Isn’t it wonderful when you meet someone and it just clicks. The things they do, the way they go about it, the genuine passion to share for the better good. This weeks blogs’ features another of Cumberland’s roadside gem: In Season Edibles, a vegetable stand well worth a visit.
Today I had the pleasure to spend a little time with owner, operator, Monica Noiles, and admire the last of her season’s wealth. The table filled with freshly picked carrots, bagged potatoes, basket of beets, plump turnips, perfect cabbage, boxes of cherry tomatoes, and bundles of Swiss chard, demonstrates the care she puts into growing produce without pesticides or herbicides. “We are not certified organic” she said, “the soil is enriched by our own compost which is made from everything we grow”.
It was health issues that made her want to grow food. With the help of a friend she started small and slow, adding gardens, improving the soil, saving seeds. “It’s so important to know where your food comes from, she says, right from seeds”. Five years later, her gardens are flourishing.
Monica loves people, “You wouldn’t believe the people we meet, they will come and just chat” she says. Dropping by on a weekly basis, they feel like family. “We have our regulars” she adds, “there’s this one family when they first came they had a dog. The next year they came she was pregnant, and had the baby, and we’ve watched this baby grow up, and she just started school, it’s wonderful!”
The location is great, right on the Sunrise Trail, with a large number of people traveling back and forth from Amherst to Truro. Customers stop because they know they will find something different. On Monica’s table are the usual suspects but also the new and unique vegetables. Like tomatillos, pineapple tomatoes, ground cherries, cucamelons, pear melons, fennel, and a wide variety of heirloom tomatoes.
A brilliant idea she shared with me was those snack boxes she’d assembled in the summer time. In a pint box she would mix cherry tomatoes, cucamelons, sugar snap peas, and ground cherries. “People buy it because we don’t use spray” Monica says, “and they give them to their children in the back of the car, and the kids love them … that’s real food”.
What happens to the unsold veggies at the end of the week? Preserves! This year wasn’t so good for cucumbers but zucchinis being plentiful they became pickles, salsa, and relish. Also on the table; pickle beets, red pepper jelly, and hot sauce can be found.
The season is almost over. One more week and Monica will close up shop. But do drop by and say hi, fill up your pantry, get all you need for Thanksgiving dinner. And don’t be sad, as the stand will open up again next year with another season of prime local edibles.
Located at 8396 on the Sunrise Trail between Pugwash and Port Howe, the stand is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10am to 4pm, and from 10am to 6pm Thursday to Saturday.