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A taste of Greendale
“Often people don’t know what’s in their own backyard,” Dan Oostenbrink says.
Oostenbrink owns and operates the Local Harvest Market in Greendale, which grows produce on an attached farm to sell on the Market shelves. It also shares space with Anita’s Organic Grain & Flour Mill.
Both shops are stops on the Greendale Country Sampler route this Aug. 23. and will welcome residents behind the scenes.
If people don’t know the bounty of their own backyard, the sampler aims to change that.
The sampler is a self-guided tour of Greendale’s hidden treasures, letting attendees explore as much or as little of the neighbourhood as they like at their own pace.
The highlights range from cheese to pottery, soap to organic grain, harvest market to heron reserve.
Chilliwack River Valley Natural Honey will have bee demonstrations throughout the day, as will Greendale Pottery. Smits and Co.w Farm will have cheese samples to share, and miniature tours of the farm.
“They’re telling people they can visit with the ladies—the cows—and take a look around,” Oostenbrink explains with a smile.
The stops span a wide variety, but Oostenbrink says there’s one thing they all have in common: passion. It’s about making the relationship between consumer and producer personal again.
“There have to be people, and it has to be built on integrity and trusting relationships. Otherwise you’re just producing for a box store and they market it and nobody exchanges a smile,” he says. “Here, we develop a lot of friendship. If I’m going out for a bike ride, I’m meeting all these people.”
He points to the Hungarian wax peppers in the Local Harvest Market as an example. They look just like the ones you’d find in any grocery store; brightly-coloured, with a gentle shine and a gentle curve
In Oostenbrink’s eyes, these peppers stand for so much more.
Last year—when the market was still no more than a roadside stand—a customer requested the specific pepper variety and Oostenbrink gave growing them a shot.
A year later, he sold a bag of Hungarian wax peppers to the customer who requested them—upholding a promise to himself that the farm would reflect the community around it.
Oostenbrink says the Greendale community has long supported a food revolution in their own small ways, pursuing a connection with their food. Now it’s time for those ideals—fresh, local, personal—to move into the larger Chilliwack community.
“It’s about building a trusting relationship between the consumer and the farmer,” Oostenbrink says. “To me, that’s huge—that people can actually know the food they’re consuming has been grown with a lot of care, and a lot of thought.”
• The Greendale Country Sampler runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 23. Find more information at www.greendalecountrysampler.com or email Oostenbrink at Dan@thelocalharvest.ca.