5 eat fresh juicy plums…


Now, we were told a few horror stories before coming out to St Helena about shopping and getting hold of food. We were told: ‘in the week prior to the ship coming in there may be nothing on the shelves……. there will be very little in the way of fresh fruit and veg as the island doesn’t grow its own…. the only thing you can guarantee to eat is tuna!’


Well let me tell you, very little of what we were told or read has been true so far, however there is a knack to shopping on St Helena and it takes a few weeks to know how or where to find things.


I am by no means an expert yet but having devoted nearly 3 weeks to shopping I now know 3 things:


1.       We won’t starve on St Helena


2.       There are things other than tuna to eat


3.       You need to learn how to order your food.


For the first few days I was in a blind panic: ‘I must find food, I must find a shop now!!!’ There is no large supermarket, everything is available in small quantities so I was constantly worried ‘we are going to run out of food and our children will starve, what will I do then?’ I think I had reverted to cave woman hunter-gatherer mode!


I have now got over myself and realised if all else fails there is still always beans on toast, however, when it comes to shopping, It can feel like a full time job. 


Shopping in St Helena is time consuming, I was told the other day by a lady it is called ‘foraging’, she said: “You need to go into town 3 times a day and go around every shop to find the best fruit and veg.” Now even if I had the time (which I do) I’m not doing this!


There are several supermarkets in Jamestown and you do have to shop around. If a supermarket hasn’t got what you want or what you need seems expensive, they will happily send you along to their competition to buy it up the road instead.


I think of it as a bit like ready steady cook, you do have to go to town without any idea whatsoever of what you want or need and with whatever is in your bag at the end of it, you have to prepare a meal.  So far we are doing ok, we ‘ve made a spag bol, fish curry, steak, various pasta dishes including tuna pasta…..


You will be relieved and pleased to hear that we are now all over it thanks to advice from those in the know, our meat is now ordered from the butchers and collected weekly; meat is relatively cheap and good quality, although I’m told the beef is not hung for long enough so it can be a little tough.


Bread I order. (I will say no more, except I still haven’t got it right!)


Fish is surprisingly cheap, we bought 6 tuna steaks the other day for £1.30, we often buy large chunks of Wahoo and Tuna for a ridiculous price and its sushi grade so tastes pretty good too!


We can order fish from the fish man (yes that’s his name).


Today I found the vegetable lady in a barn in Longwood, proving they do grow veg on the island.  I have now ordered a weekly veg bag. Veg is seasonal so it will be a surprise each week what we get (always cabbage though so ideas for what to do with cabbage gratefully received).


We’ve also ordered fruit for when It comes in off the ship, so every three to four weeks we might get some grapes and other soft fruit. The children got very excited about the plums that arrived on the ship on Tuesday!  You can normally always get oranges, apples and bananas (so far). We have bananas growing in our garden, they are very tasty much more bananary than in the


UK (I know it’s not a word) if a slightly odd shape. We were walking down the street the other day when a mango nearly fell on my head, I sent Isaac running down the road after it, you can’t get fresher fruit than that!


If you follow the St Helena new and travel on FB, yes thanks to the ship we do now have potatoes! There has been a shortage on the island, it hasn’t really impacted us but the island is famous for its fishcakes and they require mashed potato, so it was a bit of an issue.


For those who are interested and if you haven’t dosed off already, some of our English staples can be expensive, I saw Hellman’s mayonnaise the other day for £5 per bottle and cereal can be around £5-6 per box. Surprisingly a lot of the dried or tinned food in the shops is Tesco own brand! It is quite a comfort to see things you recognise.  Generally, most things are around 50% more than in the UK. You do have to watch best before dates as some can be past, although those that know me know that doesn’t faze me at all!


So there you go, my full time shopping job is now becoming more of a part time job, I can now breathe easy and put my feet up (after walking Cooper of course) safe in the knowledge my orders are in.


We have some Easter activities to go to this weekend, so we will let you all know how they go and report back in our next blog. I promise not to blog about food anymore!


Jo x





2 thoughts on “5 eat fresh juicy plums…

  1. Hi Jo!!!!! loving the blogs they are so refreshing and lovely to read and to be honest the shopping and the food has been fascinating because it is all that sort of thing isn’t it that we can do here with our eyes closed. I LOVED the story of Isaac running down the round for the Mango…. I hope you are in your new rat free home, I know you had to move, that sounded like a tough start. We think of you all often :))) I think my comment here everyone can see so I won’t write other news here. I need to get your email as I would like to write to you ….. The blog is brilliant and so are you !!!! well done Jo. Much love, Alison Rosa and Spike xxx (email me your email.)


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