Seasonal Eating – It’s Always Worth the Wait
James Bay Market Society
By Jessica Duncan
I remember the year we started our market garden farm. My daughter was six years old and it was the end of summer. We had harvested the last of our own cucumbers, so I went to the grocery store and bought one. After a summer of eating cukes straight off the vine, my daughter sunk her teeth into the imported version, grimaced, and asked me what it was. Nothing beats freshly harvested produce! There’s no doubt about it; fruit and veg from your own backyard, or from just up the road is always worth the wait. With summer in full swing, the wait is over. Now is the season to rejoice in the bounties of the garden and fill your bags with the freshest produce gracing the tables at James Bay Market.
There are so many reasons why it is better to wait for produce to come into season and to buy it from your local farmers. Not only does locally grown, seasonal produce taste better than imported, but it is also better for you. Produce that is purchased in season is guaranteed to be fresher, consumed closer to harvesting and higher in nutritional value. The longer fruits and vegetables are stored for transportation, the more nutrients they lose, so it is always a better health choice to eat fresher food that hasn’t traveled far to reach your plate.
Eating seasonally also requires you to cook more which is an additional benefit for your health. Ditching the processed food for carefully prepared meals made with fresh produce is one of the kindest things you can do for your well-being. Cooking is also a great activity to do with your children, teaching them an incredibly important life lesson.
Eating seasonally is also better for the planet. The math isn’t hard when counting C02 emissions. You can indulge all summer long in guilt-free Saanich-grown berries, but those flown up from southern climes come with a hefty carbon price tag. At the James Bay Market, many farmers offer ‘spray-free’ produce, preferring a more environmentally friendly approach to growing. It’s easier to keep track of the environmental impact of your food when you actually know the grower.
Those growers you meet at the market are your neighbours. While you were sitting in the comfort of your home enjoying your Saturday morning coffee, the person handing you a bunch of carrots at the farmers’ market was out a few hours earlier harvesting them. Farmers’ market food comes with a friendly, recognizable face. When you buy seasonal produce directly from the farmers, you are actively choosing to support your own community. Every dollar spent at the farmers’ market is money going straight back into the local economy, that is money well spent. Everybody wins when we support our local producers.
But seasons come and seasons go. For the past 18 plus market seasons, anyone who has visited the International Women’s Catering Co-op at the James Bay Market will have been served by the hard-working Zoila, one of the three founding members of this wonderful food truck. While the International Women’s Catering Co-op can still be found at the James Bay Market, serving up their delicious cuisine from various regions of the globe, Zoila’s friendly face will no longer be seen as she commences a well-earned retirement. The James Bay Market community will certainly miss this market stalwart, but we wish Zoila the happiest retirement and thank her for being such a delightful member of our market.
The James Bay Market runs from 9:00am – 3:00pm every Saturday from May 5 through to September 29. We are located at the corner of Superior and Menzies. We hope you will come out to support your local farmers, producers and artisans, enjoy some delicious food and excellent live music.