Summer is upon us and while the weather may not be co-operating, one sure sign — more certain than the sunshine itself — is the return of the farmers’ markets.

I spent my weekend on an organic farm in Chase. Not only was it a multi-generation organic farm, but a collective co-op at that.

To my surprise, the experience showed me that for all my self-proclaimed health-nut, organic tendencies and aspirations, I am still most definitely a city girl at heart.

Upon my arrival, I was immediately put to work skewering fresh chunks of marinated beef, courtesy of Tony the cow who had been humanely killed only a few days before, in preparation of the farm’s potluck party taking place later that night.

I was amazed — by the health radiating from the happy WOOFer volunteers helping run the farm, by the beautifully designed library full of interesting books, by the handcrafted yoga studio where I slept for the night, by the sheer abundance of it all.

The biggest shock came when I asked if I could make a cup of tea. Of course I was immediately told to help myself but, upon opening the kitchen cupboard, the huge assortment of recycled jars housing unrecognizable contents  intimidated me so much I hastily shut the door and decided I didn’t really want tea after all. The lack of store-bought packaging and easily-identifiable labels confused me to the point where I had to slink outside and take a breather from the “living from scratch” experience I was having. I even had a moment of irritation, vowing this way of life was definitely not for me. But as the evening wore on and all guests and volunteers gathered around an outside fire to feast on — and give thanks to — Tony the cow as well as other delicious dishes made from ingredients grown on the farm, I realized this model of living was an ideal to strive for. On the drive home, I stopped in at the farmers’ market in Revelstoke for some free-range eggs and tasty homemade snacks with a new perspective and, yes, gratitiude.

That being said, our chance to support our own local farmers is coming up. Invermere’s farmers’ market starts up again this Saturday (June 16) while the one in Radium Hot Springs kicks off the evening of Friday, June 29 and Fairmont brings back its own on Sunday, July 8. Enjoy!