Canada #29 St Jacobs
There was so much to see as we trundled along quiet country roads in an old horse drawn trolley. Our heads turned from one side to the other as we passed grain crops ready for harvest, farmhouses and outbuildings and the occasional buggy heading home from the markets.
We’d joined trolley driver Bob and his beautiful horses for a tour of the rural Mennonite community of St Jacobs. Our destination was a mixed production farm owned by the Martin family.
Along the way Bob, a Mennonite himself, explained the history of the local community, their beliefs and their way of life. He described the Old Order family we were going to visit and made sure we understood the courtesies of visiting a Mennonite property. We were welcome to take photos of the farm but not of the people.
The farm’s main product is maple syrup. We drove through the maple sugar bush, where sunlight filtered through the densely planted maple trees.
We saw how the sap was tapped in times gone by before going into the processing plant where today’s modern machinery processes the syrup.
Near the barn, chickens wandered at will while contented pigs and dairy cattle lingered close to the fence. In the apple orchard, birds flitted in and out of the bird houses on the fence.
A visit to the farm would not have been complete without calling into the farm quilt shop. Here the farmer’s wife presided over an array of jewel-coloured jams and preserves, local honey, home made candles and, of course, beautifully stitched quilts. She told how the quilts for sale are created by several local ladies who gather regularly to stitch together. I told her I too am a quilt maker and we smiled together; our shared passion was an instant connection.
On the return journey, we continued to look both left and right. With a little more knowledge of the Mennonites, we wanted to catch one last glimpse before leaving them behind.