By RYAN KING
CODROY VALLEY — During a time of crisis, Tuckaway Farm, Apiary & Apothecary pitched in to help out their community during the recent storm that cut off much of the Southwest Coast for the better part of a week. The farm is run by Megan Samms and her husband, Ash Hall. The duo offered free fresh products to anyone who needed them.
“We did have some people and some unexpected results of that,” said Samms. “Like there were some people who, they were supposed to go to Corner Brook or Port aux Basques or wherever that weekend. So they kind of ate what food they had. They had an empty fridge and then they couldn’t get out. So they came and got salad greens, cooking greens, potatoes, eggs, bread, like one of everything we were giving away basically, because they didn’t have anything on hand. And that’s a common thing in the Valley. People, they’ll buy stuff locally, but also if they know they’re going to a larger centre then they’ll kind of wait to do their big grocery shop.”
Samms said that it just felt like the right thing to do.
“It’s just kind of an anxious, anxiety ridden time. People weren’t sure if they were going to be able to get out, and they had health appointments and family commitments, and they weren’t sure if they’d be able to travel. All of us were. We were all thinking about the what if scenarios, and so we wanted to do something for people that was a good thing.”
Samms said that they had the means to fill the gap left by the rapidly depleted stores.
“It didn’t take long also for the stores to be out of bread, milk, eggs, and fresh produce is always at a premium anyway regardless of the time of year or the weather situation,” said Samms. “And my husband, he was a baker for years, so he just got to work and made a bunch of loaves of organic whole wheat bread, and we decided to give those away because they were the first thing to run out, and everyone needed a bit of a good thing.”
Beyond food staples, the couple also offered up help in other ways.
“We have a bunch of firewood, so we said if anyone needs that then we can deliver that as well. No one needed any. Pretty much everyone had their wood. But there were some trees down, so we had just said we’re available to help out with any of these things. Like if you need water taken out of your basement, or a tree fell across your driveway, just make sure you let us know or someone else know that you need a hand,” said Samms.
Their efforts also included checking on their neighbours when the washouts isolated the area.
“We did do a walk around Millville to all of our neighbours just to do a check-in on the day of the big rainfall and connected them to the fire department if they needed anything. Or like some of our neighbors are elderly, and we ran to the store for people if they needed something and they didn’t want to leave the house,” said Samms.
Thankfully the storm left Tuckaway Farm largely undamaged.
“We’re up on a hill, so we’re at a high, high level here and the house is on stilts. So we didn’t have a leak, or flood, or anything. Only the door blew off of the duck house,” said Samms. “So we were lucky.”
The washouts also nearly caused the farm to miss out on the Newfoundland Artisan Holiday Market in Corner Brook that ran from Nov. 27 to Nov. 28. Tuckaway Farm had been registered for the event for months and thought they would have to cancel.
“My cutoff time for cancelling was approaching. I was walking down to make a phone call to cancel our table and our hotel reservation and all that. And as I was walking down my mom and a friend were walking up, and they said, ‘We made a plan. Let’s go!’ So we had our stuff all packed because we wanted to be ready to go if the highway opened up right away. So we just had to jump in the truck, and then my mom followed with her vehicle with wagons in there. We loaded everything into the wagons,” said Samms.
They were then assisted by a friend who brought them to the market, which was a success, although the timing cut it close.
“A friend was on the other side, picked us up, drove us all the way to Corner Brook and dropped us off at the Hew & Draw with 10 minutes until the doors opened to the public,” shared Samms. “We got there and it was a wonderful market.”