Ripening crops has Vancouver Island farm market racing to reopen following flood


John Thompson was nervously looking at his ripening crops Friday.

“These are the biggest I’ve ever seen peas,” said McQuinn, a Chemainus area farmer.

The peas need to be picked and eaten quickly, but the Russell Farm Market across the highway that was supposed to be selling them right now is still closed due to massive flooding that swept through it in February.

Thompson said trying to hold back his produce will be just as impossible.

“Phenomenal I would say,” said Thompson.

“I’m hoping I don’t have to plow it under. I’m at that stage where I have such a large quantity of lettuce for instance that you can either sell it cheap and make no money or else you can just plow it under and try to get a market price for your good stuff.”

The Chemainus area farm market they were grown for was devastated by metre deep floodwaters in February.

After long delays due to insurance claims and COVID-19, the reopening as pushed back from May 1 to likely sometime in July.

“We were hoping it would be open by May first,” said Thompson.

“Slowly we’re getting there,” said Russell Farm Market employee Jacqueline McQuinn.

Staff are now racing to get an open-air portion of the market ready to sell ripening produce that will have to be picked in the days to come.

“The fields are ready,” said McQuinn.

“We need a place to sell. We decided to clean part of our open-air so that we have a place to sell,” she said.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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