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.

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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.

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

Vancouver Farmers Markets Kick Off New Season

Photo credit: Vancouver Farmers Market

Fanfare, please. Vancouver farmers’ markets return for the summer/fall season that runs from late May to October in five locations throughout Vancouver. Primp your eco shopping bags and wax your bicycle. It’s time to get friendly with BC farmers.

Trout Lake Farmers Market, the biggest baddest Vancouver farmers’ market, opened May 12, in a glorious blaze of sunshine. Kitsilano Farmers Market opens this Sunday, May 20.

But they’re not the only game in town. West End Farmers Market and Main Street Station Farmers Market will kick off in early June, to be joined by the first ever Kerrisdale Farmers Market in July.

Get details on opening dates new vendors, food trucks and market events after the jump.

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Vancouver Farmers Markets Kick Off New Season

Raincity Grill Celebrates 20 Years of Local, Sustainable Food

Sloping Hills Confitted Pork Belly at Raincity Grill. Photo: Dana Lynch

If you were on Denman Street or English Bay Beach today, you may have seen the yellow and purple balloons decorating the patios of Raincity Grill, one of Vancouver’s most famous and beloved restaurants. Those balloons were part of Raincity Grill’s anniversary party—the iconic restaurant turned 20 today!

Back in 1992, when Raincity Grill opened, locavore / local food sourcing wasn’t the mainstream trend it is today. As Raincity Grill’s owner, Harry Kambolis, explained to the Vancouver Sun, because he wanted to serve authentic West Coast cuisine, he and his first chef relied on fresh ingredients from the Granville Island Public Market, which in turn led to weekly menu changes (based on those fresh ingredients).  Locally-sourced food and weekly menus were a novelty in 1992, but, as we see today, Kambolis and Raincity Grill were simply ahead of the curve.

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Raincity Grill Celebrates 20 Years of Local, Sustainable Food

Vancouver Spot Prawn Festival May 7, 2011

Photo: 2010 Vancouver Spot Prawn Festival

One of the things I love about Vancouver is the abundance of fun, unique food festivals that happen throughout the year. They’re a great way to experience fresh, new and locally-sourced foods, which is exactly what you’ll find at the 5th Annual Vancouver Spot Prawn Festival happening next weekend on May 7, 2011.

The Spot Prawn Festival kicks off B.C.’s spot prawn season with food, cooking demos from some of Vancouver’s top chefs, and family-friendly activities for kids of all ages, including a chance to explore fish and other sea creatures hands-on, courtesy of the Vancouver Aquarium.

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Vancouver Spot Prawn Festival May 7, 2011

Cool New Website: Classified ads for local produce and meat

Looking for really cheap local blueberries?  How about 500 pounds of Italian basil for making the world’s biggest batch of pesto?  Or maybe some two-week old chicks to jumpstart your backyard chicken coop?

Then SharedHarvest.ca, a new Craigslist-style site that connects local farmers with consumers and restaurants, may be just the thing for you (The Vancouver Sun profiled the site in a great article earlier this week).  Shared Harvest allows gardeners and farmers looking to sell a little extra crop  to post free classified ads.  You can also put up a want-ad if you happen to be looking for a particular ingredient or even a tool or expert advice for your own garden.

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Cool New Website: Classified ads for local produce and meat