Living off the Land
For as long as I can remember,
whenever my mom visits her sister in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador, she often comes back with a bag filled with some type of root vegetable, typically potatoes. They've never seen the inside of a grocery store and sometimes they still have a bit of soil clinging to them, which washes away easily enough before being cooked up for Sunday dinner.
We call them “Jim’s Potatoes,” after my uncle Jim Ade, a farmer from a long line of farmers. He’s lived his whole life on this one plot of land that’s been in his family for generations.
Forging Food Attitudes
Along Brookfield Road, about where St. John’s meets Mount Pearl and just a stone’s throw away from the busy road, are fields of green and swaths of earth covered in plastic sheets protecting the growing plants beneath, and long stretches of massive greenhouses.
This is Lester’s Farm Market. The Lester family has been providing food to the province for more than 160 years, making Susan Lester a sixth generation farmer. While she did work in other industries for a time, she eventually returned to the farm to continue the Lester legacy.
A Fresh Face in Farming
Right now, looking down at her field in Conception Bay South, Trina Porter has what she calls a grocery store in the ground. At her farm, she grows celery, cilantro, parsley, “real turnip” (different from rutabaga, which she also grows), as well as rhubarb, bok choy, lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, three varieties of winter squash, plenty of root vegetables and cabbage; basically, “whatever you put into your Jiggs dinner,” she adds.