400-Tree Urban Orchard Blooms in Downtown Vancouver

Photo credit: alasam | Flickr

Photo credit: alasam | Flickr

North America’s largest urban orchard is putting down roots in downtown Vancouver.

Some 400 fruit trees have been planted in a vacant industrial lot on the corner of Main Street and Terminal Avenue, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun.  In three to five years, the trees should yield a bumper crop of exotic fruits – including figs and persimmons – all against a backdrop of rattling SkyTrains, car traffic and rising condo towers.

The project is another initiative from Solefood, which already operates almost five acres of urban farms tucked away on Vancouver streets and empty lots. (One of the largest is next to Rogers Arena, at Pacific Boulevard and Carrall Street.)  Because the land the orchard sits on is contaminated, all trees are being grown in plastic containers.  The area, which would otherwise sit vacant, was leased from the city for the bargain price of $1 per year.

In a unique twist, the orchard will be maintained with the assistance of residents from the Downtown Eastside. Continue reading:
400-Tree Urban Orchard Blooms in Downtown Vancouver

Berry season in Vancouver

Berries and yogurt dessert Photo credit: Raincity Grill

Berries and yogurt dessert at Raincity Grill. Photo credit: Miranda Post

Fingers stained red and violet. Lips stained blue. Juicy goodness on your salad, ice cream or in your drink. Berry season is here.

From June to mid-September each year, greater Vancouver literally bursts with the flavourful, anti-oxidizing orbs, thimbles and caps. Berry fans congregate to celebrate, bake, drink and pick strawberries, blueberries and others throughout the summer months. In fact, on July 17th, the Main Street Farmers’ Market is hosting a Berry Festival. Continue reading:
Berry season in Vancouver

“Local” Food Controversy Consumes Vancouver

Photo credit: PilotGirl | Flickr

Photo credit: PilotGirl | Flickr

Would you consider blueberries from Bellingham to be local? How about tomatoes from Jasper?

New definitions from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have dramatically stretched what it means to eat local, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun.   The updated guidelines says that any food produced in B.C. or within 50 kilometres of its borders is considered local.

In a province as large as B.C., this means that “local” produce and meat could be coming from thousands of kilometres away or even from other countries.

Vancouver eaters are already taking issue with the confusing change in terminology, which may alter the way products are labeled in grocery stores and on restaurant menus.

In the past, local food was defined by CFIA simply as anything produced within a 50-kilometre radius of where it was sold.  This offered buyers assurances that their fruits, veggies, meats and cheeses were all grown or made in their own backyard and not shipped long distances.

But that restrictive definition also created problems of its own. Continue reading:
“Local” Food Controversy Consumes Vancouver

Vancouver Farmers’ Market season opens May 11

Photo source: Eatlocal.org

Photo source: Eatlocal.org

Like a Whitecaps Southsider at the beginning of the Major League Soccer season, I count down the days until the summer Vancouver Farmers Markets open. While soccer friends herald the return of the Mattocks, DeWit or Camilo each March, I cheer for the return of Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, Empire Valley Beef  and Cropthorne Farms each May.

My ‘season’ starts with Trout Lake and Kitsilano Markets opening on May 11 and 12 respectively. Later, in June the West End (June 1), Main Street Station (June 5), and Kerrisdale (June 15) markets all commence to provide Vancouverites and visitors alike with delicious local eats, live music and handcrafted goodies like ceramics and jewelry.

Breakfast lovers, coffee devotees and food truck followers all have a place at the farmers markets, too. Besides the regulars like La Boheme Creperie, The Bean Buggy and Vij’s Railway Express, new mobile eateries will be added to the repertoire this year.

Between my missions for creamy goat brie and crinkly heirloom tomatoes this summer, I’ll be checking out the various market events. Not only will the summer farmers markets contribute to our community’s pantry but also to our community itself with family, gardening and foodie-focused happenings.

What’s up at your neighborhood farmers market this season? Take a sneak peak after the jump.

Continue reading:
Vancouver Farmers’ Market season opens May 11

Fancy-Pants Farmers Market at Shangri-La this Sunday, June 24

Unusual spot for a farmers market? Not in Vancouver! Photo: MARKET by Jean-Georges

I love Vancouver. I love that we live in a city where a luxury hotel (the Shangri-La Vancouver) and one of the cities top-rated, high-end restaurants (MARKET by Jean-Georges) decide to host an on-site farmers market and no one blinks an eye. Because, hey, why not? Even elite gourmands love a farmers market (right?), especially a fancy-pants one.

I jest; it really is a great idea (if somewhat ironic): MARKET will host the inaugural Shangri-La Farmers Market on its outside terrace, where guests can peruse stalls from nine different local vendors while enjoying complimentary canapés from Shangri-La’s Executive Chef Wayne Harris and complimentary wine tastings from Tinhorn Creek Vineyards.

Continue reading:
Fancy-Pants Farmers Market at Shangri-La this Sunday, June 24