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By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
AML Foods went above "normal levels" to invest an extra $1 million in inventory prior to its fiscal 2011 year-end, its chief executive told Tribune Business yesterday, in a move to lock-in lower prices ahead of anticipated food and energy cost increases.
Gavin Watchorn, who is also AML Foods' president, said the 2011 year-end financials would show a corresponding decrease in the BISX-listed food group's year-end cash position due to the increased non-perishable inventory purchase, as margins in the food retail sector continue to come under pressure from increased competition and input price increases.
AML Foods saw a 0.6 per cent gro ...
Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources V. Alfred Gray is aiming to lower the country's dependence on imported food during his term in office.
"Food security will be my first concern," he told reporters yesterday morning as he headed to the Christie administration's first Cabinet meeting.
"As you know The Bahamas imports more than  percent of what we eat. To the extent that we are able, I hope to reduce that to about 60 to 70 percent. I intend to give concessionary grants to farmers, wherever I can, as incentives for those who are willing to go into landscape farming. And by that I mean money grants so that they are able to do some things which they ordinarily would not be able to do on their own."
Gray said he also intends to ensure that the policies included in the PLP's Charter for Governance, which promises to "revolutionize the agriculture industry", are executed.
According to the PLP document: "The new agriculture will be grounded on the commitment to 'grow what we can, buy what we must', thus reflecting an import substitution strategy."
"The benefits of an import substitution policy is that it is two-dimensional: It will both save foreign exchange, while earning foreign exchange. This strategy is consistent with the global food agenda of enhancing food security, as it will bring greater focus to the local production of our food while benefiting the overall economy," the PLP's Charter for Governance noted.
Among other things, the PLP has said it is committed to the development and implementation of a national food production development plan.
Gray said he also hopes to enhance the marine resources side of his portfolio.
"I hope to be able to get into mariculture - the farming for fish. There are some interests that have already been expressed from a foreign source and local sources, and if we could grow for instance tilapia (a species of fish), we might be able to locally grow sufficient that we might be able to export it. The other thing that I need to pay special attention to is the importation of chicken. We have a chicken farm on Abaco that is dying because of the importation of chicken, and the extent to which I am allowed to either eliminate imports or perhaps drastically reduce it, I am prepared to do that in the shortest possible time."
In 2010 the government eliminated the requirement for a permit to import chicken.
In addition to agriculture and marine resources, Gray is also in charge of local government.
On that end, Gray said he plans to meet with Family Island representatives at the end of this week to chart the way forward for the development of the Family Islands.
"I also intend to bring local government to New Providence in the shortest possible time. When I was there last I started the process. I'm not sure what happened since then to now but I intend to resurrect the process."
According to Jay Z and Alicia Keys, New York is a concrete jungle where dreams are made and where you feel brand new. It's also a city where most celebrity chefs have at least one restaurant so the food scene is amazing. The haute cuisine shows not only traditional French influences, but also employs techniques and ingredients beloved in Asian, European, Latin American and Middle Eastern cooking. No matter what type of food you're craving in New York City, you can rest assured that you can find the perfect place to eat.
With this in mind, my head was swirling with thoughts of where to dine on a recent visit -- Aquavit which is co-owned by Marcus Samuelsson; Aureole owned by Charlie Palmer; Jean Georges owned by Jean-Georges Vongerichten; per se owned by Thomas Keller; Restaurant Daniel owned by Daniel Boulud; WD-50 owned by Wyle Dufresne; Le Bernardin owned by Eric Ripert. The choices ... the choices ... the choices ... and so many restaurants offering delicious food!
In the end, I chose a restaurant for a special dinner based on two things -- it was at the 49th floor of a building and the restaurant revolved which would allow my husband and I to enjoy the cityscape while dining. It was called The View and it sat atop the Marriott Marquis hotel. It wasn't a celebrity-chef owned restaurant or anything. But this was New York City, so you would be hard-pressed to find a restaurant that serves sub-par food.
The view was actually a sight to behold as we dined into the fading evening light looking out at the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, Times Square and the Hudson River; the big question was whether the food would be able to rival the view.
We were surprised to find that a three-course prix fixe meal was set at $79 and we had fantastic offerings from which to choose -- quail, foie gras, braised short ribs, duck breast, roast salmon, filet mignon, rack of lamb, grilled rib eye and a decadent dessert menu that offered tempting treats like a crème brulee, caramel nut tart and apricot ice cream trio, New York cheesecake of course, strawberry panna cotta and a dark chocolate pate. We got to choose an appetizer, entrée and dessert. That certainly did not sound too bad, but the proof had to be in the taste.
I ordered the grilled quail with honey almond goat cheese, fig compote, frisee and sherry vinaigrette, while my husband had the heirloom tomato salad with goat cheese, plums, cucumbers, micro basil and white balsamic vinaigrette. And as we both are foie gras lovers, we both ordered the foie gras duo of seared foie gras with plum compote and a snipped salad and a foie gras mousse. It added a couple more dollars onto the bill, but who cared --this was of course foie gras.
My grilled quail appetizer to say the least was simply divine -- tender quail, honey-sweetened creamy goat cheese with a slight crunch from the almonds, with delicious fig compote ... perfect. That was a delicious start to the meal.
The foie gras duo sent me into another stratosphere literally. The seared foie gras was buttery and delicious and the mousse just sent the dish over the top. Delicious!
And of course I ordered my roasted salmon with Israeli couscous with ratatouille and a lemon-parsley emulsion medium rare and it was served up perfect. The fat piece of center cut salmon was so silky and buttery that my only regret was that I literally could not finish the dish.
My husband's rack of lamb (cooked to a perfect medium) with white bean ragu, mustard greens and thyme lamb jus was also delicious.
