The Algoma Farmer’s Market opened the first Saturday in June and I’ve done my best to make it down there every Saturday morning this month.The market takes place at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion which is conveniently located right downtown by the St. Mary’s River and the Station Mall, an unfortunate city landmark. Thus far the availability of produce has been overall very minimal due to the area’s short and temperamental growing season, but the quality of the items and the friendliness of the vendors makes the trip to the market more than worthwhile.
Algoma farmers are accessible. They are a direct link between you and the food you eat, they are great story tellers and have endless tales about life on the farm and tips on how to improve your own garden. This Saturday I heard all about the ups and downs of greenhouses and overheard Melanie telling a customer that she didn’t have any butter tarts because there was no time to bake on Friday. She and her neighbours were busy moving a bull from one pasture to another.
While for the most part I tend to leave the market with only a cup of locally roasted coffee from St. Joe’s in one hand, a butter tart from Melanie or a cinnamon role from the Finnish baker in the other, and with a bag of lettuce or spinach over my arm, I always leave happy!
I’m happy to know that every effort to live locally and healthfully is important and well worth it. On the grand scale of things the amount of food and consumer products I buy that are actually local is very small. That said, I’m content knowing that I have made at least some effort to be conscientious of where and how I source my food. More than anything I’m happy that it is finally summer and that I can enjoy fresh produce and home baked goodies from Algoma farmers and that the veggies in my small potted garden are starting to come up.
The moral of the story? Be aware of your food choices but, don’t beat yourself up if you can’t always live like a pioneer. Most importantly be educated and know the facts, because when you do, you will automatically improve your consumer and dietary behaviour. The scale with which we successfully live a healthful life greatly depends on our environmental, familial and financial conditions, but knowing that you have options and that some are better than others allows you to establish your own set of values and principles to live by.