The hard-working local farmers who bring their produce to market Saturdays in Qualicum Beach — the best market in Oceanside — are doing the rest of us a favour that we seldom appreciate.
Working a farm is probably the hardest work one will ever encounter, following the unforgiving dictates of the soil, the season and the livestock and birds. Without thanks, they’re doing us all a favour. We’ll be painfully aware of this when the California drought makes agriculture untenable and our winter produce gets cut off.
Not so long ago, Russia prohibited wheat export after a bad year — prices went up world-wide. Now California, the produce basket of North America, is approaching a drought so bad it threatens all local agriculture.
In early April, the governor of California ordered the state to conserve a million and a half acre-feet of water in the next nine months, a drastic response to an intensifying four-year drought that has devastated small communities in the north, decimated groundwater supplies in the Central Valley and made the cities fear for the future — not to mention water-intensive agriculture where water skirmishes have already begun.
Meanwhile, in Oceanside, we have Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer complaining bitterly that a minor extension to the best market in the Oceanside area might deprive some merchants of a few pennies profit.
Personally, I feel deeply indebted to those mostly conscience-driven farmers for providing me with a superior, local product.
Stan GauthierQualicum Beach