Looking for Local Foods this Season? By Jessica Knodel, Cariboo Growers Growing season has officially begun. After a long snowy winter, fresh local food is available again in Williams Lake. But where to go? There are multiple local options, most notably the three local markets which include: Cariboo Growers Farmers’ Co-op, Friday Farmers’ Market in Boitanio Park, and Oliver Street Market. At all three venues you will find fresh foods, local producers, and a great atmosphere.
At Road’s End: Confessions of a farmer By Terri Smith
When are they open? The Farmers’ Co-op, Cariboo Growers, is open four days a week, all-year long, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. As a not-for-profit co-operative, multiple producers work as a big team. It is designed to be the place you can go at anytime of the year to find as much local food as possible (including meats) and everything is grown organically and/or in a healthy sustainable manner. The Fridays Farmers Market in Boitanio Park is the oldest of the three. The Market runs Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the park from May 9 to Oct 10. There are farmers, ranchers, and local artisans selling their products, entertainment, and mobile food vendors offering a yummy bite to eat. Multiple farmers bring multiple seasonal choices and you will see familiar local faces on a weekly basis. The Oliver Street Market, which moved last year, is the only market open in the evening every Friday night in Courthouse Square from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the corner of Oliver & 1st Ave. from May to October. There are local farmers, ranchers, artisans, mobile food vendors, fresh coffee, and there is music and activities for children. It feels like an event downtown where everyone is welcome to buy, eat, or even just hang-out. Enjoy this season of green and all the local foods the beautiful Cariboo has to offer... see you at the Co-op!
Digging Potatoes By Linda Purjue Winner for the Cariboo Region in the BC Farmers’ Market Association Poetry contest. I know where a treasure lies As golden as the dawning skies, As white as pearls from salty seas: I’ll show you it, if you please. Come, follow me with your spade and pail we’ll wander along the garden trail, through the gate with the rusty latch, into yonder garden patch. Dig here, I say, beneath this mound; Here the treasure will be found; More precious than a rajah’s gems, You’ll find beneath these wilting stems. Carefully dig and lift the soil; Here’s a reward for all your toil; Russet brown encasing gold, A precious treasure, as I told. Come, fill your pail then off we’ll trot to the kitchen and a good big pot. We’ll roast our find with butter sweet Then share with all this wondrous treat.
Some of last summer's bounty; love of food is the reason I farm. Photo: <oemie Vallelian
t’s unusually chilly for being almost May. We’ve spent weeks now preparing the expansion of the garden for the coming season. The old fence has come down and the new one now encompasses an area that will be three times the size of my original garden. I love this new expanse of fenced ground. I love walking through it and imagining what will soon be growing. It feels like being somewhere new and I am looking forward to being somewhere new. I’m not entirely sure that I’m cut out for life as a farmer, longing as I always do for new horizons. I’ve never been good at staying in one place for more than a few years so perhaps moving into more space will satisfy my restless spirit for another few years while I figure out how to do this thing that I do. Don’t get me wrong; I love this life that I’ve chosen. But it is not without its frustrations and its heartaches. There are also the backaches, knee aches, shoulder aches, and wrist aches that wake me up at night with either a burning pain or a freezing numbness. I have been here at Road’s End for five years now. I am 32 years old. I know that something’s got to give because to continue thus would be madness. Madness is part of why I came here in the first place. You have to be a bit crazy to drop everything and become a farmer. It’s not that I didn’t know what I was doing. I was raised here. I grew up out of doors. I know this work. I love this work. The difficult thing is not that it is hard work; the difficult thing is that it is not valued enough. We all need to eat. Why, then, can farmers barely afford to live? My mom and I spoke of this the other day. She pointed out that you’ll never hear a doctor say, “I think I’m going to have to go to work at the mill so I can afford to keep practicing medicine.” Or a lawyer lamenting, “It looks like I’ll have to go back to the mine so I can keep my law practice going.” And yet farmers can rarely afford to farm and almost always work another job so that they can afford to keep farming. Why? Why would anyone do this?! Here’s why I do it: After a day of pounding posts by hand we rolled out the salvaged rolls of page wire and untangled the one rusty strand of barbed wire running through it. Everything takes longer than you think it will and when the materials are all salvaged and recycled it takes even longer. I had nightmares about rusty wire all week. My pants ripped where the barbs kept catching at the fabric and, even though I was careful, I
still ended up bleeding from more than a few scratches. Earlier that morning, as we twisted a thick branch into the bracing wire to tighten it, my chin somehow got in the way and the force it hit with temporarily knocked my jaw out of line. It was my own fault; the branch was from a freshly cut poplar tree and smelled so fresh and spring-like that I was inhaling its wonderful scent when my assistant let go of the other end. He felt bad; I felt stupid. My jaw didn’t line up again till the next evening. But then, at the end of the day, wondering if any vegetables survived the winter, I walked into last year’s garden with a digging fork and discovered carrots, parsnips, purple potatoes, and red onions all of which were still as fresh as they had been last fall. I stopped at the greenhouse and did a quick weeding, collecting a bowl full of young lamb’s quarter and chickweed, then visited the spring that runs by the house to add some fresh watercress to the greens. That night was the smallest meal the three of us had eaten all week and yet it was the most satisfying. We roasted the vegetables on the barbeque and I made a dressing of egg yolk, garlic, lemon, and oil for the greens. We still don’t have a root cellar and all winter we have eaten large meals made with grocery-store organic produce and never felt full, but this night we had a small plate each and felt wonderfully satiated. This is why I farm. There is nothing left to nourish a body in most food. The methods of production that have led people to believe growing food can now be mostly automated have also left us with food that has no vibrancy, no flavour, and few nutrients. We have become a continent of malnourished fat people. Ironic, really, since our media suggests we should all aspire to be well-fed skinny people. In any case, my passion is good food and though I fear I may be slightly delusional, I’m going to keep growing and I’m going to keep trusting that one day soon farmers will be valued enough that they will be able to stop working other jobs to support their farming habit. Terri and Amadeus the goat run Road's End Vegetable Company and at least one of them can be found each week from June-October at the Oliver Street Market and during the winter at Cariboo Growers' Coop. Email Terri at email@example.com or for more about the farm and Amadeus like Road's End Vegetable Company on Facebook.
TheGreenGazette June / July 2014