order anytime and have it picked, packed, processed and put on a next available plane. Here is the list for what’s available for delivery by Tropic Cargo from Kunahmul Organics on the mainland this week.
Vegetables and fruits: Malabar spinach 225g $7.50, Toscano kale 1/2lb $6.00, bok choi baby 1/2lb $5.00, mustard greens 1/2lb $5.00, collard greens 1/2lb $5.00, okra red/green 230g $4.50, Swiss chard 1/2lb $7.50, arugula 85g $4.00, assorted hot peppers 230g $4.50, sweet Thai basil 25g $4.00, Purple basil 25g $4.00, Lemon Basil 25g $4.00, Genovese Basil 25g $4.00, Mint 30g $4.50, oregano 30g $4.50, lemon balm 30g $4.00, thyme 30g $4.50, culantro 45g $4.00, kennikura edible flowers 20g $4.00, moringa flowers 20g $4.00, Amy’s salad mix 250g $10.00, green lettuce 250g $10.00, red lettuce 250g $10.00, romaine lettuce 280g $10.00, summer squash 1lb $5.00, eEggplant medley 230g $4.50, turmeric 230g $5.00, heirloom tomatoes $4 per pack (230g), purple plum tomatoes $4 per pack (230g), Yellow pear tomatoes $4 per pack (230g), baby cucumbers 230g $3.00, Pineapple $1.50 p/p, Callaloo $5.00 per 1/2 lb, Moringa Drumsticks $8.00 per 1/2 lb, Mexican sweet peppers $3.00 per 1/2 lb
Microgreens: Amaranth(30g), Radish (50g), Mild or Spicy Mix, Cressida Cress(30g) $10.00 each.
You can email Pandora at email@example.com or WhatsApp +501-610-5115 and place your custom order, or if you like surprises, ask for your $50 or $30 tacogirl vegetable box. *Note sometimes their internet goes in and out. In this case, texting or calling can be the best way to reach them if you do not hear back quickly about your order. I also get an occasional treat when you order mentioning my blog. Farm pics courtesy of Pandora.
About Kunahmul Organics Farm
Along with this week’s vegetable list, I asked Pandora to fill me in about the farm so those of you who shop there know who is picking and packing your order.
In case you are wondering, Kunahmul is Mayan for “Love nest.” I think it is very suitable as those vegetables definitely carry something good beyond vitamins. If you have ever watched the movie “Like Water for Chocolate” you will know what I mean. The energy of the person tending to or cooking your food is important – that includes yourself.
As for the Kunahmul gang they have been together a while, both Joel and Elías were trained by Johnathan and his wife Amy when they started the field early in 2017. Florencio worked with Pandora in her ornamental plant business (Pandora’s Windowbox Nursery) for 21 years and now works at Kunahmul. Before moving to the farm a year ago, Victor also worked for PWN for three years.
As for Pandora, here is her story:
After my husband finished his studies abroad, we decided to make the farm our permanent home in 1982. The farm has been in my husband’s family since 1940. It was more like a weekend holiday retreat. It had no electricity, and everything was abandoned. Although it was only 22 miles from the city and on the old Northern Hwy, back then, it seemed like we were miles from anywhere…quite a dramatic change for this London City girl! We found lots to do. I had to learn to use a scrubbing board and carry buckets of water to wash our clothes. We had no phone. We often bathed in the “pond .” Our eldest, Gilly, was 3. I had him in Florida with a midwife… I love midwives. Johnathan was born in 1986. When I went into labor with Johnathan, the midwife was stranded on the Caye, so he was born at the hospital. It was a totally different experience. He is the only one in my husband’s family born and raised entirely on the farm. Electricity arrived in 2000. In a way, Amy and I have much in common. She is a Toronto City girl…we both became farm girls!!!
Pics from left to right: Joel harvesting red/green okra & picking lettuce. Then Florencio loading the truck. He is also the one who calls customers and informs them that their produce is on its way. Stay tuned for the processing room and more staff pictures.
While I knew I was getting flowers, I did not exactly know what. Thanks for my surprise mix Pandora, I loved the selection. I decided to make this batch one giant bunch and put it beside my bamboo on the kitchen table. Of course, I had fun in the process – playing with my squishy ninjas in the Belize jungle 😀
Thanks also goes out to Charles Burry for sponsoring a post on tacogirl.com, and Madison Stone for the gold asian inspired wine bottle cover. I used a can of chickpeas to plump her up and it fit in perfect with my flower arrangement.