Local plums, beans, honey, and wine
Sometimes we have to sacrifice some of the pleasures in life to do the right thing — but how fun is that?
For me, it’s about the sweet tooth. Sure, I’m game to take on Richmond’s second annual Local Eating Challenge, which is happening this week. This means myself and supporters of Richmond Food Security Society (RFSS) are eating only produce grown here on Lulu Island, meat raised by Richmond’s farmers, and fish sold at the Steveston docks in order to raise money to support food security in Richmond.
Why are we doing this?
Local eating supports local farmers and helps protect our farmland, is healthy as food is fresh harvested and unprocessed, and gives us the chance to learn about and influence how our food is grown. Our food system is complex, and reaches deep into everything from nutrition to climate change, social justice to economics, real estate and poverty. The Local Eating Challenge is a way to look closely at how our own food choices — and we all eat — feed into these issues.
Still, the question persisted, where am I going to get my honey, given that the early growing season has affected this year’s honey harvest? In fact, the beekeeper from The Sharing Farm may not harvest honey this year as the season is so early and she was nervous the bees won’t have enough for themselves. Last weekend, she scrounged up a small amount to get me started, but the hunt was on not just for honey but everything else I would need to feed myself for the week.
Looking for the widest variety of foods I could find, I spent most of a day driving from farm to farm with a copy of Richmond’s Local Eating map by my side.
I started shopping at Rabbit River Farms for a flat of free range organic eggs, then went to The Fowl Farmer for chicken. At W and A Farms I stocked up on beef, beets, carrots, and potatoes, and took a side trip to go see the Black Angus cows grazing nearby.
Then, it was off to Canada Berries for wine. Thanks to their case-load sale, I am fully stocked for the week with blueberry, cranberry, and blackberry wines all made with Richmond grown fruit.
I had high hopes on the way to West Coast Bee Supply for honey, but sadly their Richmond honey won’t be available until next week so I was still looking ahead to an unsweetened week.
Next stop was Richmond Country Farms for fruit and vegetables. They had four kinds of home grown melons, strawberries, peas, and corn. They also just opened Country Vines, a winery selling a range of wines including one made with Richmond grown grapes. Their Back Forty Pinot Gris is a great addition to my menu.
I was still on the hunt for honey and a facebook shout out brought me to Yummy Yards. The farmer kindly offered to extract some fresh honey for me and was able to get a few tablespoons out, though he was stung twice in the process. They did have some onions and spinach which I added to my load.
On Sunday I went to The Sharing Farm’s Annual Garlic Fest and found green beans, cabbage, salad greens, and peppers.
Finally, a backyard beekeeper heard my plight and left a jar of Richmond honey on his porch in Vancouver for me. With a fridge full of meat and produce, and now this honey, I think I’ll do alright.
I should add, we are allowed three exceptions to accommodate dietary needs and to facilitate cooking. Most people have chosen a cooking oil, a grain, and something for flavour (like salt), but others chose essentials like coffee and cream. I suppose I could have made honey one of my three exceptions, but where’s the challenge in that?
All funds raised go directly to supporting RFSS’s work in growing a robust local food system. Donate here: http://raiseathon.ca/richmondeats and follow us on facebook (@RichmondFood) and Twitter (@rfoods) to join the conversation.