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Sawyerville Seed Festival

The fifth Sawyerville Seed Festival took place mid-February at the Ramana Hotel, and achieved a new record in attendance. «There have never been so many people,» Chantal Bolduc, one of the organizers, said in French. «It was really above and beyond what we expected.»

The activity is an initiative of the Sawyerville Community Garden, and has begun to make a name for itself. «I’d say it’s become very widely known. People from Montreal and from St-Hyacinthe came. People came from everywhere,» Bolduc said. «Sawyerville has begun to stand out for its green approach.»

More broadly, the Seed Festival has become, over time, a meeting place for gardening entrepreneurs and enthusiasts. «What struck me is to see the energy in the room. To see and hear all the exchanges that take place. There was a lot of passion. People were waiting for this festival, and they were glad to be there. It is a day of exchange, not just of seeds, but of exchanges between people.»

Information and Sampling
The day of activities was punctuated by seven presentations. Between 50 and 75 persons attended each one. Yannick Côté, the man behind the Farm of the Unchained, or Wild, Gardener, spoke about his journey. He also unveiled his next project, the Cuisinier déchainé Restaurant, that is to be attached to the future microbrewery 11 comtés, or 11 Counties, opening this summer in Cookshire-Eaton.

Chantal Bolduc was happy about the planning. «Everything was well orchestrated. The fact that we had a presentation scheduled for noon prevented a traffic bottleneck at the lunch area.» No less than 130 dinners were served during the day, all concocted by the Community Garden volunteer team and their friends. Guests had a choice of chilli, moussaka or tabbouleh, accompanied by salad and soup.
Besides the rotating presentations, 10 or so kiosks were available for visitors. One was that of Yvan Perreault, creator of the forested farms and food-producing forests. Perreault offered some highly appreciated tastes of pancakes made with cattail flour with an elderberry coulis and pawpaw cream (asimina triloba). He also offered iced wintergreen tea.

Jean Huppé is the owner of Miel Pur Délice in Coaticook. This is the third year that he has had a kiosk at the Seed Festival. In addition to speaking about honey, he also discussed beekeeping. Several beekeepers came to exchange tricks of the trade with him.

Anne-Sophie Desrochers and Marianne Robert, both horticultural students at the Centre de formation professionnelle CRIFA in Coaticook, attended a presentation by their teacher, Renaud-Pierre Boucher. Desrochers also came to seek advice about cultivating medicinal plants, which she hopes to incorporate into the natural cosmetics that she creates.

The Start of the New Season
«What I am most proud of is to see the local producers who, while maintaining good organic and ecological methods, continue to grow. It’s a great pleasure to see that,» enthused Chantal Bolduc. «We have to encourage our producers. They offer us something valuable. If we want this to continue, and if we want other producers to emerge with a wider variety of produce, it depends on us.» For Bolduc, the future lies in greater food autonomy and respect for the environment. «We need to be very grateful to Mother Nature,» she concluded.

The Seed Festival announces the later return of the public market, known as the Sawyerville Village Market. The season begins on July 7 and continues every Saturday until September 22, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Also at the Community Garden, a heritage outdoor bread oven that was built last year is at the disposal of the public. Persons wishing to participate or to ask any questions may contact Chantal Bolduc at 819-889-3196, or chantalbolduc99@bell.net.
«It’s a market for all of Cookshire-Eaton, not just the people of Sawyerville,» she concluded.

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