78.5 F
Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
HomeNewsLocal newsAgrifest Celebrates Crucian Culture

Agrifest Celebrates Crucian Culture

People crowd across the entry bridge to the food booths and other delights as the first day of AgriFest goes into high gear. (Linda Morland photo)
People crowd across the entry bridge to the food booths and other delights as the first day of AgriFest goes into high gear. (Linda Morland photo)

There is something to delight every man, woman and child at the 48th annual Virgin Islands Agriculture and Food Fair, called Agrifest, which opened Saturday and concludes Monday at the Rudolph Schulterbrandt Agricultural Complex on St. Croix.

On Saturday, Gov. Albert Bryan and other government officials officially opened the fair and announced Henry Schuster as the Livestock Farmer of the Year and Charles Burton the Crop Farmer of the Year.

This year’s three-day event honors the late Audrey O. Browne, who worked at the Department of Agriculture for many years, always eager to help with a smile on her face. She was the go-to person at the fair.

On Sunday, pastor Walton Frederick of the Frederiksted Moravian Church led several dozen people in services and hymns in the morning.

Positive Nelson, the nominee for commissioner of Agriculture, and former Sen Alicia 'Chucky' Hansen, share a laugh at the Agrifest. (Linda Morland photo)
Positive Nelson, the nominee for commissioner of Agriculture, and former Sen Alicia ‘Chucky’ Hansen, share a laugh at the Agrifest. (Linda Morland photo)
Advertising (skip)

The first things to see at the fair are the vendor booths lining the walkway, with friendly faces selling their wares. Visitors enjoy clothing choices for men, women and children, with African, South American or Asian themes and fabrics. Booths with hand crafted leather goods, custom made T-shirts, fine woven baskets and locally made silver and gold jewelry draw big crowds.

Adults and children flock to the animal pens, where they can cuddle bunnies, chicks and baby ducks. The St. Croix Animal Welfare Center showcases pets available for adoption and, across the room, chickens and ducks sport pastel feathers or extra plumage on their legs. Show quality cattle, goats and sheep cluster in the outside pens away from the bright sun.

William Coles displays a five-foot long red tail boa he caught on St Croix. (Susan Ellis photo)
William Coles displays a five-foot long red tail boa he caught on St Croix. (Susan Ellis photo)

William Coles with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife is displaying a five-foot long red tail boa and talking about the mysterious appearance of reptiles on the island. He has captured more than 150 on the island over the last few years.

The produce area attracts adults and some children who like frozen fruit juice bars, bananas, papaya and pineapples. The adults gather new flowering and fruit plants started by expert farmers and pack their shopping bags with tomatoes, cucumbers and spices such as fresh nutmeg and turmeric.

The Children’s Museum and the Play and Learn Tent, sponsored by Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands and the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, provide arts and crafts and other educational activities while parents take a break and watch their little ones create.

“We teach them how to have fun using science and technology,” said Orresteen Reynolds, Play and Learn director.

Making slime is by far the kids’ favorite activity, she added.

Eulalie Rivera Elementary display at Agrifest wins first place. (Susan Ellis photo)
Eulalie Rivera Elementary display at Agrifest wins first place. (Susan Ellis photo)

Schools and students have a big part to play in Agrifest. Some raise and display animals for 4-H Club and local schools compete, making displays that follow the theme for the year. This year’s theme is “V.I. Agriculture: Still Growing in 2019,” and Eulalie Rivera Elementary swept the competition with a first place presentation – created by the entire student body – a Senapol cow display constructed of recycled water bottles, made by first graders, and the shoe box float.

Eulalie Rivera Elementary first graders created a Senapol cow from plastic bottles.
Eulalie Rivera Elementary first graders created a Senapol cow from plastic bottles. (Susan Ellis photo)

Anna Lafond, first-grade teacher at Rivera, managed the project and said all of the students participated enthusiastically because they want to replant the school garden that has become overgrown and unmanageable.

“They all really worked hard,” she said.

