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Jean-Claude Vézina Par Jean-Claude Vézina

Mercredi, 22 octobre 2014

Harvest Festival in Sawyerville

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More than 300 people took advantage of Thanksgiving weekend to take part in the Harvest Festival in the Sawyerville sector of Cookshire-Eaton. Lunch was served to 140 people.

A plaque was presented to Dr. Curtis Lowry in recognition of his gift of land to the Municipality. The day was occupied by exhibits, timber frame construction, presentations, harvesting and a workshop on food preservation. In short, the organizers had prepared a complete program of activities aimed at appreciating the abundance of nature. That's what Chantal Bolduc remarked. She headed the organizers.

After welcoming everyone, and stressing the importance of the Harvest Festival, Bolduc invited the Mayor of Cookshire-Eaton, Noël Landry, to speak. He recalled the generosity of Dr. Lowry who had donated a piece of land to be used for community activities. Some $45,000 had been invested to create a ball field, and a garden/orchard. Now in its first year of production, the Sawyerville Community Garden had yielded a good harvest. Mayor Landry also presented a manoeuvrable cart with tool racks to the gardeners, to help make their work easier.

During a formal presentation at the garden, Dr. Lowry received a memorial plaque from the hands of Yvon Roy, deputy mayor, and Mayor Landry, as a token of gratitude. The plaque was created by Robert Péloquin. Bolduc took the occasion to unveil a marker created by Amanda Busher, officially naming the site the "Jardin du Dr Lowry," or Dr. Lowry's Garden. The sign bears witness to Dr. Lowry's love for the garden.

Several other people spoke about their experiences and knowledge they wanted to share. The Horti-plus Farm presented an assortment of squash, while Réjeanne Marcoux showed how to preserve food cheaply. The Coopérative de solidarité Cultur'Innove offered a quick survey of the agroforestry domain and emerging crops such as medicinal plants and berries, among others. Jacqueline Hyman, secretary of the Eaton Corner Museum, displayed artefacts from bygone times. Her neighbours were braiding garlic, another heritage technique. Chantal Parent exhibited herbal products, therapies that relieved many ills, and still do so. Honey from the Ferme d'ORée (Forest's Edge Farm) always creates a stir wherever it goes, as do the apples from the Ferme la Généreuse. Volunteers explained how the community garden works. A germination workshop attracted the interest of visitors. At the garden, Brian Creelman offered his seeds and Denis Gergeron sold his famous grelinettes, those essential gardening tools. And for the children, makeup and corn-cob doll-making offered lots of fun.

A group of about 10 workers raised a shelter for storing garden tools. Prepared in advance, the beams were shaped and coated with a base of linseed oil. They were assembled with wooden pegs under the attentive eye of Marc Nault, who initiated the project, and Steven St-Cyr, engineer. From the beginning, they had the help of volunteers Daniel Hurdle, Claude Thibodeau and Jacques Campeau. This construction technique builds strong structures while using fewer logs.

During a workshop on nut trees, Yvan Perrault shared his passion by looking at the forest through an alternative perspective, presenting both images and information. Mushrooms, berries and nuts of all kinds can satisfy the strongest of appetites, while giving unique flavours to food. During a short walk, he demonstrated that there is an abundance of these plants. In a similar vein, Elsa Poulin of the Coop de solidarité Cultr'Innove described some emerging forest crops. The list of emerging berries never ceases to grow longer: Sea buckthorn, fly honeysuckle, chokecherries, nut trees and mushrooms deserve to be produced more plentifully. The Coopérative offers guidance to persons who would like to get started in this type of venture. To inaugurate the Harvest Festival, Réjeanne Marquis gave seven people a workshop on the preservation of foods. Each year, Marquis cans some 1,000 cans of jams, pickles and other vegetables and fruits. She described the work organization, sterilization, and canning know-how, demystifying this art, to the great pleasure of the participants.

When Bolduc ran out of spaghetti for lunch, she said it was a "happy problem." This first activity was a great success! she confided.

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