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Abundance of Fresh Foods Amaze Expats

The abundance of fresh foods grown in the sun fascinates Lute Berends and his wife Nicole. The couple from Netherlands have been living in Suva the last 16 months shop
10 Aug 2018 11:00
Abundance of Fresh Foods Amaze Expats
Lute Berends and his wife Nicole at New World supermarket in Valelevu on August 7, 2018. Photos: Taraivini Seru

The abundance of fresh foods grown in the sun fascinates Lute Berends and his wife Nicole.

The couple from Netherlands have been living in Suva the last 16 months shop three times a week for fresh supplies.

Mr Berends is the Chief Execu­tive Officer at the Nasinu Town Council while his wife is a volun­teer with a local non-Government Organisation.

“Where we come from vegeta­bles and other crops are grown in greenhouses under green lights as there is no sun,” Mr Berends said.

“Here the foods are so fresh and crispy because they are grown out in the open under the sun and nat­ural surroundings,” he said.


“Food is far tastier including the fish, we love the walu, marlin and wahoo.

“We shop three times a week be­cause we buy just enough to con­sume and return for more fresh supplies.

“We eat a lot of salad because this is the first time we are eating foods that are grown naturally.

“We love the rourou, okra – the coconut juice, watermelons, pine­apples; oh we are so lucky.”

The Berends ocassionally shop at Newworld supermarket in Valele­vu as Mr Berends office is opposite the shopping plaza.

They are in Fiji on their own as their five sons have grown with one in New Zealand and the oth­er four live back in Amsterdam working.

Mr Berends has 33 years work ex­perience in the local government back in Amsterdam while Mrs Be­rends has 20 years.

There was an expression of inter­est opportunity in the Common­wealth Local Government Forum digital newsletter of which Mr Be­rends applied and was successful.

Their wanting to move out of Netherlands was not an overnight decision.

They have been discussing as a couple three years earlier that as soon as all of their sons can live independently they would try to move to another country.

They had done their research about the Pacific and knew that Fiji was a democratic country and people spoke in English.

“Netherlands is 16,100 kilometres from Fiji, in the Netherlands the sun rises from the south, you drive on the left side of the road, there is a 10 hour time difference so while we are enjoying the sun here they are still asleep back home,” Mr Be­rends said.

“Every inch about Fiji is beauti­ful and healthy. But then majority make wrong decisions and choices when it comes to food.

“The foods are much much more tastier and healthier here yet we see people selling coconut drink on the roadside for a bottle of coke o cola or a fizzy drink which has so much sugar.

“They sell fish and have tinned fish for a meal. Children are watching and they too will contin­ue the trend; this can be stopped.

“Everyone has a backyard which they can plant their food but they buy everything to feed their fami­lies.

“With the two of us we just buy enough to last us two days but with our groceries we buy slightly more because we want to be economical, to save money.

“We have found out that grocer­ies here is quiet expensive here al­though a lot of foods on the shelves are produced by local food pro­cessing companies.

“This is paradise, people need to eat and live healthy.”

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