Getting To Know: Earth Paws

“It is our aim to ALWAYS put your pets first. If we offer the best products in the market, it is our belief that profit will follow suit.”

(Courtesy of Earth Paws)

Earth Paws owner Kevin Lee says after years working in the pet industry working with clients and attending various trade shows he realized there is a need for premium products that are healthy for pets.

I make products with 100% natural human grade ingredients that I feed my own pets. It is my passion and goal to ensure there are healthy options for dogs and cats all across Canada. We also put in a lot of time and research into every product we bring to market. For instance, there are at least 8 other companies in BC alone that sell Dried Sardine for dogs and cats. Our big difference is that we’re the only ones in North America, that goes through a sodium extraction process because regular dried sardines contain more sodium than the recommended daily intake for many dogs and cats.

Earth Paws strives to ensure every dog and cat owner has access to the healthiest products that will hopefully improve the overall well being of their pets but are also delicious. Kevin says high quality products for pets is just as important for them as it is for us.

(Courtesy of Earth Paws)

High quality products contain less toxins and heavy metals while containing more beneficial vitamins and minerals. Dogs and cats can survive on low quality diets but at the end of the day, they are not thriving. We want to ensure that your pets stay by your side as long as possible and as healthy as possible.

All of Earth Paws products are made along side companies that make products for humans. Kevin says by doing this, they are forced to uphold their manufacturing procedures to human standards.

Right now, there is a huge lack of regulations in the industry which is why so many companies looking to make a quick buck jumps in offering cheap products made with low quality ingredients. Our future goal is to move into the dog/cat food business as the food our pets eat directly relates to their quality of life.

(Courtesy of Earth Paws)

A portion of Earth Paws’ proceeds are donated to Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind. Kevin says when starting his business, he always knew he wanted to support those in need.

Upon doing research, I found that lots of pet products businesses donated directly to the SPCA or other shelters. Although I absolutely support these organizations, I wanted our donations to help people first. When I came across Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind, I knew it was the perfect fit as we could help pay for some of the training guide dogs would need to help their human companions with visual impairments.

Looking to the future, Kevin says Earth Paws will remain privately owned so that they can continue to provide the best pet products without needing to worry about investors or shareholders.

We expect to be in every major city in Canada by the end of 2019 when we will start working on our raw diets for dogs and cats.

Learn more about some of Earths Paws products:

Dried Sardine Treats for dogs and cats: Sardines are an excellent source of proteins and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which help with brain function, heart, skin and coat health. This is why so many people feed their pets dried sardines on a daily basis. However, many dried sardines contain so much sodium that it can cause sodium poisoning and even kidney failure in our pets. This is why we go through a sodium extraction process to remove sodium levels down to 0.1% so pet owners don’t need to worry about these issues.

Sweet Potato Dental Chew: Our Sweet Potato Dental Chews are made of 100% white sweet potatoes which have lower sugars and higher dietary fiber than orange ones. Unlike any of the sweet potato treats on the market, ours feels hard as rock but is actually softer than our dog’s teeth. The removes the risk of fracturing teeth when they chew and because sweet potatoes are full of dietary fiber, it is also highly digestible.

On The Wild Side With: Brigitta’s Pottery

Growing up in a very creative family; a father who built furniture, a mother who was a gifted seamstress and a grandmother who was a marvellous cook, Brigitta knew from an early age how to sew,stitch, knit, wield a hammer and cook at an early age.

Music was an important part of our lives as well, more as in appreciation than playing an instrument; I learned to play the flute much later in live. Most of our weekends and holidays were spent either hiking, climbing and skiing in the Alps, or at the cottage  my parents rented at a farm. There I learned to love an appreciate farming and  nature in all it’s aspects.

Thus it was only natural that Brigitta was attracted to clay’s earthy properties. She says the material lends itself to being manipulated in every creative way one can think of.

Whether it’s soil I plunge my hands into to bring forth flowers and plants, or whether it’s clay I let slip through my hands to coax into shapes and forms, both give me the immense pleasure of creating. Creations that in return reflect on the beauty of nature.

Despite her creative upbringing, Brigitta says she began working with clay later in life. Once her youngest left home, she one day, filled her time by going to a pottery class with a friend. This reignited her passion for pottery and created opportunities that she did not let slip by. Eventually receiving a business license and building her studio, Brigitta began to sign up for markets, art studio tours and Christmas sales.