According to Lafond, the University of the Virgin Islands has offered to cut the grass so they can till the soil, and Gov. Bryan said he will have lunch at the school to bring awareness to their project. So far, students have been able to plant and grow watermelon, tomatoes, cucumbers, and pumpkins the old-fashioned way, using seeds from produce they have consumed.

John H. Woodson Junior High won first place in their age group and were the sweepstakes runners-up. Sarah Dahl-Smith said the judges were very impressed with all the schools’ projects even though there were fewer competitors this year.

Students from Ivanna Eudora Kean High School present a cooking demonstration Sunday.
Students from Ivanna Eudora Kean High School present a cooking demonstration Sunday.

Students from Ivanna Eudora Kean High School and culinary instructor Kerish Robles also entertained with instructions on making tamarind stewed chicken tacos with lemon grass rice and tomato coulis. This is the third year Robles, a chef who said she is a “product of agriculture,” has performed demonstrations with her students, using local ingredients to turn an ordinary recipe into something “extraordinary.”

Assistant Agriculture Commissioner Errol Chichester said this year there was a lot of extra preparation due to the destruction by 2017’s hurricanes. Gentlemen of Jones and APTIM, a company helping with hurricane rebuilding, built 32 small food booths and 14 larger booths on the fairgrounds. Chichester said the staff and volunteers worked hard with fewer resources and he was pleased there was less trash to clean up overnight.

“I’m delighted to say people are using the trash cans,” he exclaimed.

According to Willard John, an Agrifest board member, more than 6,000 people attended Saturday’s fair and 10,000 were expected Sunday. The fair continues Monday when many people attend to stock up for the week on rare and treasured food – saltfish pancakes, ducana, souse and roast pork.