No matter how stuffed we were, dessert was coming our way, and I could not pass on the crème brulee, caramel nut tart and apricot ice cream trio. Thank goodness they were miniatures, so I dug in. My husband opted for cheesecake and fresh marinated strawberries. Dessert was a perfect ending to a perfect meal.
Actually, while The View wasn't a restaurant owned by one of those celebrity chefs, the meal in my husband's words was "one of the best he'd ever had." And I must admit it was very good.
The restaurant I chose simply because of its view and the fact that it rotated, did not disappoint. Actually it was as I was dining that I found out that The View was OpenTable.com Diner's Choice winner for 2012. Next time I'm in the city that's a concrete jungle where dreams are made and where you can feel brand new, The View will be a must do. And for all you die-hard New York City fans, the next time you're there, make sure you check it out. You will not be disappointed, the meal certainly rivals the view.
There are many "perfect" wine and food combinations that are hard to ignore if you are a "foodie" however there are lots of combinations that are lesser known but equally intriguing. Most people have trouble pairing wines with spicy, salty or robust dishes, but there are answers to those predicaments!
Chinese food, with its sweet, sour and spicy elements makes for a challenge to find a good wine and food pairing. My suggestion is to stick with an off dry Riesling. There is a natural acidity that remains in Riesling wines regardless of its sweetness level, and this acidity will help to keep the palate fresh with spicy food.
The off dry versions (Rieslings can vary from bone dry to semi sweet to sweet) provide the sweetness needed to soften the perception of spice in a dish. If you are serving a sweet and sour dish, a Riesling will also complement the meal with its floral and apple bouquets.
Mild to medium spiced Indian curries also fall into an off dry Riesling pairing. Germany, Austria or Canada all have Rieslings that offer notes of melons and pears that can stand up to and complement aromatic spices of curries and cilantro. Gewurtztraminer is also a great choice for pairing with spicy foods, whether its curry or dishes with Asian based flavours. The name Gewurtztraminer translates into "spice wine", its aromatic, floral characteristics can enhance many spicy dishes.
BIMINI, The Bahamas - Educating youth on the economic value of agriculture is the approach that the Bimini All-Age School is taking to help reduce the national food import bill. Students are practicing at school how to grow their own vegetables in home gardens to encourage sustainability.
"We can grow almost anything in Bimini. The very same things that we grow over here, we are importing," said Arnold Dorsette, BAIC assistant general manager.
"What we need to do is grow more of it, and grow it in a way that we can grow it more consistently to our friends and family and some of the businesses that are importing it on Bimini."
Almost $500 million annually are spent every year to import food from other countries into The Bahamas. The Ministry of Agriculture wants Bahamians to understand the potential of personal wealth building by supporting local farmers and buying Bahamian agriculture products.
"Can you imagine last year we imported some 500 million dollars worth of food in The Bahamas," said Mr. Dorsette.
"That is a significant amount of money that is going out of the country to buy food, some of which we can grow and we are not taking advantage of growing and encouraging more of food production in the country."
(ARA) - Your memory of real, flavourful, fresh food is a key tool for losing weight. At least that's one of the intriguing claims in Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough's new book, "Real Food Has Curves: How to Get off Processed Food, Lose Weight, and Love What You Eat."
We find pleasure in what we eat because we stock up those good memories of past real food. "You don't get a lot of flavour depth in the processed stuff," Scarbrough says. "And so you don't develop many pleasure memories from it."
In fact, real food is the key to eating less, the authors say. For one thing, you're satisfied more quickly with its big flavours. And more flavour means mor ...
Recognising the extensive import food bill and the shortages experienced after each hurricane, The Bahamas has embarked on a mission to grow as much of its food as possible, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources the Hon. Lawrence Cartwright said at the opening of the 2nd Annual Agricultural, Marine Resources and Agribusiness Expo.
The Bahamas will not be significantly impacted by an expected increase in food prices in the United States, according to a local supermarket executive.
Super Value President Rupert Roberts said a severe drought that has impacted the United States' corn industry will lead to a six percent increase in food prices in that jurisdiction.
He shared with Guardian Business that the United States is only one of the country's suppliers, noting that Super Value also purchases products from other international markets.
"With the drought affecting the U.S., we will just move to other markets around the world. There may be some items of choice that the consumer wants. However, I really don't expect the drought in the U.S. to affect The Bahamas at all," he explained.
While he admitted that an increase would affect dairy products, as corn is a significant component of cattle feed in the U.S., his milk items come from places like Brazil and Peru.
"For instance, we get our corn from Brazil as opposed to the U.S. We are now importing cream and condensed milk from Peru. We shift markets and bring in containers from New Zealand, Canada and wherever else that is cheaper at the time," Roberts said.
Super Value's chief noted that he spends over $100 million on imports. However, he pointed out that his business does a lot of local shopping through local wholesalers.
"There are ten conglomerates that own the food industry. Their prices are better than the domestic prices in the U.S. if we were to import through other sources. That's why we do a great deal of purchasing through local wholesalers," Roberts added.
Agriculture and Marine Resources Minister V. Alfred Gray acknowledged that the Bahamian food bill, which is impacted significantly by the cost of imports from the U.S., has remained unchanged this year in the $500 million range.
Earlier this week, Gray said he would consider a ban on certain imports if Bahamian farmers can prove they could produce food in sufficient quantities at a reasonable price.
"I intend to stop the imports if that must happen, so I beg them to cooperate. We are encouraging farmers to prove they can produce, whether it's farm produce, poultry or eggs, in sufficient quantity at a reasonable price. It is this minster's intention to do as much as is legally possible to avoid import of that same product," he shared.
However, the minister admitted that there are some cases where massive imports may be necessary if The Bahamas is unable to produce the quantity that would supply certain businesses. In those instances, companies would have to have specialty permits.