Selling more than 250 pies this year alone, Anne Lukian has been a vendor at the Meadow Lake Farmers’ Market since 2008. With the market season now over, Anne spoke with Northern Pride recently about why she stays involved, her family and Thanksgiving.
Q: With the regular markets now finished, how would you described the season?
A: It’s been good. Some weeks were slower than others, but when the vegetables come, it gets extremely busy then. At that time, we have more vendors who come to sell their produce. I don’t know if it was any busier than last year’s market. Our market is well supported and we have a lot of people come from the surrounding areas. Just last week, I had two ladies from the North stop in and purchase a large amount of canning from me. We do get the support and we’re very grateful for it.
Q: Why is the farmers’ market important?
A: With all the additives in the food we buy, I think people are looking for more homegrown healthy foods. There’s no way we can have any additives in ours. I make all my pie fillings – I don’t buy any. All the other vendors as well sell homemade products.
Q: What do you sell at the market?
A: I sell a variety of fruit pies and I make pecan and raisin tarts. I also make bread dough and cinnamon buns, which are popular. I’ve added cheese buns to my baking, and original buns. I also have a large variety of canning. Most of it is from my garden because I have a large garden, but when I don’t have the produce, I purchase it from the vendors at the market.
Q: Have you been selling the same items since you started?
A: I started in July 2008. I started mainly with Saskatoon pies and I continued to add. At that time, I was outside, but as I continued to add, I moved inside. It was too difficult to put a roof over my head outside. A lot of the vendors come regardless of the weather, even though they sell outside.
Q: Did you make anything special for the last market?
A: I made pumpkin pies. I made my fruit pies first and the pumpkin pies second. With it being Thanksgiving, I had quite a few pumpkin pies. I hoped the weather would improve, but the market goes on regardless and we always dress accordingly.
Q: Where did you learn to make it all?
A: My mother, Irene Abbey, taught me a lot, and if you continue to do it, it’s an acquired skill you can learn on your own. It’s trial and error. It’s been passed on and I’m passing it on to my daughter. My granddaughter helped me get ready for the last market because I was called away and was a little behind.
Q: What’s interesting about the farmers’ market?
A: We belong to the Saskatchewan Farmers’ Market Cooperative Limited and we have a levy we pay for membership and tables every week. The levy helps cover our expenses and, in the past, we made a donation to the new long-term care facility. Also, we’re open to new vendors, but they need a food safety certificate if they’re going to be doing any baking. We do have rules and regulations.
Q: When is the Holy Trinity Anglican Church/Good Shepherd Lutheran Church turkey dinner?
A: We had our Thanksgiving meal Sunday, Oct. 2 and it was successful. We were pleased with the crowd we had. We served 220 meals and we had enough food left for another 20-30. It is growing, and with the two churches together now, we had a lot of help in the kitchen. We all worked well together and it was quite awesome.
Q: Why hold this event annually?
A: It’s a fundraiser and church congregations are getting smaller. We do need to fundraise.
Q: What did you do for Thanksgiving?
A: I had all my family here. I cooked a turkey and all the trimmings.
Q: What does Thanksgiving mean to you?
A: To be thankful for all that we have. We live in a country that, when we hear the news, we feel fortunate. It’s also about the families we have and how they support us through the good and bad times.
Q: What does it mean to be an Anglican vestry member with the Church?
A: We have monthly meeting where we meet to plan our activities and to continue in worship areas. I’m also the president of the ladies group, so we meet once per month and a lot of planning goes into the activities we do. For example, just before Christmas, we’ll have a Cookie Walk at the church where we sell cookies and tickets for a raffle. The Cookie Walk has grown bigger every year and, with our two congregations together, I suspect we’ll even have a larger variety of cookies this year.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born in Loon Lake and I grew up in Meadow Lake. My parents lived in Meadow Lake their whole lives. My father, Jack Abbey, worked up North – he had two resorts at Keeley Log Cabins and North Haven Lodge. He bought fish and blueberries from the First Nations people and he was also fluent in Cree.
Q: How do remember Meadow Lake from years gone by?
A: I graduated from Carpenter High School in 1963. Back then, it was a much smaller community. We didn’t have pavement, so we put up with the mud after every rain. It was a community where I was happy to stay. My late husband, Myrone, wasn’t from here and was working for the department of highways. He asked if I would move, and I told him I wouldn’t move south because it was too windy and dusty. I was quite happy here. Myrone died in 2012 and he worked for highways for 33 years. He was five days short of 25 years of retirement and his 75th birthday. We had a celebration for him that day.
Q: Tell me about your children.
A: I have two children. Rodney and Rhonda are twins and they both live in Meadow Lake. My son works for NorSask Forest Products and Rhonda works in detox at the Meadow Lake Hospital.
Q: Is it nice to have your children living close?
A: It is. When my husband was sick, because my daughter works at the hospital and I worked at the hospital as well before I retired, we were able to look after Myrone at home. It was nice having the nursing experience and be able to do that. My granddaughter, Colleen, and Rodney, were also trained as well to help with his care.
Q: Is there any advice you’d like to share?
A: Take each day as it is and be grateful and thankful for what you have. Also, remember tomorrow is another day and things will get better. If you’re in trouble now, things do get better in time. It’s about faith and patience.