Saturday, November 21, 2009

Winter Marketing

Growing vegetables for a winter Farmers Market definitely has its moments. Digging parsnips in the pouring rain,
washing the mud off beets, running into the house and warming our fingers frequently by the stove.

Traveling to market by boat this time of year has its own challenges as well. We have missed only one winter market because of weather, but we've been out in some bumpy seas, and discovered that radar doesn't work all that well in the snow, but yesterday took the cake. It's been stormy and windy and rainy for weeks, but while we harvested yesterday the sun even came out for a brief moment and the wind was just slightly breezy. When we left the dock we could see dark clouds to the west over Vancouver Island but figured we'd get to Friday Harbor before they'd get to us. We were about 3/4 of the way there when it started to get really, really dark. It was late in the day but this darkness was coming from those clouds. You could still see light sky to the east but it quickly became black velvety dark where we were. And it started to pour with a bit of hail mixed in. Then big orange flashes of lightning appeared in the west beyond San Juan Island. We headed toward the shore as quick as our slow 6 knot boat could go on the theory that the land was a lot higher than we were and would draw any lightning (don't tell me that's not true). At this time the ferry came around a point behind us and into the channel to our left. The all lit up ferry is amazing in the dark at any time but at this point it looked like an apparition. The lightning kept getting closer, one strike hitting the water out beyond the ferry. As we got into the harbor itself, still creeping as close to shore as we dared, two huge blasts of lightning with no delay before the thunder cracked right overhead. It was so amazing and eerie that it was hard to actually be afraid. Tense, yes, wishing we could get a little more speed out of our boat, yes. But just the most amazing, beautiful, spooky experience I think I've ever had. When we got to the dock about 10 minutes later, the rain had stopped, the sky was clearing and a tiny moon and early stars could be seen in the west.

Our customers were very, very glad to have us there today and bought almost every vegetable we had brought. And we had a great story to tell.


  1. Yes Margaret - that is indeed the recipe and I can thoroughly recommend it. I have made it every year since Delia Smiths Christmas came out and it never fails. Make it now and store it and then on Christmas day bring it out, heat it (steam for 2 hours) and pour over fired brandy or whisky and enjoy! Good luck.

  2. Margaret, I love your description of the stormy crossing. I think it's possible to get so caught up in the spectacle that you only think later about whether or not it was dangerous.

  3. Betsy, that's exactly what it was. It was so amazing.