At the Sejah Farm VI Booth Monifa Carrillo accepts a lime and a smile from Dale Brown. (Linda Morland photo)
At the Sejah Farm VI Booth Monifa Carrillo accepts a lime and a smile from Dale Brown. (Linda Morland photo)
Meilene Henrys cuddles a guinea pig at the 4H Petting Zoo. (Linda Morland photo)
Meilene Henrys cuddles a guinea pig at the 4H Petting Zoo. (Linda Morland photo)
John F. Woodson Jr. High School agriculture students, Ismaire Gonsales (long hair) and Ashley Torres (white blouse) explain hydroponics to Andrea and Ben Mshila.(Linda Morland photo)
John F. Woodson Jr. High School agriculture students, Ismaire Gonsales (long hair) and Ashley Torres (white blouse) explain hydroponics to Andrea and Ben Mshila.(Linda Morland photo)
The St. Croix Heritage Dancers, accompanied by Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights, entertain a standing room crowd for the Grand Quadrille under the Big Tent. (Linda Morland photo)
The St. Croix Heritage Dancers, accompanied by Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights, entertain a standing room crowd for the Grand Quadrille under the Big Tent. (Linda Morland photo)
Fun at the fair, from left, James Graham, Ashley M. Torres and Ismarie Gonsales crack up. Linda Morland photo)
Fun at the fair, from left, James Graham, Ashley M. Torres and Ismarie Gonsales crack up. Linda Morland photo)
Delita Burroughs contemplates which pie to take home. (Linda Morland photo)
Delita Burroughs contemplates which pie to take home. (Linda Morland photo)
Y’zell Bengoa, left, and Dominic Cole pet baby chicks in the 4H Petting Zoo. (Linda Morland photo)
Y’zell Bengoa, left, and Dominic Cole pet baby chicks in the 4H Petting Zoo. (Linda Morland photo)
Veterinarian Michelle Mehalick from the St. Croix Animal Welfare Clinic helps Ayjauni Joseph with questions about puppy and dog care. (Linda Morland photo)
Veterinarian Michelle Mehalick from the St. Croix Animal Welfare Clinic helps Ayjauni Joseph with questions about puppy and dog care. (Linda Morland photo)
Cowboy Stephen O’Dea and Eeyore the donkey gave rides to happy young fairgoers. (Linda Morland photo)
Cowboy Stephen O’Dea and Eeyore the donkey gave rides to happy young fairgoers. (Linda Morland photo)
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,758FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
People crowd across the entry bridge to the food booths and other delights as the first day of AgriFest goes into high gear. (Linda Morland photo)
People crowd across the entry bridge to the food booths and other delights as the first day of AgriFest goes into high gear. (Linda Morland photo)
There is something to delight every man, woman and child at the 48th annual Virgin Islands Agriculture and Food Fair, called Agrifest, which opened Saturday and concludes Monday at the Rudolph Schulterbrandt Agricultural Complex on St. Croix. On Saturday, Gov. Albert Bryan and other government officials officially opened the fair and announced Henry Schuster as the Livestock Farmer of the Year and Charles Burton the Crop Farmer of the Year. This year’s three-day event honors the late Audrey O. Browne, who worked at the Department of Agriculture for many years, always eager to help with a smile on her face. She was the go-to person at the fair. On Sunday, pastor Walton Frederick of the Frederiksted Moravian Church led several dozen people in services and hymns in the morning.
Positive Nelson, the nominee for commissioner of Agriculture, and former Sen Alicia 'Chucky' Hansen, share a laugh at the Agrifest. (Linda Morland photo)
Positive Nelson, the nominee for commissioner of Agriculture, and former Sen Alicia 'Chucky' Hansen, share a laugh at the Agrifest. (Linda Morland photo)
The first things to see at the fair are the vendor booths lining the walkway, with friendly faces selling their wares. Visitors enjoy clothing choices for men, women and children, with African, South American or Asian themes and fabrics. Booths with hand crafted leather goods, custom made T-shirts, fine woven baskets and locally made silver and gold jewelry draw big crowds. Adults and children flock to the animal pens, where they can cuddle bunnies, chicks and baby ducks. The St. Croix Animal Welfare Center showcases pets available for adoption and, across the room, chickens and ducks sport pastel feathers or extra plumage on their legs. Show quality cattle, goats and sheep cluster in the outside pens away from the bright sun.
William Coles displays a five-foot long red tail boa he caught on St Croix. (Susan Ellis photo)
William Coles displays a five-foot long red tail boa he caught on St Croix. (Susan Ellis photo)
William Coles with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife is displaying a five-foot long red tail boa and talking about the mysterious appearance of reptiles on the island. He has captured more than 150 on the island over the last few years. The produce area attracts adults and some children who like frozen fruit juice bars, bananas, papaya and pineapples. The adults gather new flowering and fruit plants started by expert farmers and pack their shopping bags with tomatoes, cucumbers and spices such as fresh nutmeg and turmeric. The Children’s Museum and the Play and Learn Tent, sponsored by Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands and the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, provide arts and crafts and other educational activities while parents take a break and watch their little ones create. “We teach them how to have fun using science and technology,” said Orresteen Reynolds, Play and Learn director. Making slime is by far the kids’ favorite activity, she added.
