Sunday, October 10, 2010
On The Road Again

It's an understatement to say that our team was looking forward to getting back on our bikes, hitting the trails of Prince Edward Island and getting our groove back as an Otesha group. A week ago we left our cottage in Clinton, a home and haven to us, on a rainy Saturday morning and cycled to Barnyard Organics, home to island farmers Mark and Sally. It seemed appropriate that we were starting our tour again with a learning opportunity - one that put us in touch with the local community and with our food mandate, which we had spent hours discussing just the day before departure. We learned about various types of grains and soybeans, what it takes to achieve organic certification, toured the grounds, and helped out in the barn shovelling a giant pile of woodchips into bags for winter storage - 15 pairs of hands makes for speedy work! We didn't leave before we tasted some of Mark's roasted soybeans and supported the farm by purchasing two local, organic chickens which made for a delicious dinner the night after.

In the days that followed we found ourselves cycling all over the western end of the island, from Summerside to Alberton to O'Leary and back - we moved from Lion's Clubs to Arts & Heritage Centres and performed to hundreds of students in school gyms. As a team we endured the rain, enjoyed the sunshine, and rode our bikes together on the roads and trails alike. We kept each other on track in the mornings, pumped each other up before performances, and finally got the chance to do full kitchen crew rotations.

I was travelling with Kelsey and Guy one day and we had some shopping to do for dinner after a performance in St. Louis, just outside of Alberton. Guy had caught wind of Soy Hardy, a place where we could purchase organic tofu and we were tickled with delight at the thought of having such a delicious addition to our dinner that night. We pulled up, knocked on all the doors and were almost ready to give up and head back into the car when someone finally stepped out and asked what we wanted. We chatted with the man that processes the soybeans into tofu and discovered a serendipitous surprise - these blocks of tofu that we were holding were made with the organic soybeans from Mark's farm, Barnyard Organics! Local, organic tofu at such a great price (and with such a great personal connection) led to our purchasing of six large blocks which the team devoured over the next few meals.

On the way back to the Arts & Heritage Centre in Alberton I thought about the full-circle we had just found ourselves in - meeting Mark at his farm just days before, sampling his soybeans and then eating the tofu that they were made into... "This is the epitome of the local experience we were all waiting for," I thought. And as we cycle on, despite the rain and chill winds that are common at this time of year, I know we are destined to meet more people and connect with them somehow, and I think to myself, "Yes - this feels right. This is what we were meant to do."