I am a huge supporter of shopping local, and keeping our immediate economy rich and thriving.
When I buy produce in the local supermarkets, I check the labels and do my best to avoid out of country goods. If we do not buy them, they will eventually stop importing them. Beyond that, the best sort of renegade shopper action that I can take is to visit my local farmer’s market. Thankfully, here in Oliver, we have a thriving and growing country market.
I must admit that when I first approached the market, in its second week, with very little prior experience, I wasn’t expecting much. I am loathe to admit that I have a tendency to underestimate the power of the people; and those from the smallest (and hottest) of towns tend to be the most stalwart.
I parked with little room to spare, and although the lot was shared with other people who were enjoying the rest of the park for their own purposes, the country market was all in its own. The first thought in my head was, “Hey, I know these guys!”
Take Doug Morton’s creative enterprise as an example. “It’s Monkey Metal Arts, and what I do is take recycled, re-purposed material to make garden art, custom one-of-a- kind pieces,” he explained. “I try to keep the stuff out of the landfills.”
The pieces are one-of-a-kind custom art works, the likes of which anyone would be thrilled to have ushering visitors into their office, home or garden. Doug’s wife Jen is his biggest fan.
“He takes tools, cutlery – any kind if scrap metal, anything he can weld, and makes the wonderful, whimsical creations,” she said, noting a particular zebra-esque creation that is both eye catching and adorable, amazing for a creation born of springs, and maybe spark plugs. Don’t be surprised if it’s not there by the time you read this; the writer might have snagged it!
Margaret Puskas has been a part of the market for 15 years now, and though she now lives in Penticton, she still makes the trip down to participate, selling her hand knitted and crocheted dish cloths, slippers, afghans and more.
“I love every minute of it,” she said, full of smiles and hugs for her many friends that she has made over the years, myself included. In fact, Margie and I were neighbours for a year and a half before she moved, and the farmers market was and is our only dependable catching up space.
Right across the walkway you’ll find Parties and Pies with Pat and Dave Whalley, sharing their delicious homemade wares, and next to them, Karen Edwards with hand tooled pendants crafted from raw and polished gems.
I came to the Oliver country market as a skeptic, but I left with a smile on my face, and some homemade three- cheese and spinach rolls in my hand. I felt like I’d had a good visit with an old friend, and isn’t that something that we all look forward to?
Special to the Chronicle