Eulalie Rivera Elementary display at Agrifest wins first place. (Susan Ellis photo)
Eulalie Rivera Elementary display at Agrifest wins first place. (Susan Ellis photo)
Schools and students have a big part to play in Agrifest. Some raise and display animals for 4-H Club and local schools compete, making displays that follow the theme for the year. This year’s theme is “V.I. Agriculture: Still Growing in 2019,” and Eulalie Rivera Elementary swept the competition with a first place presentation – created by the entire student body – a Senapol cow display constructed of recycled water bottles, made by first graders, and the shoe box float.
Eulalie Rivera Elementary first graders created a Senapol cow from plastic bottles.
Eulalie Rivera Elementary first graders created a Senapol cow from plastic bottles. (Susan Ellis photo)
Anna Lafond, first-grade teacher at Rivera, managed the project and said all of the students participated enthusiastically because they want to replant the school garden that has become overgrown and unmanageable. “They all really worked hard,” she said. According to Lafond, the University of the Virgin Islands has offered to cut the grass so they can till the soil, and Gov. Bryan said he will have lunch at the school to bring awareness to their project. So far, students have been able to plant and grow watermelon, tomatoes, cucumbers, and pumpkins the old-fashioned way, using seeds from produce they have consumed. John H. Woodson Junior High won first place in their age group and were the sweepstakes runners-up. Sarah Dahl-Smith said the judges were very impressed with all the schools’ projects even though there were fewer competitors this year.
Students from Ivanna Eudora Kean High School present a cooking demonstration Sunday.
Students from Ivanna Eudora Kean High School present a cooking demonstration Sunday.
Students from Ivanna Eudora Kean High School and culinary instructor Kerish Robles also entertained with instructions on making tamarind stewed chicken tacos with lemon grass rice and tomato coulis. This is the third year Robles, a chef who said she is a “product of agriculture,” has performed demonstrations with her students, using local ingredients to turn an ordinary recipe into something “extraordinary.” Assistant Agriculture Commissioner Errol Chichester said this year there was a lot of extra preparation due to the destruction by 2017's hurricanes. Gentlemen of Jones and APTIM, a company helping with hurricane rebuilding, built 32 small food booths and 14 larger booths on the fairgrounds. Chichester said the staff and volunteers worked hard with fewer resources and he was pleased there was less trash to clean up overnight. “I’m delighted to say people are using the trash cans,” he exclaimed. According to Willard John, an Agrifest board member, more than 6,000 people attended Saturday’s fair and 10,000 were expected Sunday. The fair continues Monday when many people attend to stock up for the week on rare and treasured food – saltfish pancakes, ducana, souse and roast pork.
At the Sejah Farm VI Booth Monifa Carrillo accepts a lime and a smile from Dale Brown. (Linda Morland photo)
At the Sejah Farm VI Booth Monifa Carrillo accepts a lime and a smile from Dale Brown. (Linda Morland photo)
Meilene Henrys cuddles a guinea pig at the 4H Petting Zoo. (Linda Morland photo)
Meilene Henrys cuddles a guinea pig at the 4H Petting Zoo. (Linda Morland photo)
John F. Woodson Jr. High School agriculture students, Ismaire Gonsales (long hair) and Ashley Torres (white blouse) explain hydroponics to Andrea and Ben Mshila.(Linda Morland photo)
John F. Woodson Jr. High School agriculture students, Ismaire Gonsales (long hair) and Ashley Torres (white blouse) explain hydroponics to Andrea and Ben Mshila.(Linda Morland photo)
The St. Croix Heritage Dancers, accompanied by Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights, entertain a standing room crowd for the Grand Quadrille under the Big Tent. (Linda Morland photo)
The St. Croix Heritage Dancers, accompanied by Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights, entertain a standing room crowd for the Grand Quadrille under the Big Tent. (Linda Morland photo)
Fun at the fair, from left, James Graham, Ashley M. Torres and Ismarie Gonsales crack up. Linda Morland photo)
Fun at the fair, from left, James Graham, Ashley M. Torres and Ismarie Gonsales crack up. Linda Morland photo)
Delita Burroughs contemplates which pie to take home. (Linda Morland photo)
Delita Burroughs contemplates which pie to take home. (Linda Morland photo)
Y’zell Bengoa, left, and Dominic Cole pet baby chicks in the 4H Petting Zoo. (Linda Morland photo)
Y’zell Bengoa, left, and Dominic Cole pet baby chicks in the 4H Petting Zoo. (Linda Morland photo)
Veterinarian Michelle Mehalick from the St. Croix Animal Welfare Clinic helps Ayjauni Joseph with questions about puppy and dog care. (Linda Morland photo)
Veterinarian Michelle Mehalick from the St. Croix Animal Welfare Clinic helps Ayjauni Joseph with questions about puppy and dog care. (Linda Morland photo)
Cowboy Stephen O’Dea and Eeyore the donkey gave rides to happy young fairgoers. (Linda Morland photo)
Cowboy Stephen O’Dea and Eeyore the donkey gave rides to happy young fairgoers. (Linda Morland photo)