Gratitude for the good food: so long 8 ½ acres farm!
Cowichan’s co-operative food hub, the Cow-op online marketplace, relies on a number of local growers to keep it’s supply steady and customers coming back for a consistent offering of high quality produce at all times of the year. When a member decides to hang up their shovels and hoes for good, it’s hard to not feel the hole that is left behind. When we lose a farmer or farm, we lose a vital supply of nutrient-rich, locally adapted food that is an integral part of our region’s economy, our stewardship of local arable land, and our long-term food security plan for Vancouver Island as a whole. Big boots to fill!
Mike Shelton and Talyn Martin of 8 ½ acres, have been a fixture on the local farm scene for the last eight years. They started at the Duncan Farmers’ Market in 2011 with, as Talyn says, “a table full of chickweed and rhubarb.” Their offerings would grow 100-fold over the years including regular items like their winter salad mix, free-range eggs, and sweet carrots. They also maintained a farmstand at their Somenos Rd. property that offered, in addition to their yummy fruit and veg, Mike's rustic fresh-baked bread and a small selection of Talyn's ever-expanding book collection.
They grew a loyal following of customers including many restaurants and bakeries in Victoria, Cowichan and, courtesy of the Tofino-Ucluelet Culinary Guild (TUGS), the wild west coast. Now that these young agrarians have decided to close their sweet little farm-stand, sell their farm and move on from the soil and toil to start a new chapter in their life (Costa Rica here they come!), we cling to the hope that their farm will be bought by another aspiring farmer who can continue to grow good food on their property’s rich soil.
“Farming has a way of taking over your life for better or worse,” says Talyn. “We will miss the food more than anything, being able to wander the fields to decide what to make for dinner - year-round access to fresh organic veggies is an amazing way to live.”
The Cow-op market thanks Mike and Talyn for all that good food they have produced for our community. We feel nourished and blessed to have been in their care!