I have so much respect for those who work so hard creating food for our tables. My brief insight into the lives of farmers, fishermen (and women) and those who support them is one that leaves me doubting that I do what they do. long hours, unpredictable yields and pricing are made more complicated by expensive technology, competing needs (such as real estate) for their land and feast or famine years. Their numbers are dwindling and the family farm is something that is scarce and declining and something that I hope to inspire others to support.
I had the absolute privilege of briefly meeting John Jaques and family from Thamesville, Ontario this weekend. Thamesville is north of the 401 between London and Windsor. Their family farm goes by the moniker Sunshine Farms and specializes in asparagus. The family-owned farm continues to be worked by John, his wife Claudia and their sons (Josh, Ben and Adrian). They offer standard vegetables in addition to a line of certified organic produce. They are super friendly and most excited about what they are doing.
John was exhibiting at the Good Food show and market featuring the farms 24 different types of pickled vegetables. His Zesty Asparagus was nominated and competing (and, in my opinion) should win a best in show prize. They are picked from the field by hand, individually (hand) loaded into jars and turned into a wonderfully crunchy, somewhat spicy, dill-infused piece of heaven.
We bought 5 jars of product from Sunshine Farms and the ingredient list reads just like the carrots below. There are no preservatives, no chemicals and feature ingredients you likely have in your own home. This is the closest thing to making your own pickles that you can get without actually making the pickles.
The results are wonderful and taste as good as they look:
One of the things I really admire about Sunshine Farms is that they aren’t scared to make products that they clearly like. Their are many spicy and zesty lines that may scare some people away and have the rest of us lining up. You get the sense that the products are made the way that they believe it should be – as opposed to making a product based on what they think people will buy. This integrity is transparent in their food and makes me feel good enjoying it. I don’t feel as though I’m eating a product – rather I feel like I am sharing their family recipe of pickles and this makes the experience much more similar to tasting pickles from a friend as opposed to factory.
This is truly food that is made by hand and heart. Go out of your way to Support Sunshine Farms and you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with a wonderful treat that you’ll be proud to share.