Saturday, June 25, 2011

The cost of local

I needed some fruit and vegetables today and since I had several other things on my shopping list (and seeing as I had no idea it was the NO TAX event at Superstore and therefore packed to the hilt) I headed over to No 3 Rd to Superstore (aka Stupidstore).  I only shop there occasionally and every time I do I remember why I don't do it more often.  It was especially crazy today as people eagerly embraced the No HST marketing ploy.

I got most of the things on my list from baby clothes, to kleenex, to candy, a good deal on steak, some prawns for dinner and a pizza for $5 for dinner in the busy week ahead.  I then headed over to the fruit and veg.  I looked up and down the aisles hoping to find local fruit.... I know....I should have known better than to even try......there was produce from Mexico, Florida, Guatemala, Hawaii, Spain....... and many items whose place of origin was not identified.

I bought two items I knew I could not source locally.......and then we headed out to the farm stalls off Steveston Hwy which this week showed signs the strawberries were in season - YAY!  We are BIG consumers of strawberries as we eat about one and half to two cups in our smoothies every morning for breakfast.  We wanted to scoop up as many local berries as we could and freeze them. 

I headed down McKenzie Rd to JS Nature Farms in the Green Barn at the very end of the road where an older lady Susanne (?) is the principal farmer carrying on after her husband died a few years ago.  Today her son and grandson were helping her out.  ALAS the section of counter where the strawberries should be was bare, already cleaned out by earlier birds than I.  I expressed my dismay and she said not to worry some were just coming in from the fields and her son would weigh them for me if I waited a minute.  I used the time to visit the fridge at the back of the barn for some brown eggs that have the darkest yellow yolks and are SO delicious.

Within a few minutes I had three boxes of strawberries which she quaintly wrapped in newspaper and 1 dozen eggs and I handed over $23 and headed out of the door.

The smell of strawberries fresh from the soil filled the kitchen.  Lindsay and I pinched off the green stalks, washed them, of their dirt and dried them in the sun before packaging them up for the freezer.

It has been a dismal year for local farmers as this article   from last October so clearly articulates.  Further to this we have had the wettest Spring on record so their woes have only worsened.

I was so glad to be able to buy from this local farmer today and now having read this article I am even more determined to support our local farmers.   Richmond is so lucky to have produce grown so close to home and we should embrace that as a gift and appreciate it.

You may pay a buck or two more for a box of local strawberries and they may look a bit funny and be a variety of sizes and shapes but nothing can come close to their sweetness.  I guess that's what happens when the journey from farm to table is 5 minutes rather than 5 weeks and 5000 miles.

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