David-Hinksby David Hinks

What better way to enjoy a Saturday morning than to head down to the Almonte Farmers’ Market; buy some very fresh veggies, maybe some home-baked butter tarts and check out art and pottery and get gardening advice from a local Master Gardener. All of this on a gorgeous misty morning as the sun is breaking through in beautiful historic downtown Almonte. Following are a few snapshots from Saturday including one where local gardener extraordinaire Ed Lawrence appears to be confounded by a gardening question.

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IIMG_3346I had the privilege to participate in the Ag Awareness activity at the Carp Fair on Friday morning as nine classes of Grade 4 students listened to presenters at nine different stations ranging from beekeeping, making maple syrup, raising pigs and of course growing vegetables. After interacting with 300 kids over the course of two hours I became convinced that no amount of pay is enough for our teachers!

I was very pleasantly surprised by the number of children who have had exposure to growing vegetables and are very much aware of the benefits of growing food in their own garden. Responses to why it is beneficial to grow our own food even though it involves a lot more work than going to the grocery store, included:

  • The food is much fresher
  • There are no pesticides or chemicals
  • A lot cheaper

The gardening cleanup is proceeding. I finally found time this week to trim and clean up those garlic bulbs that have been hanging patiently in the garden shed. The onions were also cleaned up; tops were snipped and put in boxes for winter storage.

The end of the Great Veggie Grow-off is coming up fast! The final weigh-in and crowning of the victor will take place October 11, at 10:30 am at the Carleton Place Farmers’ Market. It is the final day of the market and it corresponds with World Food Day. To date over 1,400 pounds of food has been donated to our local Food Bank. Many gardeners are now harvesting potatoes and squash – I am sure that 2,000 pounds is attainable!! Our efforts have even attracted the attention of the United Nations!

The launch of the Veggie Grow-off took place May 1 in Augusta Park in Almonte. The Neighbourhood Tomato Community Gardens in Mississippi Mills, and the Community Gardens at St.Gregory’s Next Door in Carleton Place, challenged the towns of Beckwith, Carleton Place, and Mississippi Mills to see which town could grow the most local produce for the Lanark County Food Bank in 2014.

Bring your bags and armfuls of produce to the Food Bank at 5 Allan Street in Carleton Place and make sure that it is weighed and credited to Mississippi Mills. The Food Bank is open Tuesday 9am to noon, Wednesday 7 to 9 in the evening, Thursday 9am to noon and Friday 9am to noon. Try to drop it off first thing in the morning if possible.