Known as the "plantation island" for its reputation as an 18th-century sugar workhorse, the island once thrummed with the compulsory industry of African slaves working the loamy soil on some 200 sugar plantations. Today the plantations are gone, but the island is turning to the land once more in a farm-to-fork movement that's a rousing revival of St. Croix's agrarian heritage.
Meet the Food Makers
Any time of year, you can take a tasting tour of secret spots beloved by locals in the island's largest town, Christiansted, with Virgin Islands Food Tour.
In mid-February, thousands head to the 3-day AgriFest, an agricultural expo and big love-in for all things farm-related, plus a full lineup of music acts. All year long, farmstands show off the island's bounty. Heirloom tomatoes, salad greens, and tropical fruit are sold at the farmstand of ArtFarm in south St. Croix on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings (don't miss the onsite art gallery). Sejah Farm sells fresh veggies, meats, eggs, and honey at their daily farm market (closed Sun) in the island's "farm belt" in central St. Croix.
Fresh New Tables
Nearby at Zion Modern Kitchen, in the historic 18th-century Quin House, with a scuffed-up wooden floor and a white wainscoted ceiling, the emphasis is on farm-fresh ingredients and classic island cuisine with a modern twist. Come for Thursday-night dance parties in the palm-fringed courtyard.
Join the lines at the takeout window at La Reine Chicken Shack, in the center of the island at Centerline Road in Kingshill, for slow-cooked, spit-roasted chicken and johnnycakes and a Saturday-night pig roast—and yes, that just might be Martha Stewart behind you.