Monday, 30 August 2010

Holland Marsh - MWT

MWT WhiteWith the recent cold spell, then hot spell, the temperatures are deceiving. Somehow September has almost crept up and harvest time is here. At this time of year in Ontario we are harvesting much and buying it up at Farmer's Markets. I read a great article about it last October, and have saved it for a not-so-rainy day! 

S.E. Ontario fields
One of my favourite place to drive through, although I haven't been in a long time, is Holland Marsh. Now, these photos are of S.E. Ontario, as I try to stay off of Highway #400 that brings a million tourists on long weekends. This is the best  route up to Holland Marsh from Toronto.

The Marsh is low-lying flatland that runs northeast from upper York Region (Toronto) to the southern tip of Lake Simcoe. Drained for agriculture in the 1920s, with 28 km of canals, it is a going concern. But much more could be supplied and eaten locally.
  • One of the most fertile vegetable gardens in North America 
  • With 135 farmers who work 10,000 acres
  • The Marsh's unique muck soil grows bok choy, beets, cauliflower and carrots
  • Worth more than $50-million – or 14 per cent of Ontario's vegetables – each year.
  • About 55 per cent is exported.
  • carrots and onions make up 70 per cent of Holland Marsh output
  • Chinese cabbage, purple carrots, collards, kale, kohlrabi, dandelion, beets, Swiss chard, leaf lettuce and various herbs make up 47 varieties of food sold.
Irrigation systems
Unfortunately, with big box stores and supermarket chains, centralized distribution systems means that the small local farmers cannot offer the quantity that buyers demand. Foreign suppliers can offer more economical produce, at a lower cost to the consumer.

I am rather surprised at this. But have written previously about Cheap-Mart, and the type of influence such stores have on us in Ontario. Buy locally and support your local farmers!

A 20-minute animation of the consumerist society, narrated by Anne Leonard, to view online or download. Includes footnoted script, credits, blog, ...

Lovely straight rows
Ontario corn


Kay L. Davies said...

Thanks for an interesting lesson about a part of Canada hitherto unknown to me, Jenn.

Jim said...

Quite interesting.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Barb said...

It sounds like Holland Marsh is providing sustainable agriculture for your region. There is nothing like local produce in-season.

BraCom said...

Thank you for sharing these beautiful agriculture photos

Have a nice week,
Greetings, Bram

My Word Tuesday post

Seen on My World Tuesday

Lesley said...

Every time I drive up the 400 (like last weekend) I am saddened by the creeping development around this fertile land.

word verification is 'trater' - sometimes we are traitors to the land!

Gwendolyn L said...

Great post. I enjoyed looking at your photos and reading the history. Thanks for sharing.

Joe Todd said...

Really a great post. I wasn't aware of the history of Holland Marsh area but all to aware of Highway #400 LOL.. The Story Of Stuff just about says it all..