Savour Its ...............................

Savour - - SUMMER CONTENTS - By Roslyne Buchanan

What’s Hot at the Farm­ers’ Mar­kets this Sea­son?

More, more, more is what’s hot at Bri­tish Columbia’s farm­ers’ mar­kets. We love them whether it’s one of the old­est at Arm­strong, in an ur­ban set­ting in Van­cou­ver or Vic­to­ria, or at a re­sort lo­ca­tion such as Sun Peaks or Whistler. In a pro­ject called the “Eco­nomic and So­cial Ben­e­fits of Farm­ers Mar­kets in BC,” Dr. David Connell of the Univer­sity of North­ern Bri­tish Columbia col­lab­o­rated with the BC As­so­ci­a­tion of Farm­ers’ Mar­kets. In a 2006 re­port the re­search showed con­tri­bu­tions of $118.5 mil­lion an­nu­ally to our econ­omy. Of that, $65.3 mil­lion was spent di­rectly at the mar­kets and $53.2 mil­lion was spent at neigh­bour­ing busi­nesses. Mar­ket afi­ciona­dos know that the value goes be­yond eco­nomic im­pact. The culi­nary and health ben­e­fits of get­ting to know lo­cal farm­ers and pro­duc­ers, learn­ing about the sources of our food, and gath­er­ing sea­sonal pro­duce in peak con­di­tion are also key ben­e­fits. Once you’ve ex­pe­ri­enced the earthy scent, vi­brant colours, tex­ture and taste of fresh greens, radishes or car­rots plucked from the ground just that morn­ing, it’s hard to go back to con­sum­ing their mass-pro­duced and long-hauled pale cousins. The BC As­so­ci­a­tion of Farm­ers’ Mar­kets op­er­ates the Farm­ers’ Mar­ket Nu­tri­tion and Coupon Pro­gram as a col­lab­o­ra­tive ini­tia­tive funded by Healthy Fam­i­lies BC. The pro­gram of­fers low-in­come fam­i­lies and se­niors who are en­rolled in par­tic­i­pat­ing pro­grams the op­por­tu­nity to taste the dif­fer­ence of lo­cally pro­duced food. Coupons may be re­deemed for el­i­gi­ble prod­ucts in­clud­ing fruit, veg­eta­bles, meat, fish, nuts, dairy and fresh cut herbs. Par­tic­i­pants also learn how “to cook healthy, nu­tri­tious meals us­ing lo­cally pro­cured farm prod­ucts” through cook­ing and skill-build­ing ses­sions. Farm­ers’ mar­kets help to re­duce our en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print by pro­vid­ing ac­cess to lo­cally pro­duced food and cut­ting down on pack­ag­ing. Add to that the pure joy of con­nect­ing with our com­mu­nity and it’s lit­tle won­der we want more.

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