Continuity and diversity in farm markets

Farm Market Report for August 18, 2015 Keith Helmuth

One of the good things about Woodstock and its surrounding area is the continuity of life and work that provides a real sense of community.    It’s true, changes are also continually taking place, but there is a real long-term continuity in the productive farm and forest land, in family and social relations, in business enterprise and cultural activities.    There’s an old joke about asking a Maritimer how things are going during a national economic depression. The answer? “I hadn’t noticed.” The point being, of course, that things are always a little on the down side in this region.

In the long run, that may be good position to be in considering what is happening to regions that have been booming and are now going bust. The   effect on communities that have come to depend on one major resource or industry is devastating. Diversity is the key to security in farming, in forestry, and in business development. We are fortunate to still have this diversity in our region.

A good example of how continuity works has recently been demonstrated at the Woodstock Farm and Craft Market. Mike and Essie Hutton, long time vendors at the Market, have sold their orchard farm in Knowlesville and moved to Saint Andrews for a well-deserved retirement.    The farm has been purchased by Grant, Dina, and Kevin Ealey. They have renamed the farm Knowlesbee Orchards.    The Ealey’s have picked up where Mike and Essie left off, including the farm’s stall at the Woodstock Farm Market. This continuity in change is a good thing for all concerned and the Market gives the Ealey’s a big welcome to the community. Dina Ealey has already done the training to   volunteer as a Market clerk and is now at the Market sales counter on Saturday. When you come in on Saturday be sure to get acquainted.

Another good sign of regional diversity is the number small community markets that operate seasonally up and down the valley. The Florenceville-Bristol Market is back in business on Thursday. Renee Sullivan has started a Saturday Farm and Craft Market at W.I. Hall in Simonds where you can get a good breakfast. Kerry O’Toole is carrying on the Grafton market at his studio workshop on Saturday as well.

In addition, there are now many impromptu farm and garden gate signs advertising produce for sale throughout the region. And there is Hunter’s farm outlet below Florenceville, Hilltop in Woodstock, and Livingston’s at Newberg. Such diversity is a good sign and it seems to be growing season by season.

The Woodstock Farm and Craft Market is open six days a week. Friday is the big produce day.