Bright blooms and fresh just-picked vegetables brimmed over from booths at the Cedar Farmer’s Market Sunday, after mid-Island growers hurried to harvest crops ahead of the coming fall storm.
“Well, it’s the first storm of the season that’s coming up this weekend, so we were busy harvesting in our lowlands, so in case it floods and does not recover after that,” said Farmship Growers Co-op farmer Isabelle Morris.
It comes after a dry summer that delivered intense heat and what mid-Island growers are calling a “weird but exceptional” growing season.
“It’s been interesting. Because of that big heatwave, there were a lot of crops that we had, like weird bumper crops of berries, and then other crops were pushed back quite late. Like one of my vendors has strawberries today,” said Cedar Farmers’ Market manager Katrina Darwin.
“It’s almost October.”
It helped deliver a strong sales season for the market’s vendors. More than 100 set up every Sunday in the field behind the old Woodbank School in Cedar to market their wares to a growing 2,300 customers each week.
Vendors offer up everything from homemade fudge to seafood, soaps, artwork and the rare finds you wouldn’t expect, including the hit that Barb O’Rourke has found in knitting “emotional support pickles.”
“It’s just something that they can hold onto and you know everybody looks at them, they walk by my booth and they go, ‘Oh, emotional support pickles,’ and they get so excited when they see them,” O’Rourke told CHEK News Sunday.
“I love it, it’s the best market ever,” added vendor Crystal Thompson.
With this summer’s extended heat, Morris says there could be fresh produce right up to the market’s end on Oct. 29.
“Well, usually it’s very wet in September, so we usually lose a lot of that crop by then, or it’s cooler as well, so it doesn’t ripen,” added Morris.
Yet the forecast calls for October to be mild after the coming week’s first storms of fall roll through.
⚠️ WIND WARNINGS⚠️
Just issued for Greater #Victoria, Southern #GulfIslands & #Cowichan to #Nanaimo with a big storm blowing in tonight. All of #VancouverIsland except #AlberniValley now under #wind warnings.💨 Power outages likely. More @CHEK_News at 5. #bcstorm #yyj @CHEK_media pic.twitter.com/6xPDLbEsck
— Tess van Straaten (@tessvanstraaten) September 24, 2023