Just a mile from my house is a restored Victorian general store. Just behind it is a conservation site with a leafy woods and an original but improved swimming hole pond. Rich with history the area once was the site of several mills and businesses. A community originally settled by Scottish and Pennsylvania Dutch( United Empire Loyalists) pioneers, it has retained its proud heritage well over the years. My Dad’s family traces it’s roots here to 1820 and I have both Scottish and Pennsylvania Dutch blood lines. It is a very nice place to live in and few take this blessing for granted. At this point I’d just like to tell you about the very tiny Coldstream Farmer’s Market that is held every Saturday, during the growing and harvest season, situated on a grassy clearing just behind the old Marsh Store.
The market opens about 9:30 am and is over, on the dot at 11:30 am. At the beginning of the season there might only be a couple of local vendors and a trickle of community folks coming to check out the goods and produce. After a few weeks with a little word of mouth advertising and a simple sign at the main road things start to pick up. This is the second year for the market and it seems to be really starting to catch on. An environmental group of volunteers host the market and insist on a few simple rules and criteria for the things sold at the market. The most basic rule is that the produce or goods must be local. The concept is something that I really enjoy and I just might be one of their best customers. As writing is more or less my thing I feel motivated to use my keyboard to share the local news of this nifty little farmer’s market held within the old woods of our community’s history.
Last week I arrived with two large shopping bags and could hardly carry them back to the car after merrily making my purchases. I see some folks shopping there with better self-control than myself but I just let loose and buy up scads of stuff. I enjoy cooking and eating and find it rather exciting to just experiment with the seasonal goodies available. This interest comes from my growing up on a farm locally and learning how to work with food creatively from my energetic mom.
The bounty that spilled onto my kitchen counters when I returned home was: maple syrup and maple sugar spread, cabbage, several varieties of peppers, potatoes, heritage and regular tomatoes, beets, green beans, buns, cookies, onions , garlic and sweet corn. I also bought a lovely necklace made by a young local designer! I resisted buying flowers, zucchini, and herbs as I have those at home in my own patch or available to me from my sister’s farm down the road. A couple of the neighbours have a table set up with conservation ideas and an impromptu garden advice talk was offered to anyone interested in self sufficiency. I hope the egg lady comes back next week as I always seem to miss her as she sells out fast. A young mom has a display of photography, handmade items and jewelery too. My neighbour sells fabric shopping totes as she visits with everyone coming and going.
After my shopping trip to the market I visit the local library just down the road and feed my need for good books as well. With a stocked up car of good things to eat and read I’m all set for the week ahead. Wonderful, wonderful food from the simple homegrown produce turns my summer into a time to nourish both body and soul. The smells that emanate from my tiny kitchen would make even Gordon Ramsey smile and jump for joy. The supply of good books from the library, including recipe books is just icing on the cake.
If you are driving through Coldstream, Ontario, Saturday morning, drop in and see our wee market, but don’t be late as the sign gets put away at 11:30 sharp and everybody goes home to eat all the good stuff. If you miss it just try again earlier next time! History repeats itself, every week, during the growing and harvest season.