There was no opportunity when I was young, studied nursing, immigrated to Canada, and had a family. Even though I did not plan to start a business at this point, I did go to the Kootenay School of Arts studying ceramics for two years. Today I am still very happy working in my studio, totally enjoy the enriching contact with my customers at the markets and am up to a challenge when doing the odd custom work.

Brigitta creates her own unique colours and textures by mixing her own glazes, made of minerals, clays and oxides, which she sources from Greenbarn in Port Kells.

I buy Canadian clay sourced in Medicin Hat (Medalta), Alberta, through the pottery supply store Greenbarn in Port Kells. Medalta is a historic ceramic manufacturing complex now turned into a ceramic art school.

To offset the potential environmental damage from glazing materials Brigitta mixes surplus glaze and clay, form bricks, or lately ollas, and fire them to bisque temperature. This process stabilizes all material, and she then uses the bricks and ollas in her garden.

First and foremost, Brigitta’s design inspiration comes from nature. She says she does her best work when the environment is in mind. The rivers, forests and ocean that surround us, reflecting shapes and colours back to us.

…a perky frog, sea stars and shells are enhancing birdbaths, mugs and teapots. The process from idea to finished product can be long. An idea, some drawings, a prototype, or two, or three, breakage and disappointment, but eventually the piece looks at least somewhat like the original idea.

She is intrigued by both straight and clean lines and but gravitates towards organic shapes and forms like leaving uneven rims on plates, bowls and platters.

Or I coax an undulating wave into my mugs, making them look like fresh out of the ocean. And then my flower arranging vessels….well, I do sit in my garden a lot and while admiring  the flowers I’d like to display I envision the form that would do it best.

What in part makes Brigitta’s pottery so unique from one creation to another is the inherit way pottery is finished. She says despite technological advances, no two kiln loads turn out exactly the same.

Outside temperature and humidity, density in stacking the pieces, thickness of each piece, type of clay used  and placement in the kiln all play a role on how a pot turns out. That is why it can be very difficult to exactly replicate a piece.

Read More About Brigitta’s Pottery Making Process:

I do both hand building and wheel throwing and often combine the two. 

Lets take a midsize mug:

A lump of soft clay, about 500 g, is gently wedged ( a special kneading technique that is supposed to get rid of air bubbles in the clay and align the tiny clay particles so that throwing becomes easier and even).   

On the wheel it takes just a few minutes to form the cup, but then I take a rib (a flat tool) to the wobbly mug and distort the wall to get my wave pattern in. Lots of opportunity to press just a little bit too hard and the thin walls collapse. But if successful, the mug is then transferred onto a drying board and left to dry for a few hours (or anything from half an hour to two days, depending on the weather and humidity) till leather hard. That means the clay will be exactly like leather, it holds its shape but can still be manipulated to some degree. The mug is put back on the wheel, upside down, and the bottom gets trimmed, all the excess clay taken off to form a nice foot.

Meanwhile a handle is formed and left to dry to the same leather hardness as the mug, and then attached to the mug. The mug is left to dry completely, to bone dry, which can take anything from a day to almost a week.

Then the mug is fired to a temperature of 1040 Celsius. This process is called a bisque firing. It takes about 9 to 10 hours to peak temperature and a day to cool down. The process hardens the clay, however, it is still porous, won’t hold water, and is still not very strong.

At this point the glaze is applied. Glaze is a calculated mixture of clays, minerals, oxides and possibly colour pigments that will form a glass like layer around a bisque piece.

There are many techniques to do that, depending on the type of glaze used. Glaze can be painted on, sprayed on, poured over the piece, or the piece can be dipped right into the glaze.

Glaze dries quite fast and the piece can be fired a few hours to a day later. I fire to a mid range temperature of 2,000 Celsius. This time it takes about 12 hours to reach peal temperature and a good day to cool down. 

And voila, the mug is done! 

Long Table Dinner- On The Farm With: Jasbir Mandair

We are happy to announce that Chef Jasbir of Mandair Farms will be joining our Long Table Dinner once again! To get to know her personal tastes and creations a bit more she has kindly answered some questions for us.

What is your favourite thing to cook right now?

Nothing is my favourite. I like to make something new each time, experiment with different things and see how it turns out.

