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Five Favourites: West End Farmers Market

Last week our East Side Contributor Heather introduced us to the Vancouver Farmers Market. Today our Vancouver Downtown Contributor Alexis shares five of her favourite local food vendors from the market’s West End location. Are you hungry yet?

Tomatoes from Celyddon Farm

Celyddon Farms farmers market west end vancouver downtownThe stall for this small Surrey farm has a line-up of customers eagerly anticipating their delicious tomatoes before the market even opens at 9:00am, and for good reason. They sell other produce too, but it’s their selection of heritage tomatoes that makes them one of my “don’t miss” local food stops every Saturday. But get there early – after 10:00am they can sell out of their most popular varieties.  I load up a bag of the different varieties, mix and match style, and plan a tomato salad for our next family meal. A few chunks of red, green, yellow, and purple tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and we’ve got a delicious, and very pretty, lunch!

Smoked Tuna from Estevan Tuna Co

The first time I saw Bruce selling his cans of tuna a few years ago, I couldn’t understand what the fuss was about. “It’s just a can of tuna,” I thought. “Why are people lining up and buying it by the case?”

And then I tasted some. Oh my.

The smoked albacore tuna is so good I’ve been known to stand in my kitchen and eat it straight out of the can when no one is looking. They also sell regular, olive oil, and no salt added varieties, and you can mix and match to get a case at a discounted price. We buy at least one case every summer to dole out as treasured gifts to our foodie family and friends.

Bruce isn’t at the market every week, since he’s often out fishing, so check the market schedule or follow Bruce on twitter to know when he’ll be downtown.

Editor’s Note: Smoked albacore tuna is the only kind my daughter will eat, and I pack it in her school lunch. Spoiled? Maybe – but I have to agree that it’s pretty tasty. Also, unlike other tuna, BC albacore tuna is low in mercury, so it’s safe for children, and pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Estevan Tuna Co

www.bctuna.com | Twitter

Cheese – The Pinnacle of Local Food

Little Qualicum is another “don’t miss” stop on my rounds of the market. I cannot resist good cheese. This artisan cheese maker produces cheese from their own herd of cows on Vancouver Island. They offer tasting samples of all their wares, and like Celyddon Farm and their tomatoes, sometimes their most popular ones sell out well before closing time. The cheese sells for $7 each, or 3 for $20. My favourites? I always choose their Bleu Claire and their Island Brie. Then I buy one more, which I change up every week. I’m not capable of buying only two!

Little Qualicum Cheeseworks

www.cheeseworks.ca | Twitter | Facebook

Ciabatta from A Bread Affair

What’s cheese without a chunk of hearty bread to go with it? Made in their Langley headquarters with organic ingredients, A Bread Affair’s ciabatta has just the right balance of chewy crust and light airy insides. They also have a great 100 Mile Loaf – talk about local food! I’m also particularly fond of their baguette and their apricot walnut bread. When I can’t decide, I taste-test the samples they offer to help with those tough “which to buy” decisions.

A Bread Affair

www.abreadaffair.ca

Local Fruit Treats from Icy Fresh Pops

Our last – and my son’s favourite – stop on any given Saturday is Icy Fresh Pops. It’s last because frozen treat + three year old + sunshine = messy. Made with fresh local fruit, these refreshing all-natural popsicles really hit the spot on a sunny day. Flavours vary based on what’s in season, which is part of the local food fun, but I’ve become a fan of the Peach Ginger. My son, a blueberry fiend, goes straight for the Blueberry Honey Lavender.

Icy Fresh Pops

icyfreshpops.com | Twitter | Facebook

Once we’re done at the market, we head off to check out the community garden and playground at adjacent Nelson Park. It’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning!

The West End Farmers Market runs on Saturdays from 9:00am – 2:00pm until October 22, 2011.

West End Farmers Market

eatlocal.org | Twitter | Facebook
1100 Block of Comox, Vancouver

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Comment(3)

  • Crystal - Prenatal Coach
    September 14, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I love our West End Farmer’s Market, especially since we can walk to it! =)

    • Alexis Hinde
      September 14, 2011 at 12:24 pm

      Yes! The location is fantastic. I love riding my bike there and loading up the bike trailer with yummy food to take home. 🙂

  • Sara
    September 14, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Pure Bread’s baked goods are some of the best I’ve ever tasted. No lie. I always comment that it’s a good thing they don’t have a retail front or I would need an intervention.

    They’re at the WE farmers market every other weekend.

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