I’m sure it’s not the same in the winter but there sure is a lot of free food around here. Mostly fruit and vegetables, because everyone has gardens and fruit trees and not everyone has time to pick stuff or eat everything. Daniel culled his garden and gifted us a large box of greens, and Esther moved into a house that has a garden made for a family of 8, so she urges me to go over and pick berries all the time. I started to feel guilty getting so much free food I now pick it and leave half for her, which works great for both of us. I also got oodles of sour cherries from the two trees in front of the Abbey. Last year I paid $6 a pound for sour cherries! Even Step picked some, and then traded them to the Cumberland Brewery for beer, under their “Pint for a Pound” deal they have going on, as the brewmaster wants to try some cherry beer.
Contrasting that is the price of food in general, here, which is quite high because everything has to be boated in, and we are almost at the end of the line on the food chain. For example, Cathy thought there was nowhere in the Comox Valley one could purchase pomegranate molasses, but I am good at sourcing stuff and have found two places that carry it (Cloves Deli and Hot Chocolate), but both places charge over $10 for a bottle I paid $3.99 for in Vancouver! I forgive them because they don’t sell the volume and again, the transport, but it still hurts to pay such a price. I can only justify that I want to support local businesses and I’m happy just to be able to get it at all. Some things you can’t even buy. We have yet to locate any fair trade bananas, so we haven’t been having any morning smoothies.
The Farmers Markets, however, seem to be cheaper in general than what we were used to in the city, with a bulb of garlic costing $2.50 rather than $4, and etc. Plus, the Saturday Comox Valley Farmers’ Market in Courtenay is the biggest and best I have ever seen. It’s an award winning market and they are serious about the vendors selling local products. They also have a smaller market on Wednesdays right in town, and an evening one on Thursdays once a month.
We are not going hungry, that’s for sure, and the valley is a veritable cornucopia of healthy, delicious native food. So I am just buying the $10 bottle of molasses and putting on my hat and heading for my neighbours garden, until the freezer is full. But if anybody knows what to do with this bowl of little sour apples Esther brought over, please let me know, because for once in my life I am flummoxed by a food item.