We admire Jessie Jollymore of Hope Blooms for the way she nurtures young people. Observing what she has done over the years, it is obvious the youth love her and she loves them. I’ve seen her encouraging the older kids to show leadership to the younger ones. She told us they have to start learning to work at a young age. As farmers, we know how important it is to learn good work ethic. And we know how rare it is. The Hope Blooms youth who work with us on Thursdays at Victoria Park work hard, are so focused and respectful, and, yes, full of hope.
We welcomed the Hope Blooms bus full of youthful energy again this year. Some of the kids came in to wash their hands after picking tomatoes, and they saw the eggs collected that day. “Can we get eggs?” “Can I stay overnight?” “I want to see the cows!” I love their energy and enthusiasm. One little boy was making a game of who could pick the most tomatoes. Then he stopped himself: “We need to help the other team because its better if we all pick more together.” They were here last year, and we hope it becomes an annual tradition.
The Hope Blooms group brought a few Syrian farmers with them for the visit. I asked one farmer how our farm was different from his farm. Through Amal, one of our customers who was able to interpret for him, his conclusion was that his farm is much bigger, and we need to use pesticides! Amal’s sister challenged him on that conclusion, and a flurry of animated arabic debate ensued.
Amal and her mother and daughter made a beautiful Lebanese meal that day, complete with the most amazing tabouleh. It is a simple dish, with lots of parsley, olive oil, some lemon, a bit of mint, salt, pepper, ripe tomatoes (they have to be really ripe!) and a small amount of bulgur wheat. This salad packs a real vitamin C punch! I am a big fan of parsley so this is one of my favourite dishes in the world. I find the middle eastern cuisine features a tabouleh made of mostly parsley, whereas North American tabouleh is mostly bulgur. She was insistent that curly parsley is much better than flat leafed parsley (I prefer our flat Italian parsley). Of course David grabbed the seed catalogue and got her to point out the kind of parsley she would prefer (Titan) and it is likely we will grow it next season. Even Dakota, who doesn’t really like parsley, loved Fatimah’s tabouleh.
There was so much going on that I didn’t write down Fatimah’s recipe!! Very sorry! Here is another recipe for tabouleh.
Below are some photos from the last little while