Wartime series helps recall memories

I have been watching episodes of Wartime Farm for the joy of finding out how things used to be done.

I have been watching episodes of Wartime Farm on Knowledge Network, fascinated as our whole family on a camping trip across Canada was fascinated by the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House in the Big Woods, Farmer Boy, Little House on the Prairie, etc.) and all for the same reason: the joy of finding out how things used to be done.

The wartime series brings back childhood memories of rations, powdered milk and eggs, special supplements for children, as well as my daddy not home.

The books give colourful accounts of making cheese, butchering pigs and the disaster of having to eat the seed corn.

I lived a comfortable life in a vast city, but still there were connections with where our food came from.

We could see the herds of cows in the farms just outside the city.

My mother bought lumpy, unsanitized vegetables from the greengrocers and raw fish from the fishmonger.

We sat down together to tasty, healthy dinners.

All this and much more is brought to mind as I watch the lively trio on Wartime Farm grapple with the realities of ramped-up local food production in a time of great danger.

I realize that it is mostly because I am grateful for the work of farmers that I prefer to buy from farmers’ markets.

Now that we have several established summer markets, interest is growing in the progress of Island Roots Co-op, our first year-round farmers’ market.

The co-op recently held its first open house at its location at 625 Townsite Rd. at the intersection with Millstone Road.

On the open house day, I saw veggies from Farmship Growers Co-op; oatmeal and flour from Sloping Hill Farm (they sell meat, too); beeswax candles; jewelry and ornaments made from silver spoons and other cutlery; gluten-free baking; condiments and chutneys and preserves; and organic, fair trade coffee.

Whole Hog Farm (wholehogfarm.ca) will sell and deliver veggie and fruit boxes, buffalo meat and a variety of gourmet foods.

Take Root Worm Farm will help improve soils. Ed’s Soup Shack Plus had soup mixes and other stuff and Rawkolates was on hand to satisfy other cravings.

Renovations have begun, and a mid-February event is possible. The next planned event is on March 15, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and the official opening will be on April 26.

The market will be open Tuesday through Saturday, with farmers and artisans on Tuesdays from 3:30-7 p.m. and Saturdays from noon until 4 p.m. In between, on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 6 p.m., volunteer Island Roots staff will manage sales. Parking is easy.

Now it’s over to us to buy those quality, local products for healthy meals and to ensure that the farmers stay in business.

Marjorie Stewart is board chairwoman of the Nanaimo Foodshare Society. She can be reached at marjorieandalstewart@shaw.ca.

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