Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Meet the Manager

Welcome to the Powell River Farmers Market Blog.

In the coming weeks you'll find information about the Powell River Open Air Market that happens every Saturday from 10:30-12:30 and Sunday from 12:30 - 2:30 on McLeod Road in Powell River.   You'll hear about what's new at the market, get to know your farmers more intimately and find how small changes can have a big impact on farmers and our community as a whole.

My name is Juhli Jobi and I'll be your Market Manager this year.  I'm looking forward to a fun and exciting year ahead in our 2014 season.  Some of you may know me already but for those of you who don't here's a little background.

I was born in Powell River's Townsite when our General Hospital's front door faced the end of Marine Avenue.  Growing up was the quintessential Powell River experience.  My older sister and I grew up in Myrtle Point, our family had 20 acres that was heavily wooded and like so many pioneers throughout the last century here, trees were cut, stumps removed and slowly over many years the soil was built up with compost, manure, ash, straw etc. until a garden spouted food that would sustain us for most of the year.  We had fruit trees across 3 orchards, a "front garden" and a "back garden" that were probably 2 acres in total.  My earliest memories are playing mudpies with my sister in the garden while my mom and grandma worked in the garden.  As we got older we each got our own little garden.  I remember I was only interested in growing strawberries and so I had a strawberry garden.

Along with our gardens and orchards we also had a collection of animals: chickens, ducks, geese and sheep as well as a dog and cat to round out the farm.  My mom wasn't fond of large animals so we stayed away from cattle and horses.  Luckily our neighbors had plenty of cattle and I remember more than one "cow pie" fight gone wrong, but that's a story for another time.

Growing up on a farm gets you in the habit of working together, there were some chores, like stocking the firewood at the front door and sweeping the cement walkways but overall the things that had to be done on the farm were just done together without it being labelled as a chore.  Although there was plenty of work to do we also had carefree time to play games with neighbors, ride our bikes and relax in the warm summer sun.

As I got a bit older and made my way through high school I enjoyed riding my mountain bike up Duck Lake Road and hiking in the trails.  Again, things were different then, Max Cameron Senior High School was on Joyce Avenue where Egmont Street ends, mountain bikes didn't have shocks and there weren't nearly as many trails in the bush as there are today.   I loved the outdoors and eating fresh things right from the garden.   It was a 2 second transition from farm to fork, although we usually skipped the forks and just popped things right into our mouths.  Along with garden treats we often filled our bellies with berries too.  When you're used to playing in the bush you get good at foraging when you're a few km from home.

When the time came to leave the nest I flew east to Toronto and before I knew it 8 years had passed.  I had gone to school and received a Bachelors Degree in Computer Information Systems.  I longed for the west coast, for the things that reminded me of my childhood.  An opportunity arose for me to make it back to the
west coast and I jumped at the chance.  Although slightly further south than I had hoped, I spent the next 12 years working, living and playing in Southern California.  I spent 4 years in Los Angeles and then the next 8 in the city of Orange, in Orange County.   Although my longing for the ocean was pacified and I loved every minute of my life, I felt the time was approaching to head back "home" to Canada, to BC, to Powell River.

Many people returning to Powell River know that it's not always easy to find work.  I had spent my entire career in the Telecommunications Industry and that wasn't an easy fit to find work in Powell River so I decided to compromise and look for work in Vancouver.  After several attempts I got an interview, a job offer and ultimately was able to move back to Canada, back to BC but not quite back to Powell River - yet.

After 5 years in Vancouver I started to look for a job I could do from home.  Working from home sounds perfect to many people.  You really have to try it for a while to figure out if it's for you or not.  The pros:  you have a very short commute, you can wear your pajamas to work and don't have to brush your hair.  The cons:  you often don't see another face all day, your ear temperature raises by about 5 degrees because of your headset that you're wearing all day and even when your day is done you can't really leave your work behind.  I spent the next 2 years working from home, all the time feeling ready for a change.  The pace at work was so out of line with the pace of life in Powell River and I was ready to slow things down a bit.

Last fall this opportunity for change appeared in the form of a job interview for the Market Manager.  After several candidates were interviewed the committee reached a decision and the Farmers Market baton was passed into my hands.

This is my first year as the Market Manager so I ask that everyone afford me a bit of extra patience.  There will be stories on the blog about local farmers, we'll give you suggestions on produce to look out for, even some recipes for what's in season and what you can make.  Your feedback is always welcome, either here online or in person.

I appreciate this opportunity and I'm looking forward to writing this next chapter of my life in Powell River with all of you !!


  1. Can't wait for what is sure to be a wonderful 2014 season with you at the helm!

    1. Thanks kelly, we can't wait to see you at the market, everyone misses you!

    2. Hi Juhli, we really enjoyed your story! We live in Creston and we have a berry farm and love attending the Farmer's Markets. Your dad picks blueberries for us, and today he came to help us install a wood burning furnace. He's doing great at 80 going on 45!!!! He has shared about your move to Powell River - sounds like a wonderful change for you! Hope to meet you sometime and the Powell River beauty! Michael & Bibi Sproule-Blueberry Patch