Eating local


There’s a great deal of personal background that goes into this meme.

Thanks, Meanwhile in Canada

I grew up in a community that had its share of farmers. I married the farmer’s daughter. I worked in the fields as a child and then as a teenager.

As a child, my family had a quarter of an acre of cucumbers and we were out two or three times a week to pick. It’s backbreaking work, picking them and placing them in your basket. When the basket was full, we’d get a break and take it to a burlap bag to dump them. When we were done, dad put the bag in the trunk of the car and we were off to the Bick’s sorting station at the train station. Watching your work getting sorted by this big conveyor belt and shaking device was fascinating. You got paid by the weight per category size from 1 to 6. 1s would become gherkins and paid the most. 6s were the biggest and became relish. The sweet spot seemed to be 3s and 4s which would be about the size of a regular pickle.

Later as a teenager, I became a farm hand which involved a whole lot of learning for this town kid. At the end of the experience, I can only recall thinking about how hard the work was. Not backbreaking like cucumbers but hot moving cattle around, ploughing fields, and so many other things that make farming work.

We have it relatively easy to access now – there are a couple of places to buy vegetables as we drive into town. They’re fresh off the land and not grown elsewhere in the world, packed with goodness knows what preservatives, and then shipped to Canada before being dispersed to stores.

Locally grown fruit and vegetables go through various periods. We’ve had radishes and lettuce for a while. But, yesterday, reminded me of good times to come. I was in Dresden (in Kent County) and driving home and noticed a couple of fresh corn stands being set up. Any time now! Apparently, Kent County has the very best and freshest corn – for our family reunion, the instructions were always not to boil the water until the corn had been picked. It was one of those folksy things since the reunion wasn’t even held in Kent County but it’s still a great story to hand on to!

Driving around Essex County lets me know how we’re truly the vegetable and fruit basket of the province. There are things growing everywhere and for year-round service, there are so many greenhouses, particularly in the Staples, Kingsville, and Leamington area. We have a huge one that just opened just down the road from us. It’s big business.

We do frequent these stands all the time but there are times when you do need to buy at a grocery store. We always look for the grown in Ontario labels and buy those whenever possible. It might make the different in financial survival to a neighbour but, at the least, it hasn’t had a long plane ride to get here.

OTR Links 07/19/2022


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