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By Kristi Alexandra There’s a homey vibe when you step into Nourish Market on Vancouver’s North Shore. With crates of fresh produce greeting you at the door, a quiet dining enclave in the corner, and a few rows of neatly arranged grains and bottles, the small mom-and-pop grocery shop is no big box store. Tucked into the pristine Lynn Valley Village, it’s not even the wholesome facade of high-end, organic grocers. Unpretentious, healthful, and local, a trip to Nourish Market evokes friendly feelings of visiting a neighbour to break bread. “A lot of folks, like us, are tired of the impersonal big box and chain stores. They are looking for a deeper connection to their food and their community. We offer a curated collection of the best of what local producers and artisans have to offer,” says founder Jeff Proseilo. Proseilo and his family opened up shop in 2011, and…

by Catherine Dunwoody You may be familiar with Left Coast Naturals, a Burnaby-based brand that started back in 1996. Owned by Jason Dorland and Ian Walker, they kicked off with a line of natural nut butters called Skeet & Ike’s that they sold on Granville Island Market on weekends. Things went well, the company ticked along for a long while, and then in 2005 they launched a variety of tortilla chips, named Hippie Chips, after the 60s hippie movement where people looked to raw, natural foods for better health. Hippie Foods has grown since then, and now is a whole line of healthy (and tasty!) snacks, cereals and cookies. See? Going way beyond granola. Though their granola is darn good. Here are some goodies to watch for in markets on Canada’s west coast. Bonus? All of these are organic, gluten free and non-GMO too: Hippie Snacks Coconut Clusters. Organic roasted…

By Ashley Lockyer Classic red tractors, fields bound by forests, and bright red beets that radiate nutrition with their sweetness: That’s what you’ll experience at A Rocha farm in Surrey, BC. Their dedication to good taste doesn’t only apply to flavour. It’s their farming philosophy to use organic, sustainable farming methods that support the environment and build community. Group tours get a chance to wander through fields with the farmers, who point out organic growing techniques and show the benefits of eco-conscious gardens. “Often conservation and farming seem to be at odds with one another… we want to, in a really small way, demonstrate that a garden can be a really thriving ecosystem that’s diverse and healthy and has a place for animals and insects within it,” says farm manager, Paul Neufield. Farmers here encourage you to expand your palate and taste test new varieties of your favourite produce, beyond…

By Lenée Son Across the street from a busy road and tucked away behind a tall hedge fence is one of Surrey’s best hidden gems, Zaklan Heritage Farm. The 8-acre urban farm was founded in the 1920’s by Dragan and Marta Zaklan who immigrated to Canada from Europe. Continuing his great grandparent’s legacy, Doug Zaklan is leading the farm through a revitalization project along with his partner, Gemma McNeill. The pair met at UBC Farm in Vancouver and share a passion for sustainable and organic farming. At the farm you’ll find a variety of fruits of vegetables but you won’t find any pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers. “We fertilize with compost,” said Zaklan. “For pests we cover with a Reemay cloth and mostly just make sure things are healthy.” Pick up fresh seasonal produce from Zaklan Heritage Farm on Saturdays from June to October. They also offer a community supported…

By Kathy Mak When most kids are playing and vacationing during their summer break, Jonah Daniels is pursuing his dream of building and running his artisan food business.  He is the precocious 13-year-old founder and kidpreneur behind Rebel Pops which are 100% all natural, healthy, homemade, whole fruit popsicles or ice pops made from the finest organic and wild ingredients that are mostly harvested by Jonah and his family.  His Rebel team of five family members, based in the Lower Mainland, includes his mom, Roxayn, (ice pops designer) and dad, Jamey. Now in his 3rd year of business, Jonah’s company produces and sells over 80 licklicious handcrafted popsicle flavours.  They are primarily sold at the White Rock Farmers Market, Granville Island Farmers Market, and a few other markets from early spring to fall, and are also available for special or custom orders.  Rebel Pops are $3.50 for individual ice pops…

By Joanne Sasvari Think of it as a fragrant invitation. When Paul Hanley opens the oven door, the mouthwatering aroma of fresh-baked bread wafts through his South Surrey neighbourhood. Within minutes, locals are lining up for his baguettes and scones, quiches and artisanal country breads. And not just locals – increasingly, Fieldstone Artisan Breads is drawing customers from all over the Lower Mainland. “It’s worth the trek,” says Hanley, who co-owns the shop with his wife Nicola Erasmus. “It’s designed as a destination and not just a location. It’s beautiful to look at and it’s beautiful inside and there’s French music playing. And I can honestly say I use the most local ingredients – I actually have a farm that grows stuff for us.” Fieldstone was a second act career for Hanley. But he also provided Fieldstone with its own successful second act. It opened in 1998, one of the…

