My Turks and Caicos: Donna Gardiner
Donna Gardiner is the founder of The Caicos Tea Company, an artisan bush tea company growing and manufacturing various teas in the Turks & Caicos Islands. Donna holds an MBA with specialization in Management and a B. SC in Economics and History.
Donna resides on North Caicos and is an active member of the business community on the Island where she owns and manages a few businesses. Donna shares with us what it means for her to be a Turks and Caicos Islander.
What does being a Turks and Caicos Islander mean to you?
Being a Turks and Caicos Islander means that I was born and grew up in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. It means that I get to experience Mother Nature at its best and I don’t take this for granted. It means that I was born in a country with infinite opportunities and the freedom to express myself through the gifts that God has made available to me.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Major Hill, North Caicos where I learnt artisan bush tea principles from my grandmother, Susan B Gardiner. She also thought me how to make bread but I stuck with making tea instead.
Describe Turks and Caicos in three words.
Peaceful, beautiful, and relaxing.
What is Turks and Caicos’ best kept secret?
Bay Cay, North Caicos. I grew up fishing and having impromptu picnics with my sisters, brother and cousin there. Lots of times we would drift on home-made rafts along its mangrove shores.
Where would you recommend as a must-go for first time visitors to Turks and Caicos?
It’s hard to single out just one place. Our multi-Island country has many must-does like snorkelling at 3 Mary Cays on North Caicos, Scenic Mudjin Harbour on Middle Caicos, Local fish fry on Provo and Kayaking on North Creek in Grand Turk.
Where in TCI do you like to kick back and relax with family and friends?
I like to go to Barracuda Beach Bar at the Pelican Beach Hotel on North Caicos. There is just something about having a rum punch, watching the waves gently kiss the white sandy beach while the setting sun watches in envy.
How is Turks and Caicos different from what it was like when you were a child?
It’s much easier to communicate and travel throughout the country.
Which is your favourite local restaurant?
My Mom, like all moms, is the best cook in the universe and she sometimes prepares meals at the restaurant at Pelican Beach Hotel on North Caicos.
What is your favourite local food?
I would have to say conch generally, there are many different ways it can be prepared and all are simply mouth-watering and delicious.