Wide variety of shopping options now available to the rural community
In the early 1900s, there were limited ways for rural families to purchase the items they could not produce themselves. Some of these basic food staples were sugar, flour, salt, pepper, syrup, coffee, tea and spices for pickling and preserving.
How families bought such things depended on the money they had to spend and when they could get into town.
Going into town to buy supplies would have been by walking, horse-drawn buggy or wagon, and sometimes, train travel. The widespread use of automobiles would only gradually come into being after several more decades.
Weeks of rain could often turned flooded dirt roads into thick mud. Under such conditions, a horse and wagon would have more traction than the new automobile which needed better roads and drier conditions.
Each trip, even to the nearest small town, could take most of a morning or afternoon and that would be time lost from farm work and chores. Such a trip was often carefully planned in advance.
Sometimes it was necessary to go to town unexpectedly, because a piece of broken farm equipment had to be replaced or repaired at the blacksmith’s shop. Living in rural areas was often an isolated way of life.
Part of a farm family’s income often came from the efforts of the mother and the children.
Mother was usually the person who tended a flock of chickens and prepared the eggs for sale to a store in town. She also made cream or butter from the cows’ milk which she also sold the same way. The children helped gather eggs, milk the cows, separate cream from milk and churn butter to sell, as well as for the family’s own use.
Father was often working in the fields with the horses, tending the other animals or maintaining the equipment needed to plant, maintain and cultivate the crops on the farm.
At the general store in town, a family received cash or credit for their dairy products and eggs. What was available at such a store was not always what the family needed or could afford.
Oh how times have changed, with farming families now able to make the most of rural delivery and purchase online, and most are within driving distance to their nearest town or city. Shopping today now offers a greater choice, wider variety, competitive prices and convenience to its rural customers.
Busy farming families can also benefit from longer opening hours (late night and weekend shopping), in order to make their purchases. Newspaper advertising and glossy flliers through the mail, add further assistance to the rural shopper.
With Christmas just around the corner, the busy farmer can make the most of the opportunities available to him/her to ensure the family have a happy and enjoyable Christmas season. Get your wish list written, sort out where you need to go and organise a trip to your local stores in order to avoid the Christmas rush. You will be pleased you did.