Saturday September 25th “At the Farm Gate” held its first ever Fall Harvest Market in Onanole at the Onanole Recreation Centre as part of the Sonics and Sojourns Festival. This regional market had fourteen vendors with a variety of products from Alpaca winter woolly mittens, scarves, and toques (as well as, the cutest alpaca wool teddy bears that were way too hard to resist once you felt how soft these furry creatures were) to handmade soaps and lotions that smelled heavenly and helped with an assortment of maladies, to garden fresh veggies including carrots, beets and buttercup squash,. All the products were made, created, grown, raised, or produced locally within or very close to the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve.
“At the Farm Gate” is a regional virtual farmers and artisan market whereby small farm families and artisans in the Biosphere Reserve can link to folks would like to purchase locally made and grown products. We’ve been working on this project for the last year in order to promote and highlight products that are made locally and to encourage our neighbours and visitors alike to buy local and support their local farm families and artisans. “Made in Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve” means that fewer miles and less gas are needed to get the corn from the garden to your soup pot or the vivid pink crocheted hat from the artist’s needles to your child’s curl tousled head. This not only means less CO2 emissions and cleaner air but also real, honest, fresh from the farm goodness in every forkful of locally grown apple pie, or spoonful locally picked high bush cranberry jelly, as well as pastured pork and chicken and grass fed beef grown and raised right here in the Biosphere Reserve.
Hundreds of folks from far and near came to sample jellies and bread, try out lime scented body scrubs, sniff sweet smelling soy candles, pick out the perfect bracelet and necklace and browse the regional cookbooks. Another of the highlights of the Fall Harvest Market had to be the demonstrations and presentations. Leaning firsthand how Lorraine and Joe Poitras brought Wild Joes Jelllies to life, their successes and their trials and sampling the “fruits” of their labors brought home the need to save our wild spaces including fence rows and road allowances where remnants of a vast and rich bio-diverse wild fruit population still exist. Wes Huyghe of Little Path Farm showed off his culinary skills and knowledge of a wide variety of veggies while preparing a succulent squash bake with walnuts, raisins and maple syrup and Chef Rob Hume from the Elkhorn Resort delighted the audience with a wonderful garden burger showing how veggie burgers can be a delicious addition to anyone’s menu including die hard meat enthusiasts. Rob added a variety of toppings including bacon, smoked garlic sausage, cheddar and blue cheese for a total taste treat.
At the Farm Gate Market Recipes
A successful project – undoubtedly! A successful market – most definitely! The first of similar markets – stay tuned!
To get involved with or find out more about the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve “At the Farm Gate” project please contact Valerie at [email protected] or call 204-636-2085.