Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Back to simpler times

With the fallout in the financial sector crumbling before our eyes, sometimes I think that we should go back to simpler times. It seems that the whole world is in a free fall with Governments all over the world pumping money into buying bad debts. How could we have gotten ourselves into this mess ? Perhaps it was greed.

Recently we needed some vegetables so instead of a big box store we decided to go straight to the "horse's mouth" and get it directly from the person who planted the seeds.


Farming is a hard life. I'm not referring to the new modern mechanized farms where they utilize state of the art machinery. I am referring to a first generation farmer who toils the land with their hands with a lot of manual labour. Of course there is not much time to keep the land neat and tidy.


It is one thing to grow your own vegetable garden in your back yard and another to try to make a living from producing and selling "off the land" .


There are a lot of independent farmers on the Fraser River Delta. This particular farm has been in operation for many years doing things the way it has always been done. It's like a step backwards to a time long forgotten. Except for a forklift or two and a few well used cars you would have thought that time "stood still" .


Of course the workers do enjoy some of the benefits of our modern civilization in their makeshift lunch area


Everything just looks tired and in disrepair but when you are operating a farm 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, there just isn't time to make your farm look presentable. It's more about utility than presentation


During the "off Season" from Fall to Spring our fruit and vegetables come mainly from California. Our weather only allows us to grow our own for about half the year, and with such unpredictable weather we have been getting during the past decade I would think that our actual growing season is getting shorter.

On this particular day we wanted to present the "owner" of this farm with a special cake that we had ordered as a thank you for some corn that we previously received. When we arrived at the front we asked some of the workers where we would find "Chong Tai". They lead us through some buildings and a dilaphidated plastic covered greenhouse to this corner where we saw some workers hand washing some LO BOK.


Yes, that is her on the right, looking just like another farm worker, unidentifiable as the person in charge, pitching in getting the job done . Of course, in return for our thank you gesture, she wanted us to take some green beans. We told her we couldn't accept a whole case


We ended up taking a hand-full, and a couple of dozen ears of corn.


Lucky thing we didn't go down there on our scooters, otherwise we couldn't have taken all this stuff home, at least without making a few trips

(Mrs Bobskoot: left & Chong Tai: right)

Chong Tai looks to be in very good health for someone that is 91 years old. I would think that she has probably spent her whole life working/running this farm. It looks like a hard life with few benefits.


She keeps very long hours . If you have the time and need to purchase some vegetables go down and pay her a visit . And remember not everything grow in cans.


  1. I used to live in Monterey, CA a few years back. One of the best parts was the Farmer's Markets downtown every Tuesday. Independent growers came in from Watsonville, Salinas, Prunedale, etc. with fruits and vegetables right off the back of their trucks. It's fairly satisfying to feel like you are directly supporting the local economy.

  2. chris:

    it opens up your eyes to see something different than the pristine isles of a modern supermarket and where your food is actually grown, especially on what appears to be a 1st generation farm, doing things the way that things have always been done. There are less farms every year. It seems that farmland is fast turning into modern subdivisions, or retail malls, as their owners retire.

  3. Nice story and pictures. Like you said, it's not a pretty life, but it must be satisfying to know that there is a direct relationship between your work and your (and others') daily needs.

  4. As I get older I find myself a lot like that farm. Looking more like utility than presentation!

    I also find I like to buy from people rather than a "business". Farmer's markets like we also have here are a great way to do that.

    Too often folks forget about their heritage. Things are too sterile these days.