The Valley Veg
by Darcie Friesen Hossack
It's a tricky business, doing these parking lot deals in the full light of day. After all, you never know who might be watching.
For example, there's the couple sitting under the sunshade of their RV over there, looking all too interested in everyone else around them. And there's the Parks officer, too, casting about the area for suspicious behaviour.
So when we finish circling, and park in front of the Mt. Robson Visitor's Centre, having crossed the provincial border into British Columbia from Alberta, we're all eyes, as we watch for our contacts to arrive.
That's when we see the bear.
And suddenly, we no longer just have suspicion, we might have competition, as well.
"You know this is their territory, right? We're pretty much daring them to come and rip us off," I say. But given the number of day campers lolling around, eating ice cream sandwiches, Chefhusband points out that I'm mistaken in my math.
"He'll probably take that guy's Fudgesicle first," he says, pointing at a man with chocolate dripping down his arm.
Just then, we spot it: a familiar, black SUV that we've met here every week this summer, ever since their plants put on their very first buds and leaves.
They pull up alongside us.
Chefhusband pops our trunk, and we're the first to step out.
Looking back behind me, I'll admit it, the bear doesn't seem at all intrigued.
That's good, because it's the beginning of August, we're expecting an absolute haul. And Stone Peak Restaurant and Stone Peak Provisions both need every single carrot, potato, tomato, gooseberry, salad green and bundle of fresh herbs that we can deliver back to them later this afternoon.
Plus, there's always a home order just for us.
"You made it!" say Elaine and Chris, of Robson Valley Farm, from which all of our organic produce comes. Chris opens their tailgate to reveal a festival of garden candy, and that's when it happens. The people from the RV, who have stood up from their foldable chairs, are now looking in our direction.
"Not for sale!" I call out, when they begin to come towards us.
They turn back, dejected.
And with one more shoulder check to make sure that bear isn't also coming for our beets, the four of us soon part ways and head back to where we started, one car lighter, the other, ours, heavy with the spoils of another week's trip to the valley of veg.
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Fresh Dill Dip for Raw Vegetables
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbs shallot, minced
4 Tbs fresh, finely chopped, dill weed
1 Tbs fresh, finely chopped, parsley leaves
flaked Kosher salt / freshly ground pepper
In a medium bowl, beat together mayonnaise and sour cream with a rubber spatula until combined. Gently fold in garlic and shallot, dill and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least one hour to let flavours develop. Adjust seasoning.
Serve with all of your favourite seasonal veggies.
*Note: the picture of the car full of vegetables is from a little later last year. That selection will come soon!