Back in April, I spent a few days in St Croix for the Taste of St Croix festival, a culinary celebration of island’s diverse gastronomic offering.
The predominantly farm to table event, designed to connect Cruzan (pronounced krooshuhn) chefs, farmers, fishermen and foodies, provided multi-sensory engagement with the vast selection of sustainable, vegan and wellness-based options available on the little island. The vibe was progressive and edgy— what I would have expected— but what I didn’t foresee was the scale of the presentation.
Something else that came as a surprise to me was how soulful this island is.
As a U.S. territory, I expected somewhat of a Floridian vibe, but what I received was an authentic Caribbean experience, with dashes of influence from Holland, France, England, Spain, Denmark, the Knights of Malta and the United States, countries that have all colonised St. Croix at one point or another.
In summation, my four-day stay was nothing short of idyllic. I returned to my family healthier, relaxed and recharged. Not what I would have expected post a food festival and exactly what I needed before getting back into the grind.
As an environmentalist and a health nut, I offer you my five all natural ways to discover St Croix.
1. Try a vegan spa experience
Cultured Naturals Body Care is a beauty bar and apothecary located in Christiansted. Therapist, biochemist and owner, Ramone Reid’s line of vegan masks, washes and body butters are customised with a variety of scents, essential oils and botanicals, all made from scratch with plant-based, locally sourced ingredients.
I recommend the charcoal detox scrub, which provided a much-needed overhaul for my desperately-in-need-of-a-detox, tired looking, post-travel complexion.
2. Book into an organic farm stay retreat
Agri-tourism and glamping are all the rage right now! Recently featured by the Travel Channel as one of the top 10 US farms to work and stay, Ridge to Reef Farm is a certified organic farm, located in the St. Croix rainforest region, providing a focus on food production, education, community and permaculture.
A stay at the farm provides a peaceful off-the-grid living experience in a safe and spacious environment with delicious organic food. Visitors have the option to work on the farm or simply relax.
3. Get some Vitamin D on Buck Island
Buck Island is a tiny, uninhabited island northeast of Saint Croix.
What makes it special, aside from being quiet and un-touristy, is the surrounding waters. I’ve never seen so many shades of turquoise— and I’m an island girl.
I recommend a half day sail with Big Beard’s Adventure tours which will allow you to enjoy the tranquillity of Buck Island, relax on the water and snorkel over the island’s barrier reef.
4. Tuck into an authentic farm to table experience
In St. Croix, farm to table isn’t a gimmick, it’s a lifestyle and no one epitomises this ethos better than Chef Digby Stridiron, owner of the ultra cool and laid back Braata in Frederiksted.
His menu options such as banana leaf pot fish, local lamb and cassava fries, you never have to go further than these 84.17 square miles to source the ingredients on your plate.
If you’re lucky enough to catch Chef Digby when he’s not working, he will join you at your table and tell you how and where he foraged for the items for your dinner. If that’s not an authentic dining experience, then I don’t know what is.
5. Go vegan
Lusting for cashew cheddar served on herb pistachio rounds or an eggplant “bacon” slider? Look no further than the restaurant at Sugar Apple Bed and Breakfast in Christiansted where all dining options are locally-sourced and plant based.
Need to quell your sweet tooth? Hit up Taqiyya Shabazz at The Sweet Fairy Desserts. She will whip up an avocado coconut pistachio cake that you can wash down with avocado punch.
It is so easy to pleasurably convert to a plant-based lifestyle, , even if just for a few days, when in St. Croix.
Where is St Croix?
St Croix is an island in the Caribbean and the largest territory in the United States Virgin Islands. It’s a little south of the British Virgin Islands and east of Puerto Rico.