This article was excerpted from the debut issue of our monthly community newspaper, the Camana Bay Times, available for collection throughout the Town Centre, including the Camana Bay Visitor Centre.
Farmer Patrick Panton has been a familiar face at Camana Bay, selling his fruits, vegetables, chickens, eggs and seafood there on Wednesdays and Saturday mornings since 2010. He’s a busy guy, but the Camana Bay Times pulled him aside for five minutes of questions.
CBT: Patrick, what’s your favourite vegetable to grow and sell?
PP: My favourite one to grow, hands down, is the tomato. It’s a fruit for every meal, it’s the moneymaker, it’s the market driver and I enjoy them thoroughly. People are happy to see them when they’re finally in season and I’m more than happy to sell them!
CBT: What’s one vegetable that you wish you could grow in Cayman but can’t?
PP: For their popularity, yellow squash and zucchini. It just won’t grow here. We were doing a late-summer Middle Eastern variety called Alexandria, which tends to be a larger zucchini type. It has a nice nutty flavour, like the green zucchini, but we didn’t do well with it here. I’m sure there’s a variety or some kind of chemical trick we don’t know about somewhere, and we haven’t given up.
CBT: How would you describe your farming style?
PP: Formerly rustic, but striving to improve techniques all the time, steering clear of relying on chemicals – whatever we can do to make things bigger, better and more profitable without the chemical thing. And we love colour – that’s not by accident, it’s by design.
CBT: What’s the most frustrating thing about what you do?
PP: The administration of it all. Farming is frustrating, period; there’s no guarantees and that’s just the way it is, especially when you’re farming outdoors. But the admin and always having to beg for a work permit frustrates me to no end.
CBT: What is different about the Camana Bay market compared to other markets you attend?
PP: Other than I love the venue, I think it’s a great diversity of clientele here and that’s special because we offer diversity.