Halloween hasn’t even come and gone; it’s at least a month until Thanksgiving. Right? Not in the Great White North! Aside from dates, it’s the same thing: gobble down turkey, put way too much stuffing on your plate (the best part!), mingle with distant cousins, eat left-overs for three days…. After not being in my home country for two years, I guess I’m a bit excited about the little things!
Although I’ve always been fond of a feast (who isn’t?) I never realized how much of a treat it is choosing your ingredients; this is where you can go big-box or support local farmers.
A few days ago, I was brought to what might be the coolest road-side veggie patch. A group of us rolled into a small parking lot on the Eastside of Kelowna BC, meandered through a makeshift hay gate and started to smell and touch everything in site. The deep-violet eggplants were sitting pretty in a wicker basket, hot chilli peppers gleamed in the Autumn sun and beds of herbs were spread out amongst robust squash.
After marvelling at all the hand-grown veggies, I started thinking to myself: “Where do you make a purchase? Actually…. I haven’t seen a single person working here.” That’s when I saw the small bird house saying “Place payment here, take change if needed” beside a large bowl of quarters, loonies and toonies (the crazy way of saying one and two-dollar coins). Now that’s neighborhood friendliness! It made the whole experience of shopping for Thanksgiving more enjoyable and authentic.
I had to do some research and find more places like it; ones where you can treat yourself to a unique experience while also supporting local farmers. Here are just a few that stand out:
Fresh From the Farm in Ontario partners with Amish and Mennonite Farmers to bring together rural food producers and urban consumers.
Open since the 70s, Withrows Farms has expanded to three locations across Nova Scotia.
Paynter’s Fruit Market has been around for over 60 years in British Columbia and offers “U-pick seasonal fruits.”
Many provinces as well as states in the US will have their own website for tracking down farms, orchards and fresh veggies in your area; something like Get Local BC. Supporting local can be as big as FarmAid and the “growing ‘goodfood’ movement” or as simple as getting fresh veggies to your door.
If you don’t already, try giving thanks for one more thing this holiday: fresh, fabulous food practically grown in your own backyard!