Roddickton-Bide Arm is a region of the Great Northern Peninsula where hay is baled, and sheep would go to pasture. There is a tremendous opportunity to grow more agricultural products and ranch animals.
There are a number of individuals that are hobbyists farmers, planting root crops for subsistence, while others are growing on much larger scale. I enjoy purchasing fresh herbs, spices, teas and other organically grown items from Elsie and taking a walk on her trail of memories (See past article at: https://liveruralnl.com/2014/09/21/fresh-vegetables-herbs-teas-creams-and-a-blast-for-the-past/).
Recently, I dropped by the large greenhouse of Calvin’s on Route 433 outside the Town of Roddickton-Bide Arm. Last year they experimented with growing grapes. This year, many new items are growing including yellow summer squash, depicted below:
I was impressed by the range of product from cauliflower, zucchini, green onion, tomato, squash, greens, carrots, flowers and many more root crops and berries.
The friendly and knowledgeable staff are more than helpful, taking the care to find exactly what you are looking for to eat a little healthier. The cauliflower was so sweet,likely the best I’ve ever tasted.
Buying local creates jobs, builds a stronger economy. Sourcing your food locally helps with food security, reduces reliance on green house gases and gives you an understand of where your food came from, how it was grown and handled. Basically you can trace it from the source to your plate.
I encourage you to visit local farms, farmer’s markets, greenhouses, community gardens, grow your own and/or share with a friend or neighbour. We have incredible opportunity to grow good nutritious foods on the Great Northern Peninsula. We’ve been doing the basics for centuries.
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)
The concept of the hobby farm is far from new. The generation of my grandparents seemed to have cows, hens, pigs and other animals. Even as a child I recall some of the neighbours purchased a small piglet that we watched grow throughout summer. We were quite excited the see the squeaky animal, wanting to pet it and really, the stench did not seem to bother any of us. I guess none of us realized at the time that this animal would later be served up as pork chops and ham prior to Christmas.
In recent years to seems to be renewed interest in hobby farming. Are we going back to the generation of our grandparents out of necessity? Is it a food security issue? Or just re-new interest? I do not have answers to these questions, but would appreciate your comments or feedback.
A recent visit to St. Lunaire-Griquet had me introduced to a local that was raising a pig. Another stop at Norstead – Viking Village and Viking Port of Trade, L’Anse Aux Meadows also had me seeing the little pink guy, named Willie.
There is an opportunity in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador to partake in more hobby farming. We have an abundance of land, a changing climate that is more conducive to farming on the Great Northern Peninsula and the ability to learn from past generations before the skills are lost.
Although hobby farms take significant time and commitment from the owner. They can reap the reward of growing local, knowing what their animal ate and ensuring quality care.
A beginner’s guide can be found at: http://www.pighealth.com/MEDIA/P/BOOKS/beginners.htm
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
The summer may be just about behind us, as tomorrow marks the first official day of Fall. A flurry of activity centers around the summer season for most parts of rural Newfoundland & Labrador. This included many early mornings and late evenings spent on water – fishing, or on land – processing fish species or harvesting our forest products. Not to mention the fun and frolicking of summer vacations, festivals, Come Home Year Celebrations, weddings and other special activities that illuminate the liveliness of summer!
Well…Fall is a time not only for moose hunters, but for those who in late Spring planted seeds. Only to be rewarded with an array of fresh vegetables in their gardens. The mainstay crop has traditionally and still is the potato. However, the tastes of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have diversified to include turnip, carrot, cabbage, onion, radishes, beets, greens, pumpkins, squash, and peppers to name a few.
As I look into my backyard, I see two big plots of land that serve as gardens for subsistence living. I remember as a youth with my grandmother spending many hours tilling the land, marking the locations for potato beds, placing the small seeded potatoes (they had to be just so for my grandmother), adding kelp (seaweed) for natural fertilizer and then covering the bed with mud. I think I somehow always found an excuse never to help with the weeding of the garden. However, I would always enjoy pulling up a ripe carrot, brushing the mud away from it and eating it right there on the spot. It was so delicious, with no harmful pesticides. The food we grow always tasted good and nutritious!
I loved digging up the potatoes in the fall of the year. I remember this one year, my grandmother and I were digging side-by-side. She had struck a marvellous, well-rounded potato. This started a competition to see if I was able to find one bigger. Well, I managed to get a very large potato. It was a little deformed. I would say now it was a mutated family of potatoes, but not then as I argued it was the bigger one! After holding each potato in our respective hands, we were unable to determine a winner. It is like those moments in a close curling match, when the teams call on a third-party to measure. Well we had to get my father to be that third-party in this scenario and weigh each potato. Well, “I was victorious by just an ounze, maybe two”, but it certainly would not have won a beauty pageant. That prize would have to go to grandmother.
The Government is now instituting stricter regulations on road signage. I only hope they do not consider repatriating or expropriating our rights of residents to till the grounds our ancestors did as a means to subsist of the land!