by Katy Branum
A true treasure is often discovered where you least expect it. This is certainly relevant to Hofi Casa Cora Plantation. When you first arrive you might be mistaken to think that you have been given the wrong directions, as you drive towards an old fountain and Plantation house in need of much love. However, if you follow the path to around the side of the old buildings, you will discover; the car park full of cars, and as you look further you will notice a wonderful terraced restaurant with tables full of happy locals enjoying the light Caribbean breeze, with views over the fields and delicious homemade treats from the kitchen.
Lovely memories from the past
The history of this property is clouded in some mystery, however records seem to indicate that it dates back to the around the fifties, when it was one of the first and largest dairies on the island. Many of the older generation reminisce about when they were young, coming to the property to purchase milk in glass bottles, which today can be found decorating the restaurant interior.
It had been empty for around 10 years, when around two years ago the current young and dynamic owners took it over with a vision to transform it into an eco friendly oasis including the organic farm, restaurant and produce sales. Their goals were to create awareness about organic agriculture, local produce and farming in your own yard, and right from the start they received a lot of positive feedback from the local community for this initiative.
Some of the methods they use include; permaculture which is a philosophy where everything is connected, sustainable and self-sufficient. For example in regards to the animals, they feed them with the scraps from the vegetable and fruit preparations in the restaurant. They also use the concept of companion planting; in their case they have shrubs with crawler plants attached to them. When one area is watered, two plants receive the benefits.
With just a little bit of rain the ground blossoms immediately.
In many ways they are still exploring and testing what is the optimal solution as there are many different methods they can apply to this farming philosophy. As understandably the long-term objective is to have a constant flow of harvest during the various subtle seasons of the southern Caribbean.
It is fun and very rewarding
The restaurant changes the menu based available produce. At the moment they have a whole bunch of mangos in, so they are introducing this into the menu with; mango jam to compliment the homemade scones., mango bellini drinks, mango piquante hot sauce as a condiment, and mango cheesecake. The restaurant is very popular, so if you planning to visit for lunch or breakfast on the weekend, they do recommend to reserve a table ahead. Information and bookings can be done through their Facebook page.
If time permits, they really enjoy showing folks around the farm. Group tours are available upon request, however if you come for a late lunch around 2pm then around closing time at 3pm they can often give you a quick tour.
Don’t want to make a mess at home, come and make a mess here.
Looking into the future, they want to renovate and landscape the front area of the property as soon as possible so the arrival is more visually pleasing for guests. At the moment they are working on the old carriage house, which will ultimately become a coffee shop/ studio for creative people to make use of or for folks come and enjoy a book. There is also a small Kunuku house, which will be renovated so that it can be used as a workshop space to educate children about farm to table. Small tip, your expectations should no be too high as the property is still very much a work in progress – however if you enjoy a rustic authentic experience with delicious homemade dishes – this is not to be missed!
Opening times: Fridays open from 11am until 4pm-
then from 5pm to 9pm for drinks and snacks. Sat/ Sun from 9am – 3pm