Showing pride in potatoes
O’Leary hosts farmers award banquet as part of Potato Blossom Festival
A small but mighty town has recognized their farmers’ accomplishments.
O’Leary had lots to celebrate future farmers, hired hands and many milestones, to name a few.
Robert Irving, president of Cavendish Farms, as well as numerous other dignitaries acknowledged the quality of the produce and spirit of the community during the recent Farmers Award Banquest as part of the annual O’Leary Potato Blossom Festival.
“I can see a lot of pride in this town, and it’s because of the people in the community,” said Irving told the crowd gathered at the O’Leary Community Sports Centre.
The love for potatoes and hockey (O’Leary was recently named Kraft Hockeyville for 2017) is something the community and Irving have in common. Even the Zambonis have Cavendish french fries on it and what’s a hockey game without ‘rink fries’?
Families are at the centre of it all, and multi-generational family farms aren’t uncommon on the Island.
“Throughout Canada’s history the family farm has been at the heart of food production for our country,” said Irving.
One of those families was recognized as ‘Potato Producer(s) of the Year.’ J& J Smallman Farms is a fifth generation farm, Jason and Jeff Smallman have been farming together for 30 years on the family operation. The growing farm has not only expanded in acreage but also added a helping hand. Four years ago Jeff’s son Morgan joined the family business.
The farm has worked very hard to preserve and protect environmental initiatives and continues to join projects that keep environmental consciousness at the forefront.
Other awards handed out were, ‘Hired Hand’ to Jimmy McAssey, ‘Future Farmer’ to Colton Griffin, ‘Potato Ambassador’ to Emma Jean Griffin, and the ‘Irma Dumville’ award to Melissa Clements.
While it might be the farmers award ceremonies, everyone in the community was celebrated. Everything from Hockeyville voting, or the Mill River Experience winning burger love, to the O’Leary Senior Maroons hockey team’s big win. No recent accomplishment or milestone was left without praise.
Rural communities are strong and O’Leary is a good example of that, said Paul Jackson of the P.E.I Association of Exhibitions
“The spirit and heart of small rural communities like ours will not take a backseat to any city in this country.”
“The love for potatoes and hockey (O’Leary was recently named Kraft Hockeyville for 2017) is something the community and Irving have in common. Even the Zambonis have Cavendish french fries on it and what’s a hockey game without ‘rink fries’? Robert Irving
Award winners at the O’Leary Potato Blossom Festival Farmers’ Awards banquet included: Melissa Clements (left), Emma Jean Griffin, Colton Griffin, Jeff Smallman and Morgan Smallman. Missing from photo are Jason Smallman and Jimmy McAssey.