Well things certainly have changed lately, haven’t they? Summer is seen as the time for buying fresh produce, flowers and baked goodies from farmers markets, roadside stands, county fairs and festivals. As the worldwide situation unfolds around us, one entity is unaware of all this upheaval in our lives: nature’s harvest. Nature, thankfully, goes about her business and keeps providing us with the healthy and nutritious bounty we crave at this time of year… with a big helping hand from the farmers, producers, artists and artisans, of course!
So, now what to do? How do we get our hands on summer’s gifts from the earth? Since most large gatherings are still frowned upon, we will need to get a little more creative with our sleuthing, and even go directly to the source.
—If you attended a particular Farmers Market in your area, visit their website for information about possible smaller upcoming events respecting social distancing, or how to reach the vendors that normally sell there. Often links are provided to the individual vendors’ websites.
—The tourism offices of the region, in support of their local farmers and producers, should be able to guide you as well. Developments and updates are frequent, so check websites regularly.
—Several farms themselves have modified their vending habits, and temporarily offer online orders, with curbside pickup or delivery. There is often a sign, or even a stand at the road, so be ready to drop in if the sign says OPEN!
—Consider transformed products. Instead of letting the harvest go to waste, transformation by way of cooking, baking, preserving and freezing saves the day! In other words, if the berry farm wasn’t able to get all of their fresh fruit to market, it is likely that the fruit is now to be found in jams, jellies, and pies. These will then find their way into local stores and shops, and be available for months to come. It is never too late to support the local agricultural and artistic community, so look for ‘Made by ____’ or ‘Made in _____’ labels.
—Neighbourhood grocery stores have a tendency to carry local offerings at this time of year, for obvious reasons. It’s fresher, and easier on the environment. And if the sales are good, the store will be motivated to carry goods from that specific local supplier on a regular basis.
Lastly, spread the word! If you have found a treasure trove of natural produce and products, get the word out. Either directly, or through social media, let as many people as possible know about the source, the hours of operation, anything that can give a hand to these very busy farmers and producers.
Nature’s fresh summer bounty and the people who work so hard to get it to us deserve our support and help, especially this year.