By Joyce Chua, Vancouver Foodie Tours Long gone are the days of food carts peddling only hotdogs and pretzels – in Vancouver food trucks showcase multicultural menus and gourmet ingredients. Take Kaboom Box, for example which is a staple in the heart of downtown. Locals swarm Kaboom Box on the daily, hungry for hot smoked salmon sandwiches, Pacific cod fish and chips, and gulf island oyster po’boys. It’s an obvious case for seriously delicious coastal food. What may come as a surprise to first-timers, is that Kaboom Box is dedicated to certified Ocean Wise seafood and sustainably produced meat. Their greens are organic, and all items are sourced locally, whenever possible. The notes are subtle, and it takes a keen eye to spot the Ocean Wise sticker on the side of the truck. But perhaps that’s the greatest allure of Kaboom is that they’re hardly self-righteous – quality ingredients are…

By Joanne Sasvari Photos by Joanne Sasvari As long as Steve Easterbrook can remember, he’s been fascinated by birds and, in particular, chickens. “It’s been a lifelong passion for me,” he says, remembering that when he was a young boy, he and a friend would visit a neighbor who raised chickens and game birds. “My friend and I became enchanted with poultry.” It’s not surprising, then, that Easterbrook became an egg farmer. Perhaps the only surprising thing is it took him until he was in his 30s to do so. That’s when he founded Rabbit River Farms, an organic egg producer in Richmond BC. (The company name is a play on his surname: Easter = rabbit; brook = river.) When Easterbrook started the farm in 1993, Rabbit River was the first certified organic egg producer in Canada – in fact, he had to write the country’s original guidelines for organic…

by Kathy Mak Winter may seem an unlikely time to visit an outdoor farmers market in Canada, but the milder climate in the Lower Mainland allows the markets and abundance of seasonal products to thrive. Deserving of more recognition, a winter market’s appeal lies not only in the quality and range of offerings, but also in knowing that it’s served by a passionate community of both food artisans/farmers and shopping foodies, all prepared to brave the elements in support of fresh local products. The charm of a winter market is in the smaller and manageable crowds. With shorter line ups, there’s time to sample and chit-chat with merchants. Live entertainment, food trucks and heating stations are also on hand to add some extra warmth. To visit a winter market is to crave comfy and warming flavours. It’s easy to take inspiration for cozy dishes from the bounty of seasonal products…

By Kathy Mak There’s no denying it, eating counts as sightseeing, and when you have a sweet tooth, bakeries, pastry shops and other sweet stops are the attractions! You don’t have to go far in Vancouver to find every possible sugary delight, from award-winning ice cream, to-die-for pastries, and gourmet macarons to handcrafted chocolates. But, finding some of the unsung sweet treats further afield can be the real taste-adventure. Take this sweet-packed outing to discover a selection of local, laid-back gems in Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond and Vancouver, all easily linked by convenient public transit and short walks. Your self-guided, sweet tasting spree begins in downtown Vancouver with an early morning stop at Cartems Donuterie (534 West Pender). It’s hard enough to resist regular donuts, but resistance is futile when it comes to Cartems’ donuts as they are dreamy! (And, literally, Cartems was born out of a dream by the…

By Kathy Mak Coffee, served hot or cold, is arguably the world’s most popular beverage. In the ranking of best coffee cities in the world, Vancouver has become one of the undisputed top ten leaders. The obsession with coffee, particularly independent coffee shops/roasters, is a big part of what defines the city’s foodie culture, as much as craft breweries, food trucks, farmers markets, boutique eateries, etc. And, the love affair with java extends throughout the Fraser Valley. To truly appreciate the local coffee scene, grab your travel mug and follow this itinerary to sip on some of the best coffee, and special accompaniments, at a batch of unique micro-roasters in Greater Vancouver. As the saying goes, “life is too short to drink bad coffee.”  If you crave unique coffee flavours that are ethically sourced, then you may be part of a growing trend of coffee connoisseurs that support indie-owned coffee…

By Joanne Sasvari Here on Vancouver’s North Shore, you could say the meat is, well, a cut above. North and West Vancouver are home to a number of butchers, meat shops and sausage makers who’ve carved out a high-quality niche, often specializing in local, organic, antibiotic-free, chemical-free and humanely raised products. Two Rivers Specialty Meats Technically, Two Rivers Specialty Meats is a North Vancouver-based wholesale distributor that sells meat throughout the Lower Mainland. But they’re much more than that. They’re a force for good – after all, they’ve done more than just about anyone to make local, ethically raised meats the popular choice for diners in Vancouver. You’ll find their products – from highly respected producers like Sloping Hills pork, Thiessen Farms chickens and Pemberton Meadows natural beef – on the best restaurant menus in Vancouver as well as in boxes from the SPUD organic food delivery service. Now Two…