What do we eat?

Pork raised and butchered by a local indigenous family. They charged us $1.50/lb and weighed it on a scale they brought with them. We purchased 7 lbs (skin and fat still intact!) Picture above is after I cleaned the pieces up. Will use fat and skin later. Cooked some fordinner in the slow cooker, froze the rest inthe chest freezer.

I thought it was about time to answer this question, which gets asked quite often…

What do you and your family eat?

The short answer is, food!

Okay, okay… I know you want to know the long answer… so here it goes!

Those of you who really know us, know that our goal is to create a self sufficient and sustainable food operation for our family. We didn’t come here with much, if any, experience growing/raising food in this environment. A lot of our food growing attempts have been unsuccessful, but when we have the successful moment, man it’s cool!

Since it’s basically just J doing all the building and me occasionally planting something here and there, it’s not really getting us to our goal quickly. It doesn’t mean we aren’t growing ANYTHING. It just means we’re only growing a few things and those things are doing pretty well. J has been working on the garden behind the workshop dome, adding, the top soil from the island when he’s bulldozing, and setting a small fire in it to create ash and charcoal. The girls and I help by collecting and throwing our compost (any biological food waste we have that our flock of birds won’t eat) out into the mix of soil. Some of the plants seem to be doing ok along the wharf, while others don’t like it. Also our chickens keep jumping the short walk around the island and getting into the garden and eating the edible green. Eventually we’ll get that all sorted.

In the meantime I thought I’d share what we DO eat and where it comes from. So without further ado…

Plantains brought to us and by a local neighbor. There were 83 total, he asked for $12 for the entire bunch.

Locally Grown/Collected

(by ourselves or our neighbors/local vilages within 3-5 miles of the island)

Yuca Root (grown here)

Coconuts (grown on one of our other islands, 3/4 mile away)

Coco Plums (same island as coconuts & here on this island)

Eggs (a flock of 8 mature hens, will be 9 once our new pullet grows up)

Red Striped Amaranth (grown here)

Katuk (grown here)

Lemon Grass (grown here)

Jamaican Sorel (grown here)

Mint, Basil, Sage & Oregano (Mexican & Panamanian varieties) (grown here)

Taro Root (grown by the river, where I wash laundry by hand, I dig it up on the way back)

Culantro (locally foraged, by me and my kids)

Pork (local neighbor)

Ñame Root (local village)

Plantains (local neighbor)

Bananas (local neighbor)

Oranges (local village)

Grapefruit (local village)

Fish (we catch it, fish trap coming soon!)

Coconut Oil (a local indigenous woman makes it by the gallon, it is amazing!)

Sugar Cane (grown here and on our farm property 1 mile away)

Pineapple (grown on our island here and a local neighbor)

Red striped amaranth grown on our wharf. This entire sand patch is a garden of them! Very prolific plant. Provides the leafy greens we eat.

Local Grocery House

(3 miles away, we go there by solar boat)



Pasta (spaghetti & macaroni, back up for when I don’t have time to make it from scratch)

Dry Red Kidney Beans




Chicken Quarters (sometimes it is locally raised, other times not, we plan to raise our own soon)

Eggs (whenever our chickens are on strike or I go egg crazy and use them all up)

Shelf stabilized milk (for homemade yogurt and putting on homemade granola)

Quick Oats

Sugar (for homemade ginger bug fermented carbonated juice & tea)



Purchased from Town

(Bocastown, Almirante or Chiriquí Grande , all roughly 14-20 miles away. I generally make this trip once every 4-6 weeks. I share a ride with my neighbor in his panga.)

Meat (chicken breast, ground pork, beef and/or turkey, various cuts of beef & pork, fish)

Dry beans (black, pink, red kidney, lima, black eyed peas, pinto, navy, split green & yellow peas)

Canned meat (pork, beef, tuna & sardines)

Olive Oil (for homemade mayonnaise)

Ketchup (by the 5kg bag, then I refill the container)





Various Nuts

Whole Rolled Oats

Peanut Butter



Fresh fruit & vegetables as needed but include the following:

  • Watermelon
  • Pineapple
  • Apples
  • Lettuc
  • Cabbage
  • Bell Peppers
  • Tomato
  • Mushrooms
  • Avocado
  • Limes

And last but not least various spices as needed.

I try whenever possible to buy, the few things we get, processed food items in bulk. This way I can just refill the containers and minimize trash that comes home. I take reusable net/nylon/recycled fiber shopping bags with me, bring several gallon size silicone reusable zip lock bags (for meat products and cheeses from the butcher), recycle containers and zip lock bags from the nuts we buy and the leave any excess packaging at the store for them to recycle.

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