#OurFoodHasAStory Post 3: Candace By, An Agriculturalists Living in the City

Today’s guest post is from Candace By, someone I would call an agriculturist – someone who works in agriculture, although they may not actively farm themselves. I am always interesting in people’s opinions on food and farming from those who do not raise food themselves, yet have a close relationship with those who do.  I hope you enjoy her Saskatchewan Food Story as much as I did! 

Follow Candace on Twitter at @ByCandace and see her work at Charolais Banner here

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Being raised on a mixed farm provided me with a broad spectrum of food experience. We had our own beef, our own chickens, and a large garden for canning and freezing the fresh tastes of summer.

I have lived in the city now longer than I lived on the farm. When we first bought our house I was excited to plant a garden, albeit a small garden. I planted it with the faith of all gardeners and a mouth watering for fresh home-grown tomatoes I would undoubtedly enjoy later. Our beautiful yard did not lend itself well to tomatoes. The heavy clay soil and strong canopy of shade provided by an over abundance of trees, just didn’t grow tomatoes.

Being the optimist I am, I thought I would try something different the next year. Zucchini appeared to be the solution. Who can’t grow zucchini? Apparently our yard can’t. With all of the care and watering, we still received no zucchini to feast upon. 

The decision was simple – unless we moved or took out a ton of trees, we would have to rely on the farmers of the area for our fresh, home-grown summer flavours. We are fortunate to live in a city that has a Farmer’s Market twice a week and a Market Garden that is open every day of the week.

We support the people who make a living growing the produce we enjoy. We admit they have the land prepared for the venture. They know the companion crops that work best. They bring it to our city and we willingly pay for its goodness.

Although I may not be able to grow a garden, I still take pride in cooking my food the farm way– from scratch. It never ceases to amaze me how even the simplest meal can receive rave reviews from our city friends. I often wonder why? They want to know what I put in my hamburgers. What is the secret ingredient in my fruit crisp? There are no secret ingredients. Maybe it is the confidence I have in our food. Maybe it is the love I put in the meals I prepare. Maybe it is knowing the ingredients I buy are safe and full of wholesome goodness. Maybe it is the cooked-from-scratch dishes that not everyone is used to these days.

Now we are content to have beautiful flowers and a nice lawn. I have found I can grow an abundance of fresh herbs and keep my dehydrator going for weeks in the fall. I can even make mojito mint ice-cubes to last until next summer. It makes me feel like a piece of me is still farming.

We will continue to do what we can and support those who do what we can’t. We will use others’ skills and produce for our home-cooked gourmet goodness. We will continue to be thankful we live in a country where we can walk into a store and see well-stocked shelves. 

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