Monday, February 26, 2018

Feb 26 - two six quarts today

The world of dry measures - pints, quarts, etc. have little poetry in them even though they have been with us for as long as we've transported food.

Niagara has an intimate relationship with dry measures - we're the fruit belt. At the farmer's market in St. Catharines,  the apples and potatoes are displayed in the traditional wood veneer (or cardboard) baskets and bushels.  When we buy our 4 quart or 6 quart basket of potatoes, the transfer to a plastic bag happens. The basket goes back to the vendor to fill for the display.

The sizes are half pint, pint, quart, 4 quart, 6 quart, half bushel, and full bushel.  During jam season, out come the trays that hold up to 12 quarts.  Walking around with a 12 quart tray of strawberries is almost as good as walking around with a puppy.

These familiar baskets are still available from the original supplier - Vineland Growers Co-operative.  They have been selling these supplies for over 100 years - since 1913.  I drive by the corporate head office/retail store in Jordan Station and the retail store in Virgil on the East West Line.   They have the 
distinction of being the longest continually run co-operative in Ontario.
From their website: "The history of Vineland Growers' Co-operative closely parallels the development of the co-operative movement in Canada. The original directors and those who have followed throughout the years have been steeped in the spirit of co-operation, coming as they did from hardy Pennsylvania stock that immigrated to Canada in the early 1800's, when barn-raisings and other co-operative activities were commonplace".

The original directors have familiar Niagara names: Honsberger and Moyer.  The Honsberger Estate Winery is located in Jordan today.  Nearby in Vineland is Cherry Avenue Farms - the home of the Moyers family - in operation since 1799.   I drive by Cherry Avenue Farms on a regular basis.  They sell all kinds of fruit - fresh and frozen.

Today's picture comes from the Royal Botanical Gardens Orchid Show on the weekend.  There were many beautiful specimens arranged together into garden-like displays.  While Longwood Gardens has the big display wow factor of hundreds of orchids in an arch or column, this show has the beauty of a miniature garden.  Both are wonderful experiences. 

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