Margot’s Hidden Gems: Heritage and Farm Markets

Margot Bishop

Our heritage is a feast. The farmers, fishermen, hunters, gatherers, along with the land, rivers, lakes, bays, mudflats and orchards, all being part and parcel of our ancestors’ gifts to us. These resources and the knowledge of how to produce food from them, should be considered a feast. A feast celebrating all that we are and can be.

Our roadside stands and farm markets are full of wonderful products and produce from our lovely Valley. Some are tiny stands at the end of a farm lane, with the hope that the trust and honesty of most people will protect it. Others are in sheds or covered wagonettes in the corner of a field. Still others are bigger, with places to park and enjoy the surrounding views.

The ones that you enjoy the most are a purely personal choice, but they all offer a feast. Not just of the things for sale, but also for some visual effects too, like the chickens crossing the road or the sheep and goats putting their noses to the wire fence. Some places even have food dispensers, so that the children can feed the farm creatures.

With the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching, we can ponder a “hidden gem” that is sometimes forgotten. It is the Northville Farm Heritage Centre, 1158 Steadman Road, near Billtown, under the brow of the North Mountain. This wonderful spot has been the site of many feasts. Even during these trying Covid times, the picnic tables are always open to use. On Wednesdays, there is usually a working “bee” with volunteers on-site doing repairs and upkeep on the buildings and equipment. During the cold months, there are card parties on Wednesday evenings. Planned events are family-friendly and a great deal of fun. Unfortunately, “the 100 Mile Food and Fibre Festival” in September had to be cancelled due to Covid restrictions. Hopefully, it will happen next year, with all the craft drinks, sheep shearing, and sheepdog trials making a very pleasurable day for the whole family. But on Saturday, October 2 there is a tractor pull with registration at 9:30am and the pulls following smartly. The price for the day is $5 per person. A canteen will be open. The blacksmith shop is always an interesting place to see. If you cannot make it to a planned event, but really want to see a great collection of farm implements and learn something of past ways of farming, you may call Art V. at 902-678-2296 for an appointment.
This farm centre is always a feast of knowledge. My ‘tapestry’ group (cancer support) has gone there for a place where we can relax and carve pumpkins for Hallowe’en. This year will make it twice that we have used the facility. I always learn something about the marvelous items that have been collected and donated. Stage Prophets (theatre group) has borrowed wonderful things for the production Fiddler on the Roof.

A feast may mean different things to different people, but getting together to celebrate food and family and friends is always a good thing. Stay well, so that we may continue to enjoy our Valley feasts.