Photo: Chris M., Julie, Melanie and Chris K. mark the beginning of February by sorting through seed packs and seed catalogues in preparation for spring planting.
I recently wrote a short piece for the Haney Farmers Market newsletter, so I thought I’d repost it here for everyone to read. Email the market managers to be added to their newsletter mailing list to recieve regular info about upcoming market dates, events, and other local food news.
This Time Last Year (Reflections from a new Market Gardener)
As we prepare for our second year of market garden sales at the Haney Farmers Market, it’s pretty clear how much we’ve learned in 12 months. This time last year, we were filling out farmers market application forms for the first time, and anticipating with a mix of excitement and nervousness how we would display our labour-of-love produce in our very own market booth. We were jumping into the business with very little experience, but we knew that we wanted to share our garden surplus with others and that we wanted to take the first step towards making a living doing what we love.
Despite feeling totally inexperienced most of the time, our confidence in ourselves and our produce grew each week last year as shoppers-turned-friends returned to our booth regularly to buy our veggies and share with us self-saved seeds, jars of homemade pickled beans, and stories from their own garden beds. Other market vendors welcomed us by sending us home with gifted tubs of salsa, honey, and nuts. Farm vendors invited us into their homes and onto their land to share farming tips and garden-fresh meals with us. We realized that we were being welcomed into a very special community and for that, we were incredibly touched.
And now, as the calendar strikes February, we’re a little more organized and a little more knowledgeable. Seeds are already sprouting, new seeds are being ordered, cold frames are built, and garden beds are slumbering under layers of compost and mulch. Unlike last year, we plan on being market ready before July rolls around, and on growing more than just barely enough to fill a produce stand with.
Entering year two, we can’t wait to see everyone when the market re-opens this spring, but until then, happy February! It won’t be long before the rain stops, the days get even longer, and downtown Maple Ridge becomes, once again, a smorgasbord of local, fresh food.