Friday, May 04, 2007

Farmers' market lunch break

The Nanaimo Farmers' Market has been running for a few weeks now and today I finally managed to pop down for some lunch time grocery shopping. The market runs on Fridays from 10am to 2pm beside the Bastion on Front Street. Amongst all the craft tables you'll find locally raised poultry, meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit and garden seedlings. It's a great way to get your 100 Mile Diet produce.

I wandered down on foot with my backpack and came back with this 100 Mile Diet bounty:

A huge head of red lettuce, an English cucumber and chocolate and white bell peppers! I didn't even know you could get chocolate brown peppers. They're gorgeous and glossy and actually look like they could have come from a chocolatier's veggie patch ;)
The farmer says that they're sweet like the red bell peppers. I can't wait to play with my food!
For a list of Mid-Island Farmers' Markets and other farm-related events click here

Have a great weekend.


Nanaimo 100 Mile Diet Challenge

1 comment:

anna said...

Hey Jen!

I'm just catching up on reading your blog.

I hate lawns too. I'm busy turning mine into a teeny urban farm :)

The yarn looks beautiful!

Rhubarb is wonderful, and totally seasonal . . . but I'm going to challenge you on the "local" nature of cucumbers and bell peppers at this time of year. In order for these vegetables to be produced, in April-May, on the wet coast, they absolutely *must* be in heated greenhouses. In most cases, this means hydroponics, which isn't at all organic and means huge amounts of water, and effluent.

And even if there are soils, and these and the pest controls are organic (and yes, pest control in a greenhouse is a huge issue) the amount of fossil fuel necessary to produce the heat necessary for these kinds of vegetables is enormous (in our climate, english cukes are actually a bit chancy in the field, during wetter, cooler summers).

And then there's the issue of light--grow lights to produce these vegetables and ripen them on an industrial scale also take a huge amount of energy.

And then there's water. Lots and lots of water. Greenhouses don't generally use rainwater collection.

Just because it's at the local farmer's market doesn't mean it was truly "local," in the way that the 100 Mile Diet tends to insist we think about things. I'd be inclined to ask the seller where the greenhouse is, too--the greenhouse itself may be more than 100 miles away (though it may not be).

For me, anything grown in a hot house isn't "local" because the energy saved by producing it locally is spent (probably doubly spent) in creating artificial conditions to grow the food in. I think what the 100 mile diet is really asking us to do is to work with the planet, not against it, which means eating *in* season. Peppers and cukes are late-summer veg. What's really in season right now, besides rhubarb, are things like broccoli (especially sprouting) and members of that family like cauliflower, kales, collards; lettuces, spinach, and mixed salad greens if grown early and under cover so they didn't drown; early pea shoots (not the peas); and over-wintered root crops like beets, carrots, and parsnips. Let's see--what else--all of the perennial greens, like perpetual spinach/swiss chard, salad burnet, sorrel, bunching onion, good king henry, parsley, fennel, perennial arugula, chives--that sort of thing.

There's lots to choose from, but I'd really challenge the notion that bell peppers and cukes are part of the spirit of the 100 mile diet at this time of year. They're kind of like strawberries in March--about 4 months early.