You can’t get any better when you buy Mary Diesel’s jam and jellies made with wild, local, fresh, hand-picked berries, “I use pretty well everything that grows around here: black current, I get red current from my daughter, saskatoons, raspberries, blueberries, and pin cherries.” Making jam and selling it at the Lac La Biche Farmer’s Market for more or less 30 years, you can be assured Mary’s got her recipes down to perfection. She also enjoys the tranquility of running her business out of Owl River, “I’ve never lived in a town, I can’t stand the noise. And here, I can go and pick my berries in peace and quiet.”
Making jam is not all Mary does either, crocheting is a past time she’s carried on for about 60 years. “My mother-in-law was crocheting and I really liked it. And another lady was doing the embroidery and it just caught my eye so I did lots of that too. And I’m still doing that.” Available through her business Island Lake Crochet Crafts, Mary’s work is impeccably detailed. “I could never in my life do what she’s doing,” says her husband, Clyde. “I’ve got a license in heavy duty automotive and mechanical so my motto is when things don’t work out, go for a bigger hammer. I don’t think that works in this case,” he jokes.
“My kids are all grown up and away from home so what else am I gonna do?” Mary laughs. As one of the few long time vendors, she says, “If you’re a farmer, you’re poor and you gotta get started and every little thing helps. I like doing it and I like being here at the Farmer’s market.”.