Getting Fruity During Lockdown
Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences has been on a temporary hiatus due to the Maldives borders closing. While we were locked down on the island, we started growing a veritable bounty of juicy fresh fruit. We also planted organic vegetable and herb gardens. They’ve all been coming along very nicely, and our guests will be able to get their teeth into them when we reopen later this summer.
We decided to turn the absence of guests into an opportunity to put our green thumbs to the test, as well as make some other improvements around the island. It was to achieve three goals: Lower Amilla’s carbon footprint and make it more sustainable. But also to address a problem all resorts in the Maldives have due to the border closure – finding enough fresh fruit and veg.
Yes, we are a lush tropical island but you may be surprised to hear that every resort here has to rely upon international imports for fresh fruit and vegetables. That’s simply because there isn’t quite enough agricultural space in the Maldives to produce enough fruit and veg for all the population and tourists.
But even if we had more space, we couldn’t produce all the ingredients we need due to the tropical climate. While the Maldives is just perfect for growing juicy mangoes and ripe bananas, things like strawberries for fruit salads and desserts need to be grown in cooler, drier climates or different soil etc.
So, while we still can’t grow absolutely everything five-star resort guests need, we have been able to hugely ramp up the amount of super-fresh ingredients we can offer to its guests. From sweet potatoes and rocket to bananas and mangoes, we’re now growing heaps of our own produce, making us less dependent on imports. And when the borders reopen and guests return, we’ll be able to supplement this bounty with all the extras that can’t be grown here such as strawberries, apples and cherries.
Various enclaves around the resort have been cultivated thanks to the Islanders’ hard work, which ranges from planting fruit trees to experimenting with hydroponics and aquaponics. Since Amilla is so spacious, the majority of it still looks like a jungle paradise - but now the island is even more sustainable than ever.
A Quick Tour
The beautiful Mystique Garden, a spot where guests can enjoy private meals, is now bursting with organic superfoods like purslane, moringa, dandelion, and spinach.
A mushroom hut named The Pentagon has been constructed and will shortly be producing its first harvest from its cool, damp interior.
The Sweet Spot is the newly constructed sweet potato garden and its purple crop is multiplying deep in the fertile soil.
And a stone’s throw away, banana palms are growing in the shade of the jungle.
Our aquaponics system is up and running with tilapia fish happily swimming in their new pond and eating up mosquito larvae. They then fertilize the water which is pumped through the six hydroponic houses growing fresh rocket, lettuces, and the like.
The fishpond is also for growing kangkung water spinach, thereby maximizing the island’s growing areas.
Nuts for Coconuts
We’re also utilizing our 2,000 coconut trees. From fresh coconut water and coconut milk to make the dried coconut flour, every part of the coconuts is being used. This even includes the “mudi” (the inside of the young coconut tree), which has a slightly salty and sweet flavour and is surrounded by coconut flesh rich in coconut oil.
Garden to Table
The Islanders have improved the quality of the earth of our naturally lush island even more by composting food waste which is used to help fertilize the fruits and vegetables.
All of the steps we filled you in on above are part of our garden to table projects, Homegrown@Amilla and Homemade@Amilla, as well as our pioneering Wellness Your Way programme. These initiatives were created in recognition of the fact that we think five-star resort cuisine today should encompass fresh, organic ingredients and a range of dishes to suit every dietary requirement or ‘eating lifestyle’.
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