For a real taste of the west coast landscape, few outings allow a peek into the food culture of any given region like a stroll through their farmers’ markets. If you’re on the west coast or have plans to visit Vancouver Island or the Gulf Islands this summer, it’s a great way to spend a sunny summer day with the whole family, experiencing the smells, sounds and tastes of all that grows on the Canadian west coast.
Just north of Courtenay, you’ll find artisanal bounty straight from the fertile soil at the Saturday morning Comox Valley Farmers Market. At this year-round offering, visitors can stock up on organic vegetables, eggs and homemade bread from Ironwood Farm, sip Watrin Orchards cider, feel the energy bar rush from Heavenly Goodies and snag fresh-caught salmon from Succeed Fishing Ltd.
Further south at the year-round Duncan Farmers Market, Saturday mornings promise a jam-packed gathering of up to 120 vendor tents, located in and around City Square. Here you’ll find vegetables and eggs from Glen Eden Organic Farm, infused sea salts from Vancouver Island Salt Co. and gourmet mustards and salsas from Fat Chili Farm. Looking for some unusual bent willow garden furniture? How about locally made cheeses and fresh pasta? You’ll find those too — this is, after all, one of BC’s biggest marketplaces.
For a final shopping stop, the much-loved Salt Spring Island Market in the Park, in the heart of Ganges, has long drawn the region’s best producers, potters, jewelers, fibre artists and woodworkers. On Saturdays April through October, go for the goat and sheep cheeses from Salt Spring Island Cheese Company, grab organic greens, roots and fruits from Foxglove Farm, fill your boots with flowers and essential oils from Sacred Mountain Lavender or forage for fungi, courtesy of Salt Spring Exotic Mushrooms. In all, it’s a taste of the island you won’t soon forget.