The long lazy days of summer are becoming a distant memory, as a crispness begins to permeate the early morning and late evening air. Young kids are watching out for local RCMP bike patrols on their way to school, while the older ones who’ve just begun to drive are trying to keep their speed down in school zones. Hunters are cleaning out their rifles in anticipation of their favourite time of the year. And the valley’s few farmers are making their final harvests of the season.
The B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets has declared September 8th to September 15th as Farmers Appreciation Week, which is a worthwhile undertaking. Though farmers have never had it easy, the trend towards centralized food production has made life harder for them over the past half-century.
Long-hours of back-breaking work are the norm for any small or medium-sized farm enterprise trying to compete with the big boys of agricultural production. But by taking creative approaches, local farmers have captured the imagination (and discretionary spending) of many valley residents.
Just look at the crowds at the Invermere Farmers’ Market — it’s abundantly clear that many of us greatly appreciate the valley-grown and value-added products that originate in the soils of Windermere, on a farmer’s acreage in the Toby Benches, or elsewhere in the Upper Columbia region.
This coming Saturday marks the final farmers’ market of the season, one in which the vendors’ participation has increased so much that there’s been a waiting list for spots every weekend since the end of June. Of the 13 years over which the farmer’s market has been established here, it’s never been more popular.
For the most part, the market is successful because there are genuinely good local products on offer. Few people attend out of a sense of obligation to support local food security; many come because it’s a good way to eat well while supporting the producer directly.
So instead of sleeping in, take the time this Saturday to support local growers and say thanks by buying what they have to offer.