Three Cheers for the Farmers!
By Jessica Duncan
Photos by Kate King
If you’ve ever grown food you will know it is, in equal measures, science, hard work, optimism and luck. The growing conditions have to be right. The soil’s pH has to be perfect for each specific crop. Some plants require sun, some require shade. Some are thirsty, some like it dry. Even if you fully understand the science behind converting a packet of seeds into a table full of food, things don’t always work out. Every seed that is planted is a tiny grain of optimism, dreams of amazing things to come. You work hard all season nurturing, watering, weeding, and if Lady Luck is looking after you and your garden, you will be eating like a king. If she turns her gaze away, however, you will be heading down to the supermarket to forage for your next meal.
Of course, if you haven’t grown it yourself, you can rest assured that a farmer has been involved in the production of pretty much everything you sink your teeth into. Coleslaw with your fish and chips? A farmer was involved. Blueberry muffins? A farmer made it happen. Granola with your yogurt? An army of farmers provided the raw materials. Whether we are buying carrots from the farmers’ market, coming face to face with the grower, or buying it from the store, the farmer remaining forever unknown to us; we are all beholden to these amazing humans who consistently work their own magic to keep us fed.
Every year, I am in awe of the farmers who sell their wares at the James Bay Market. From early May when they are showing up with a few salad greens and mainly starter plants, through the weekly appearance of more and more fruits and vegetables, and right into the height of the season when eggplants, zucchini, tomatoes and garlic, and berries abound, our resident farmers work non-stop all spring, summer and fall, planting, growing, weeding, harvesting, packing and selling the food we love so much. Most of them are vending at three or four markets a week this time of year as their gardens explode with deliciousness. And then, just before market season winds down for another year, it is time for the community to come together to celebrate the harvest we have all enjoyed so thoroughly.
We love our farmers at the James Bay Market, so on Saturday, September 8 we will be celebrating them with our annual Harvest Day celebration. This event is always great fun for the whole family and the entire community. As in previous seasons, starting at 11 am, we will be having a corn boil, loads of activities for the children, and everybody’s favourite “chicken lady” Marilyn Soames with her popular chickens that children (and adults!) can pet. Free draws will take place throughout the day. Mark your calendar, and be sure to thank your favourite farmers when you visit James Bay Market on September 8.