More than farmers… friends.

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We live in the city. It wasn’t the case about 30 years ago when my parents bought a home about 4 streets from where I am now living. Back when I was younger, this was considered the country. I had friends on the North shore of the St-Lawrence that had never even crossed the bridge. Behind my parents’ home was woods. Endless miles and miles of woods that belonged to old families that had been around these parts forever. Untouched. I used to catch tadpoles and minnows there, climb trees and have grand adventures.

Since then, things have changed. When Quebec City became too expensive and over crowded, developers started buying land in the “country” around the city. We are now part of the suburbs. Gone are all the woods behind my childhood home. All we see stretching for miles around now are bigger homes, smaller lots, rising property taxes and endless rush hour traffic.

See, our little town wasn’t zoned for anything but living. So when more “living” needed to be done, they did it here. But it wasn’t the case everywhere. 2 towns down, farms stayed farms and that makes me feel like I still live in the country.

Early Saturday morning, we packed up the kids, water bottles and snacks and headed to one of our favorite farms, La Ferme Genest. (I’m sorry if the site is only in French, but do click on the tabs to see pictures of this amazing place.) We went over to pick another 5 lbs of raspberries and were happily surprise that the u-pic corn season had started. What fun to be had. So on we worked, gathering, picking, enjoying the mild morning sun and the song of birds. After an hour, we were done.

Then the real fun began.

See, what makes the Genest family one of our favorite families around is the fact that picking is only the beginning of the fun. The land they’ve owned for almost 200 years is only a 1/4 mile wide, but it stretches from the banks of the St-Lawrence River 1 1/2 miles inland. And when you stop in and say hello, that land is completely opened to you. Everything from the sugar bush to the South to the dense pine forest to the North is accessible. They give anyone (regardless of whether you pay for something or not) access to the grounds. You can bring a picnic, run through their orchards, play in the woods, pick the wild flowers… anything you want as long as you respect the land and all the grows and lives on it. And you can do this 12 months out of the year. It is where the kiddos walk the enchanted woods to visit Santa Claus, it is where we pick our pumpkins every year. They have seen my children be born and grow.

I feel very lucky to have beautiful places like this so near.  We were at the farm at 8 am that morning and came home close to 1 pm. The kids were spent, filled with fresh air, their skin slightly salted with sweat. And there will be many more visits to many other farms in this beautiful area. Visits to go say hello and thank you to hard working local people who feed us, treat us like friends. We miss many of them when winter comes, but our yearly reunions are so joyous.

Do you have amazing people like this near you? I would love to hear about them. Please share their info here so people can find them! Local heroes like our farmers deserved to be known.

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About Yanic A.

Hello to all of you and thank you for stopping by! My name is Yanic. I'm a wife to a wonderful husband, a mother of 2 beautifully complex and unique children and a lover of all things inspiring. Having started a personal journey of self discovery when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter 4 years ago, I've since embraced a daily life of simpler pleasures and gratitude. As we get to know each other, you will know me as a quilter, a gardener, a Tao cultivator, a vegetarian foodie, a true believer in a healthy family life as being the secret to my happiness and hopefully as time goes on, a friend... I will try to share with you my days as they unfold, speaking of my happy successes without censoring my challenges, trying to make this blog a true portrait of the ever-changing path that I have chosen for myself. I'm hoping to find in these pages others to share with and learn from, bringing to light the absolute connection in all things and people, showing this world as being a true community.
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28 Responses to More than farmers… friends.

  1. Carlin says:

    What a beautiful farm and great story. We had a farm we loved to visit, but it was flooded and they eventually decided to retire. The kids loved it though. Sometimes I like to imagine it will inspire them to consider a more rural life one day.

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      I’m sorry about your farm closing its doors. There is a part of me that hopes one of our kiddos will want to take over our homestead later on. I want them to follow their dreams, but I think to have that connection to the Earth keeps you grounded.

      Like

  2. kittywilkin says:

    What a beautiful post! I am blessed to live in rural Maine, where organic family farms abound. One of my closest friends is a farmer just up the road, and it brings me such joy seeing my kids riding behind the draft horses, feeding calves, snuggling kittens, and splashing in the brook with theirs. My children are close in age to their two, and I couldn’t be happier. They also have a winter CSA, which we take full advantage of. They are in the process of getting cheese production going, have meat, veggies, and a happy family farm. You can check them out at northbranchfarm.com ❤

    Like

    • kittywilkin says:

      My mistake! Northbranchfarm.org is their site!!

      Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      I will check them out for sure, what a great resource. As I was writing a bit before, we are in the process of trying to find a winter CSA here. They are rare. No sure if we would get a share. If not, we have a year round farmer’s market and some conservation veggies are almost always available. But to have a monthly pick up with an organic CSA farm would be just amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kim says:

    Looks like a great morning spent at the farm. I love the connections made with the people who grow our food, either at the farm or at the market. They are so special to me, and keep me going back every year. We have a few farms we visit for different things…the chemical free strawberry farm run by an older farmer and his wife, who always loves chatting with us and sharing their beautiful farm, the raspberry farm and market, with an amazing play area and petting zoo, the apple orchard full of organic apple trees, and beautiful trails to wonder when we are done picking, the pumpkin patch, is always a favourite and has a huge play area, petting zoo and fresh vegetable market, and our winter farmer, who stores food and has monthly pick ups at the farm for root veggies, and greens. Goodness, I didn’t realize just how many different farms play a role in our lives, it is pretty cool to think about, to connect to the farmers and their families, and to watch my little man remember from year to year, visiting these places.

