Rose Simpson’s column appears Tuesday mornings on the OttawaStart Blog. She also blogs at Rose’s Cantina. You can read her previous columns here.
One of the great delights of life is to tool around to the different farmers’ markets, stalls and farms in search of autumn’s great bountiful.
This past Sunday didn’t disappoint.
I’d been hoping to make a cranberry-apple crisp for a birthday, and we scored some frozen ones at the Ottawa’s Farmer’s Market along with Carleton’s famous jerk rub. Oh yes, and being the farm girl from St. Catharines, how could I pass up the luscious concord grapes that had just arrived from Beamsville?
The corn proved a tad expensive, so we moved down to Cyrville Road where there’s a chipwagon and a fresh produce stand with corn from the countrified part of Quebec.
Why stop there? We head down Hawthorne Road to Kiwan Farm, an actual working farm just past Hunt Club Road. We used to get our stuff from across the road, but alas, poor old Ivor, who used to run Limeydale, was felled by a heart attack this year. His farm lays untouched, tractors unridden, crops untended.
How sad, I thought.
But life and farming goes on.
So Kiwan has become our go-to place. The produce is absolutely fresh and spectacular and it’s half the price of the market. We scored the biggest cabbage I’ve ever seen, bushels of tomatoes and peppers and fresh parsley, all for about twenty bucks!
The people who run the farm are from Lebanon and are very proud farmers.
We chatted for a bit, and the lady opened up a box reserved for their special clients.
She pulled out some sort of herb — she didn’t know what it was called in English — which apparently is God’s gift to the people of Lebanon and Egypt. It looked like sorrel; I’m going to look it up before I buy some so I can figure out exactly how to use it.
The nice lady farmer became wistful, talking about her homeland. Her husband described their village, which is in south Lebanon, as “paradise on Earth”. The couple then became quiet, thinking about the plight of their people living in a land without hopes and dreams, a place of death and destruction.
As we were driving back with our haul, I got to thinking how lucky we are to live in a city where you can drive a couple of kilometres down the road, past the A&W, past all the industrial sites and find yourself in another world, a place where people sit out on their lawn and cook their lunch, tend to their vegetables and sell them to people like us.
I can’t believe how much we take for granted.
The people who own Kiwan Farm don’t take one day for granted.
Not one cob of corn or pepper. Not a cabbage, or a tomato.
Not even a little herb that makes the kitchen smell wonderful.
What people a world away wouldn’t give to smell that herb, taste that tomato and go to sleep with a belly full.