Dispatch, St. Kitts: Meditation before mealtime

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Belle Mont Farm opened on Dec. 12 on Kittitian Hill on the northern tip of St. Kitts. It is the first chapter of a 400-acre, luxury sustainable development community that will include villas, farmhouses, 84 cottages, four restaurants, village shops and an 18-hole golf course. Caribbean editor Gay Nagle Myers went there to check in and check it out. Read her first dispatch here.

Today I meditated with Nicky Myers (no relation), a serene Jamaican soul whose voice kept me focused on a thought for the day.

My thought was sun, since it was overcast at 7:30 a.m.

It worked. By the time the meditation and yoga session ended, the skies were clear.

I didn't do so well in yoga -- it was my first time -- and I was off balance in the Warrior stance and a bit contorted in the Morning Salutation.

I'm not giving up on this.

And then I foraged. How many Caribbean resorts ever list foraging as an activity? Sure beats nonmotorized watersports.

Belle Mont Farm, whose fertile farmland is set between Mount Liamuiga and the Caribbean Sea, is so passionate about its farm-to-table experiences that each day's forage determines that day's menus.

At breakfast, I was handed a list of what was available from the land and the sea. From that list, the chef and wait staff guided me in choosing several dishes.

My choices were so out of the box for me: pan-seared snapper filet and peanut sauteed bok choy, accompanied by a steaming cup of lemongrass tea and a just-baked gluten-free muffin topped with manziporte jam. Puts my usual cuppacoffee to shame.

All ingredients are sourced locally and sustainably and supplement the fruits, vegetables and herbs grown on 65 acres of the 400-acre site that make up Kittitian Hill, of which Belle Mont Farm is the first chapter.

I foraged with Yahson Tafari, a Rastafarian organic farmer originally from Nevis who really knows his kumquats from his soursop.

As we walked the rows of crops, he handed me herbs to smell and taste, pointed out pumpkins on the vine (I had pumpkin soup later at lunch) and told me that the giant sunflowers planted along the borders attracted bees and helped keep the other insects at bay.

"We don't use insecticides anywhere. We use spring water from the mountain to irrigate, and we weed these rows by hand," Tafari said.

Peanut plants with little yellow flowers and wood chips from the vegetation growing up the mountainside act as mulch.

On the golf course below the tiered rows of crops and fruit trees, he pointed out several dozen sheep ambling along the fourth hole.

"We like them. They eat the weeds," he said.

Tafari carried a basket into which he dropped various greens that two hours later I was eating at lunch.

Later I met Keithston, an enthusiastic 20-year-old Kittitian who had never worked in a hotel or in hospitality before landing his job as a waiter at Belle Mont Farm.

"I've never seen anything so beautiful as this place. I take pictures every day. I am learning so much," he said.

So am I.

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