Yardfowl Day is Saturday, March 14 –– so declares Andrew Bynoe of A1 Supermarkets.
It is the day Barbadians will be encouraged to display their yardfowls in their many colours, variety of plumage and shapes, says the A1 founder, director and brains behind this novel addition to the pride in Barbadian heritage.
In fact, Bynoe felt so strongly about the concept that those who have the A-ONE 2015 calendar, would see that day firmly imbedded in the month of March.
“The yardfowls will reflect a combination of the many breeds in this island. So you’ll get a variety of colours, shapes and sizes of fowls. Interestingly enough, I don’t think that people pay enough attention to the variety of fowl that we have in Barbados,” said the self-confessed fowl fancier, who also happens to know his “pigs personally”.
Bynoe has been traversing the Barbadian countryside for years, admiring the yardfowl as one of many pastimes; and if he happens to spot a lovely fowl somewhere, he is very likely to stop and buy it.
“I keep a number of yardfowls. There’s the joy of knowing that these fowls [the males] would crow very early in the morning, and I do get an egg or two occasionally. It’s a hobby which is more related to breeding or seeing a fowl that’s a little different in colour from one that I might have seen two weeks before,” he said.
“When we look at the combination of breeds that gives us the Barbadian yardfowl, I think it’s a pretty fowl, and I therefore would like to bring to the attention of the country that we have a strange kind of asset that we have neglected,” he added.
Bynoe has therefore started a Facebook page under PPandrewuncut and is inviting Barbadians to send pictures of their yardfowls in all their splendour.
Photos should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The display is expected to be so attractive that interest from neighbouring islands and farther afield is anticipated
via the social media.
“From this page then, we will select various winners. The local winners will be given prizes and will be able to come in [to Emerald City and Carlton] and feed themselves, not the fowls,” Bynoe added with a chuckle.
By using Facebook, Bynoe not only anticipates feedback before Saturday, March 14, but also the first of an annual event slated for the second Saturday in every March.
As to if he’s sending a message to anyone connected politically, Bynoe quipped: “No, not at all. That is a different thing altogether. My interest is in the beauty of the fowl.”
Describing Barbados’ “wonderful cocks, with lovely plumage”, Bynoe revealed that if one were to traverse certain areas of St Philip, for instance, the yardfowls there would look somewhat different from those in St Lucy.
“There are different strains of yardfowl in various parts of the island,” he observed.
So where do his ideas, which are hilarious but at the same time uniquely Barbadian and culturally relevant, come from?
“I enjoy thinking about life and experiences, and I’m fortunate in the sense that I’m always free to express and not inhibited . . . . I’m not afraid to express an idea or thought,” he explained.
For instance, the Proper Pork campaign and the Fourth Umpire cricket event have delighted Bajans and folks far beyond these shores.
In 2007, when Carlton A1 and Emerald City were launching the Fourth Umpire rum brand, they organized a cricket match at Carlton playing field between the Barmy Army, who were in Barbados to support England in the Cricket World Cup, and a Fourth Umpire team.
“It was quite entertaining; people loved it, and asked when were we going to do such again. But also on the compound, we had people selling various types of pork menus; so that was very successful,” said Bynoe.
There’s no debating the fact that his Proper Pork campaign has brought the sweet, white meat an unprecedented level of acceptance.
“Pork had a bad name because we weren’t growing pork with a view to selling it. For instance, people would just kill an old boar and sell that. So when you ate that, it gave you the wrong impression about pork, because you would’ve just eaten an old rancid boar.
“Pork as an industry was not given careful thought. That’s what I did,” said Bynoe.
Having grown up knowing pork to be “very sweet”, he decided to do something to change society’s view of the meat.
“I started with the farmer and I said you can grow pork for us, but I gave certain conditions in terms of the age of the porker, the amount of back fat, the conditions of the pig pens, the environment, and the way you fed that pig. The norm was to throw some swill in the pen, but I said if you want to grow for us, you must go and buy a feed.
“We also said that you must slaughter at a recognized slaughterhouse where you had inspectors and so on.
These are the standards we insisted on,” he explained.
What began with a handful of farmers mushroomed into a revitalization of the pork industry.
Unfortunately, however, the hotels still have not yet bought into the local pork industry, he added, and retain
on their menus imported pork loins and tenderloin.
“There’s no need now to run away from the Barbadian pork. The industry has regularized itself to the extent that we can now guarantee that 95 per cent of the pork grown in Barbados is ‘proper’,” said the witty businessman whose supermarket business is now in its 34th year, having opened at Wildey on February 2, 1981.
BOGOF and BOSH are also among products of Bynoe’s fertile imagination.
The first is simply Buy One, Get One Free and the other is Buy One, Second Half-Price, but Bynoe made them into “characters who live at A1 Supermarkets”.
He’s not claiming sole invention of these brilliant ideas, however.
“Things develop. I would come with ideas and so on, but there’s input. People would feed in and I’m sure that is what will also happen with Yardfowl Day,” he said.
So for this year, people will be posting their fowls’ pictures, but eventually, Bynoe envisions a forum for the live birds to be displayed for the viewing pleasure of one and all.
“At this time we’re starting on a very sure and small platform” was how the former Wesley Hall boy and Combermerian put it.
“In later years it will grow,” he said.