By Tom Read
According to the wharfinger, Texada Island’s only all-weather protected boat harbour, located at what locals call Marble Bay (Sturt Bay on the charts) in Van Anda, hosts about 500 to 600 visiting boats each year, mainly from May to September. Boaters have learned of the warm welcome and convenience when re-provisioning from a small harbour adjacent to a walkable village. Texada may lack public transportation, but it’s just a 10-minute leisurely walk from the harbour to most anywhere in Van Anda, including the grocery store, post office, restaurant, bar, hot showers at the hotel, gas station, credit union, church, school and museum.
So at this time of year it’s not unusual to see couples strolling up into the village from the harbour, sometimes asking directions to the Texada Food Market, First Credit Union, Post Office or Centennial Service gas station. I mention the grocery store first in that list, because every summertime cruiser’s galley needs resupply from a grocery store sooner or later. Lately the item most in demand seems to be bread.
We often bake our own bread, but with the warm weather lately it’s been a luxury to buy bread rather than run the oven when we’re trying to keep the house cool. Thus, imagine my consternation last week, and again yesterday, when I’ve gone to buy bread at the store and found the shelves stripped bare of the typical plastic-wrapped, pre-sliced, 7-or-12-grain bread loaves usually available in abundance. Even the tasteless, nutrition-challenged white bread had vanished. Let me repeat: empty shelves where one would normally see dozens of industrially-packaged loaves.
“It’s the boaters,” said one store staffer, by way of a speculative explanation. Whether that’s true or not, last week’s mysterious shortage seemed to take the store staff by surprise, and I went home with tortillas instead. But we’re fortunate that Texada Food Market regularly bakes its own bread, which happened to be fresh from the oven when I arrived at the store yesterday. So that’s what I bought, still quite warm from their oven, and it’s a fine product indeed. I’m sure it, too, sold out quickly. I later learned that a new shipment of bread arrived at the store within a few hours of my late morning visit; the shelves were never empty for long.
Maybe an influx of visiting boaters bought most of the bread, or perhaps the dearth was only an innocent coincidence, but whatever the cause I felt a real shock when I first saw empty shelves instead of an expected staple food item. In light of previous posts on food security and the like, need I say more? Let us be grateful for any bread in our possession, and keep plenty of baking supplies in the pantry at home, just in case.