SHEDDING LIGHT ON THE KETTLE VALLEY FOOD CO-OP JULY 10: Producer member Steve Ewasyn has a little slice of Eden

Some have walked herbal gardens in medieval monasteries in France but even more rare is to visit Steve Ewasyn in Gilpin.

Steve Ewasyn

Many saw Romeo and Juliette and remember Leo McKern in his herbal garden.

Some have been lucky enough to walk in walled herbal gardens in medieval monasteries in France but even more rare is an opportunity to climb the hill to visit Steve Ewasyn in Gilpin.

Here on our doorstep, what’s discovered is an elemental battle, a monumental struggle to realize a dream.

Ewasyn is a tall, lean man whose eyes and manner indicate a strong belief and commitment to foods that enhance lives.

He began his struggle to farm the mountainside in the ’80s.

Water was led down the mountain to his various gardens; this water has sufficient pressure to operate overhead spraying equipment.

Each garden has a labelling letter so as one wanders through the hillside growth, suddenly one is confronted with Garden “P,” a nettle and burdock garden of such profusion that it almost feels like this must be the quintessential nettle and burdock garden.

The reason for the profusion is Ewasyn has literally trucked up hundreds of loads of horse manure over the years and it is this that has enriched the thin mountainside soils.

In some ways, his gardens evoke Genesis; one feels as if one is witnessing the kind of profusion of the original garden.

Rockets in purples and yellows abound (some sweet, some spicy), sweet Cicely, chives, onions, cherries, pears, apples and grape are just a sampling of what has been planted.

But it is a battle. Weeds are constantly encroaching and Ewasyn says that he sometimes uses compost to smother the weeds and thus overwhelm them. Blind gophers are also trying to make inroads on his plantings. And, of course, there are his chickens.

He has a flock that must have representatives of most breeds known to man.

These chickens are what free range is all about; however, his dogs patrol the boundaries and keep them safe from predators.

Steve Ewasyn has created his own Eden.

He has herbs for sale and his product is strictly organic – a full list of his offerings can be seen at the co-op’s website.

For more information about the Kettle Valley Food Co-op at www.kettlevalleyfoodcoop.org.

– Contributed by Norman Chapman

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