Appreciating our local artists and farmers
James Bay Market
By Jessica Duncan
Photos by Kate King
Last issue, my article featured the amazing craftspeople selling their wares at the James Bay Market. Art is important. It feeds our souls. It promotes our culture. It softens the heart. It builds community. I really cannot wax enthusiastically enough about the importance of supporting our local artisans.
Last August, I wrote this about our amazing farmers:
“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.”
Have you been enjoying the ever-abundant local harvests this summer? Each week I leave the market with more and more fresh, delicious produce, each item, selected from a different farmer to make sure my support is shared equitably among these people I call friends.
We all win when we buy our food directly from the producer. You, the consumer, wins by knowing that you are buying the freshest food from the person who produced it while keeping your money in your own community. The producer wins by cutting out the middleman, while developing relationships with their customers. The planet wins when we are not shipping produce from far away places.
But have you ever wondered what our lives would be like if we did not have these farmers in our midst? While we tend to take for granted that they will return year after year with an abundance of fresh food ready for us to consume, I know that, for myself, both my heart and my health would suffer without our local farmers. So many of us depend on them far more than we realize. Most of us probably buy from our local farmers because it makes us feel good and their produce is so fresh, but, if/when The Big One comes, we will be 100% dependent on these good folk to feed us. The term “food security” is frequently mentioned here on Vancouver Island. Food security is defined as “the state of having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food”. If or when that long-anticipated giant earthquake hits our region, we will, be cut off from the rest of the world and all the food that travels to us by ferry. It is at this point when we will truly appreciate our hardworking island farmers. If you are like me, you are always preparing for The Big One. One thing we can all do to make sure we have enough food when that time comes is to heartily support our local food producers now so that they are in a strong position to provide enough food when we become solely reliant on them for nourishment.
On September 7, you will have the opportunity to show your love and support to your local farmers at James Bay Market when we celebrate our annual Harvest Day. As always, we will be serving up boiled Saanich corn on the cob between 11am-2pm and there will be harvest-themed activities for the kids and some surprises for the rest of you.
If you are someone who really likes to plan ahead, be sure to also mark your calendar for our annual Dickens Fair on December 7. Watch for more details as winter approaches.
The James Bay Market is located at the corner of Superior and Menzies, and runs 9am-3pm every Saturday from May through to the end of September.
The James Bay Market would like to respectfully acknowledge that we are visitors on the unceded homelands of the Lekwungen speaking people of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations.