Busy Hands in Prince Edward County

This past December, I was fortunate enough to get to know some of the producers behind Prince Edward County’sA�Busy Hands Christmas Craft & Gift Sale,A�which occupies the upstairs showroom of Books & CoA�one winter weekend each year. A�Busy Hands began a few years ago, when local artisans got together to showcase local wares in their own kitchens and living rooms for the winter season. A�Now, with more than 30 participants, it is one of the most anticipated craft shows in Prince Edward County all year.

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Perusing the seasonal selection of honey and teas from Honey Pie Hives & Herbals. Cranberry honey – delish!

Hosted byA�Vicki’s Veggie’sA�andA�Honey Pie Hives & Herbals, the annual gathering showcases some of the best local talent in Prince Edward County consumables.

A Few Highlights…

I started my rounds by chatting with Vicki herself, who was giving away a $50 veggie box to one lucky shopper of the weekend, just what I needed for going into hibernation this frigid winter term. A�Unfortunately I was not the victor, although I still managed to make off with a few their delicious hand-made sauces.

A�IMG_0842My favourite stop had to be the spread from the Portland Bridge Pickling Society, whose hands were busy refilling their many samples of handcrafted breads and preserves. A�Their locally-flavoured loaves were irresistible! A�Each variety is flavoured with local honey or cheeses, and baked with natural yeast harvested by hand from the wild grapes of South Bay. A�Mozzarella and Olive, Aged Cheddar and Black Pepper, County Cornbread – I had a hard time deciding on a favourite! A�I may have gone back for seconds…

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A pleasant surprise this year was Prince Edward County’s very own Kimchi line, farmed and fermented by Jenna Empey and Alex Currie of Pyramid Farms. A�They offer three varieties: classic Kimchi; County Kimchi, which incorporates various herbs and greens from their farm;A�and Cult Kimchi, made from the two hottest peppers on earth, theA�Trinidad Maruga Scorpion and Bhut Jolokia or Ghost pepper.A�A� Whether you like it hot, hotter, or scorching, these traditional Korean preserves are fun way to add a little kick to any meal this winter.

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For a lesson in gardening, I stopped by the Edible Antiques stand to chat with owner Stacey Hubbs about her rare heirloom garden seeds. A�Every seed in Stacey’s Catalogue is harvested from the gardens on her own one acre property, which are tended to by hand, watered by Mother Nature, and fertilized with natural organics. A�The plants are open pollinated and carry no seed patents, so you can even save your own seeds from any of the Edible Antiques crops growing in your garden. A�What’s that you said? A�You don’t have your own acreage for these new flora friends? A�Don’t fret, there is a wide variety of seeds that flourish in garden containers and small urban plots.

Busy Hands is always a fun way to get to know the producers behind some of my favourite County products. A�I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for this gifted lot!

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