Success at The Summerside Farmer’s Market

I have to give a big shout out to Clohossey Farms!

Clohossey Farms is a family run farm on Prince Edward Island, located in Nail Pond, Tignish. They grow many fruit and vegetable produce. You can find them on Saturdays at the Summerside Farmer’s Market from 9:00-1:00 and they also have a vegetable stand at their farm.

As you know, from reading my other posts, our family, of 7, has drastically cut out plastic from our house. Sometimes, when switching out plastic packaging one must switch brands or not continue purchasing certain items. Potatoes are not too bad. The kind we buy are Prince Edward Island Potatoes and they come in a paper bag with a plastic mesh window (not perfect). I can easily find naked turnips and peppers at the grocery store as well. Broccoli and cauliflower drives me crazy. They are always wrapped in plastic at Sobey’s. At Superstore they are not wrapped. What is up with that?

Lets talk carrots, because they are the reason for this post and my story with Clohossey Farms. Over the summer and fall, I have been purchasing naked carrots at Sobey’s. They still have their green tops on and wrapped with a single elastic band. Not perfect, but that band can certainly be reused at home, or donated to a vendor at the Farmer’s Market. I can keep these carrots super fresh for up to 2 weeks without a plastic bag. All I do is cut the tops off the carrot (don’t cut the orange carrot, just the green) and store them in a carrot size container wrapped in a wet cloth. Store in the fridge. I store mine on the bottom shelf as my crisper drawers are usually already full. The carrots stay fresh until used up. We go through about 3-4 pounds a week.

During the winter months, of course, these fresh carrots are no longer available, unless they are coming from the USA. So yes, I have been buying those carrots. Are they ever expensive too! $3.50 for a bunch and I will purchase 3 or 4 bunches a week. Crazy amount I know and I feel bad not supporting local.

I am just starting to get more vocal and talk to others about my ideas. I decided to contact Clohossey Farms, as I see them every time I go to the Farmer’s Market. The Farmer’s Wife sells great soy based soap products, candles and the like, I am there often. Clohossey Farms’ stand is straight across from her.

I sent a message to Clohossey Farms asking if I could pick up some carrots not bagged at the Farmer’s market the coming weekend (this was the night before actually). I stated that our family was cutting out plastics and that I buy carrots from the USA and I want to support locals instead. They responded to me promptly and agreed to my request.

Later in the evening, to my surprise, they wrote back to me with this response. “Hi Rachel. Thank you for your message. It has prompted us to take a look at this issue, and discuss some possible waste free options for our markets. We would like to begin offering a packaging free option to all our customers. We also see the importance of reducing plastic waste and hope that offering a waste-free option will attract more of the community to choose locally grown produce. We sincerely thank you for inspiring us to have this important discussion and hope you will keep on eye out for new options we will have coming soon!”   

I could not wipe the smile off my face. I was so excited and I actually gave myself a headache! Lol!

The next morning I got to the Farmer’s Market and Barry was there waiting for me with the carrots (2lbs). No plastic wrap! A single elastic band only. I purchased a turnip as well, all for a price of just over $4.00. Barry was very interested in the idea of no bags. It sure would save money on their end too not having to order bags. There was talk about setting up a table with loose products. Questions as to how to bring the product into the market. Using boxes for transporting was a good suggestion.

I think a key part to others purchasing loose products is re-learning how to store them at home without plastic. Some things I do at home:

  • Store potatoes out of the bag in a container in a dark cool room, like a pantry.
  • Store carrots in a container wrapped in a wet cloth, works with celery and string beans too. I wet the cloth when it dries out and change it every week.
  • Store broccoli and cauliflower in the crisper as well as leafy greens.
  • buying 1 or 2 onions at a time saves the worry about any kind of storage. Those get used quickly or store them in the fridge as you normally would. Easier to store one or 2 rather than 6 or 8. May save on food waste too.
  • Sweet potatoes and turnips get stored the same as potatoes.
  • I don’t buy bulk produce as it takes up more room than I have, leads to possible food waste. purchasing only what is needed promises it is always fresh.

There is probably lots of other tips out there as well. All we have to do is ask, because we are not alone on this journey. Others are on the same path, either ahead of us or behind. We must pass our knowledge on to help others so we can all achieve our goal. Support each other!

As a reminder, these changes take time! It may take a little while for our farmers to adjust. This is new to them too. Lets give them our support and patience! Update: Changes may take place in the Spring.

I can’t wait to see what the coming weeks will be like at the Farmer’s Market. I certainly hope that when one vendor makes a change, others will follow, domino affect! Lets get rid of the plastic, it is running our lives!

Great looking carrots!

I will also add, Pleasant Pork is also at the Farmer’s Market , and they wrap their pork products in butcher paper. I bought a pound of local bacon and It is delicious! I know where I’m getting our bacon waste free for now on!

I bought some local apples from Brady’s Farm, going to make apple sauce as I quit buying fruit cups for the kids school lunches. Brady uses paper bags to sell his products in, but I asked to have the bag of apples I bought dumped into my cloth bag. Win win. No extra waste for me and he can re use the bag for his next customer. I know I can return the bag to him, but this is easier for me when I have a cloth bag anyways!

Most recently, I bought a loaf of sour city bread from Hey Splendid. These caught my eye as they were stored in a glass case with no packaging! I requested to use my own cloth bag to for the bread, and she was very happy to do so! She also added that she will be selling cloth bread bags as well in the future. We have not tried sour right bread before, I can’t wait to try it!

I am so excited!!!


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