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market stories

Finally, a farm post!

The markets are in full swing right now. We’ve been fortunate to have great weather on market days this year, in spite of our relatively cool, wet summer. It’s a lot of work to schlep stuff like tables, tents and full coolers to market, but it’s one of my favourite things to do – after working hard in the greenhouse and fields to grow everything and keep the weeds & insects from taking over, it’s rewarding to take it all to market and have people come back every week to get more, and let you know how much they enjoyed everything.

peas

The market is also a place to make connections. A few weeks ago, an older man walked his bicycle up to my table and started asking me about the market – it was his first visit. As we chatted, another older man walked his bike over (yay bikes!) and asked me if we had any wild garlic. We don’t, but I showed him what garlicky stuff I could offer him, and the other guy turned and said “hey, I have tons of that stuff growing in my backyard.”

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a fish story

Here’s a story I wanted to share earlier that slipped my mind.

When I was in Ucluelet, I was chatting with one of the roommates of the person we stayed with, and found out that he works at a salmon farm. I told him (truthfully) that I had never visited a fish farm, and did he enjoy working there? The response I got was interesting and insightful. The company in question is one that’s striving to create a better living environment for the fish it farms; it uses an offshore, in-ocean pen (cage) system and doesn’t crowd so many fishes into each pen as some other farm do. The worker was pleased to know this, and also proud that the company avoided using antibiotics sub-therapeutically* (something that’s done to many different “food” animals who are raised in conventional systems.) (*This means feeding antibiotics frequently/routinely to animals who are not yet sick.)

Some things this person is unhappy with included observing the parasite load of the fishes in the pens and thinking about what impact that might have on the surrounding ocean ecosystem. He also felt conflicted over the way the fish were fed; their main source of food at the farm was herring (salmon are a carnivorous fish). He explained to me that he felt proud to work for a company that was trying to improve fish farm standards, but that this fact means the price of the salmon is high and thus only available to high-paying customers. Basically, the rich get to eat the salmon, the salmon eat herring (which could be feeding more people), and the area around the fish farm was potentially being affected by its presence in a negative way.

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