    So happy you enjoyed your morning at the farm. I don’t know about you, but the corn around here this year is amazing, sweeter than I remember. We have been eating a ton of it, and freezing just as much. It will be so good during the winter.

    Enjoy the rest of your week. xo

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Oh my dear, what a rich and full circle you have. We are actually in the process of finding a winter CSA. They are very rare here and we are hoping to get a share. So many people touch our lives, keep us fed and healthy. In a million years, I would not be able to repay them.

      The corn here is just starting. I plan on freezing a bit, but Little Man’s insides don’t seem to like it very much so it will end up being a small treat for sure. What is chili or Sheppard’s pie without corn? 🙂

      Like

  4. alexa says:

    What a wonderful farm and people to be close to. We are smack dab in the middle of the city, so it is a drive to any farm or country areas. But we make the effort as much as possible, because we want so much for our children to be connected to the land and to people. Good hearted people who are solid, like the earth they till. Love reading about your trip, dear friend.

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      It is such an important thing to teach our children. I find there is an energy that radiates from people that have their hands in the soil day in and day out. You can tell it’s hard work, I’m not romanticizing at all, but there is also a peace, a passion… “solid like the Earth they till”, I love that! xo

      Like

  5. kathrynpagano says:

    Sounds like a really wonderful place!

    I know what you mean about things getting built up. Every time I go back to my childhood home I’m stunned at how developed it all is.

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      It’s a sad reality around here. Houses are going up for sale everywhere and no one is buying because down the road, acres and acres of woods and fields are being knocked down to build new homes and people want new homes. People would rather have homes they don’t have to “deal with” and commute 1 hour to work than live in town, pay a bit more, but walk to work. I think it is too bad.

      Like

  6. Marie says:

    Super, merci! Cet endroit sera sur notre liste lors d’un prochain passage à Québec. Ça a vraiment l’air très bien. Mes petits (et grand) gourmands serons ravis! Incroyable de trouver de tels endroits si près des ponts!

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Au que oui! Tu connais le coin : Sur Marie-Victorin à St-Nicolas, un peu avant d’arriver à St-Antoine-de-Tilly. Descendre ces belles routes de campagne me rappelle mon enfance. Je travaillais dans les champs de fraises l’été. 🙂

      Si tu passes par Québec, tu dois me le dire! On ira avec vous. 🙂

      Like

  7. my inlaws live in London and I’ve been visiting for more than 30 years and have watched them annex so much of the country and woods to make the city bigger. I love that you have a place to breathe in the country air and listen to the stillness.

    I live in a secluded area and luckily so far we are a little town with country houses and roads. i miss having good places to shop and have to drive 40-50 minutes away to get to a small city where there are places.

    Like

  8. KerryCan says:

    How idyllic! You, and especially your kids, are so fortunate! I grew up on a farm and much of this region remains rural so we have lots of orchards and farms to visit. But none sound quite so perfect as yours!

    Like

  9. Susan says:

    I’m blessed to have moved to an area surrounded by organic farms and dairies. Sometimes we go directly to the farm for our fabulous produce and other days we stop in at one of several farmer’s markets. I love passing a field of cows or horses as a travel around doing errands.

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      And what a blessing it truly is. If I remember, you are in upstate NY. I love that area. All of New England holds such a special place in my heart. And I’m like you, I’ll take a detour along a country road over the highway any day. 🙂

      Like

  10. appleshoe says:

    The city encroached on my childhood country as well. You can never go back. Where there once were horses and cows there are now neighborhoods and urban sprawl. We live further into the city than I would like but also have access to farms and country like you. Hopefully one day I can move to a small hobby farm. That would be my dream. Be well.

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      And a lovely dream it is! We have a lot of projects here to make our home as much of an oasis as possible. We live in a very historic part of town and that comes with a lot of advantages like keeping the condo builders and developers away. I hope you get your dream oasis one day. xo

      Like

  11. jenny says:

    wow! what a story. i imagine growing up in the countryside outside of quebec city must have been quite wonderful! my sister lived in montreal for a few months and visited quebec city and she said it was one of the most beautiful cities she had ever seen, with the old architecture and stone streets. i imagine with the spreading… that area is probably only a small portion of it now, but it still sounds quite lovely for a city. i am glad those farms still remain! how kind of them to be so open and accessible. that is wonderful.

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      I love my city… It is just amazing. But yes, the sprawl has been getting to us and we are happy to have found such a nice little property in the midst of all of it. But it does make you want to uproot everything and move to the middle of nowhere sometimes. But then, I would miss my city… 🙂 If you ever come and visit, you MUST give me a heads up!

      Like

  12. sally says:

    That sounds like a very special place, so great when gathering food becomes an amazing experience like that. Although we are incredibly rural here we don’t have many farms we can visit in that way, I suppose most of the farming around here (due to the nature of the land) is sheep with a bit of cattle thrown in too. But there are many, many places all around us which sell their produce (like maybe a sack of potatoes or eggs) at the end of their drives with a little pot to put the money in. And we have a lovely place very close to us that sells their own home reared meat, and the lovely couple that own this have an amazing garden, when we visit we wander around there and come back inspired to get our in our own garden more, as well as having picked our own greens or peas or whatever is in abundance there. And then there are lots of lovely Farm Shops and Farmers Markets too, so we do pretty well really!

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Sounds like you are pretty well surrounded as well. I think the important thing is to find that connection with your food and the people that provide it, you know? But that little garden sounds amazing. That is what we need here : More u-pick pea farms! Oh my, I would pick so many. 🙂

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