Fresh Produce Plentiful this Year by Shirley Dolan

This year, there is no shortage of places to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Produce stands are popping up everywhere, partly because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the trend towards home gardening. Where I live in rural west Ottawa, you can hardly drive more than a couple of kilometres without finding one. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in your own garden, chances are you will find it at a roadside stand not too far away.

One such enterprise is Joe’s Vegetable Stand in the Home Hardware parking lot in Arnprior (see photos). Run by Joe Townley, who has been in the business since his teen years, there is not much you can’t find there. This includes fresh strawberries, wild blueberries, peaches, and all kinds of fresh vegetables, including Hudson’s corn, which Joe swears is the best you can buy. Drop by and check it out. You won’t be disappointed. You may even get some culinary tips from Joe. A few years ago, he shared with me his recipe for sliced cucumber, with a twist of lime and some salt. Delicious!

Crops seem to be about a month ahead of most years. I keep a diary of what’s happening in the garden and my flowers and vegetables appear to be flowering and producing several weeks ahead of previous years.

This is certainly true of our tomatoes. This year, we planted three types of cherry, beefsteak, lemon boy, roma and plum and all are producing well. They are bigger and more plentiful and only a few are sporting “blossom rot” which was a big problem last year.

Make the most of this late summer and fall season by enjoying a meal that includes fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden or a roadside stand. Pick it, eat it, preserve it, take a picture of it.