What is the first dish you cooked?

The first thing I ever made was dhal and roti.

What is your favourite vegetable from the market this week?

The tomatoes from the Okanagan farmers, Hill Top.

Best tip for home cooks?

Make sure that you have all the ingredients for what you are going to make but also have a well stocked spice cabinet.

Tell us something about your long table dinner dish.

It is going to be a samosa chaat. It is a spin off from your typical indian Chaat Appetizer. Some ingredients will be fresh lettuce, diced fresh cucumber tomato, and onions topped with plain yogurt and my famous tamarind chutney.

Getting To Know: Aslan Organics

Shane and Emma of Aslan Organics showed up in B.C. in 2010 after accepting a work offer on Vancouver Island with no intention of farming but quickly became eager to start their own food production.

In our first spring, we hastened the building of three raised beds in our small pie-shaped corner lot in an urban setting. We quickly fell in love with the dirt and produce we were making, and the garden just continued to grow.

In 2014 they moved to the Yarrow EcoVillage near Cultus Lake where within one year, they had a quarter acre and 20 laying hens. Now a 1.2 acres organic farm, with roughly 75 birds, customers will find plenty of fresh produce and eggs at market.

Our farm is a nod to the lion character in Chronicles of Narnia, Aslan, who represents the main framework for how we see ourselves as farmers: Earth Keepers; our Christian beliefs have significantly shaped our creation care modus operandi.

Aslan Organics was one of only twelve farms selected to receive a scholarship into J.M Fortier’s “The Market Gardners Master Class.” This has allowed Emma and Shane to go more in depth about how they plan and create success on their farm.

We grow joyfully good food: our farm is a sanctuary for those looking for quiet; our farm is small for those looking to experience simplicity; our farm is efficient for those looking to understand how it’s possible to make a living at organic vegetable farming. We aren’t just producers, we love what we do and we want you to love it too.

Growing organic is essential to Aslan Organics. They reference that for centuries the earth has provided an abundance of crop without the use of chemicals. Living and farming in the Yarrow EcoVillage they are continuously working together with their community and therefore directly impacted by these relationships.

While we sometimes wish we could just eliminate all the aphids, they too have a purpose in the greater ecological systems. It may not always be easy–in fact challenge is often a descriptor of progress because the community needs to agree (we function under consensus)–but we are continually becoming better versions of ourselves because of it.

Shane and Emma are not just producers, they love what they do and they want customers to love it too. It is their belief that the most important aspect of knowing must be our food; to know what we are consuming.

If we become disconnected from our food, we become disconnected from the Earth. If we disconnect ourselves from the Earth, our care and awareness for Mother Nature becomes obsolete, and could prove dangerous to how we treat the only planet that has (thus far) proven to support human life.

They want people to know their farm is a sanctuary for those looking for quiet and small for those looking to experience simplicity.

Our farm is efficient for those looking to understand how it’s possible to make a living at organic vegetable farming.

Although their methods are traditional and wholesome, Emma and Shane have brought their farm into the 21st century through the use of social media. They believe it is an opportunity for everyone to get a sense of what they up to, both professionally on the farm, but also small snippets of insight into their lives.

We believe that one of the best benefits to being “local” is knowing more about the people, something I would argue is inherent to the human condition: We all long for rich community experiences. For us, this farm–and you as our customer–is quickly taking shape as our rich community. We thank you for your support.

To grow a greater range of produce Aslan Organics has dipped it’s feet into greenhouses. As they are significantly warmer, plants can grow faster and thus lengthening the window of production.

We spend a significant amount of time ensuring the sanitization of our greenhouse (frequent weeding, eliminated any diseased plants, frequent browsing for predatory pests) because it’s crucial to the success of our operation.

Be sure to stop by Aslan Organics when coming to market as you may find a veggie you haven’t heard of, like the Hakurei Turnip! A favourite of customers it typically sells out within the first few hours of market.

Zero Waste Month: Biscotti Joe Coffee

To end off an amazing month of zero waste initiatives, we are highlighting a new program for customers of the much beloved Biscotti Joe Coffee! Lovingly toted the “bead program,” regular customers have been encouraged to bring their own mug to market.

If customer brings their own mug and purchase a cup of my coffee, I would give them a ring that has a colorful bead attached. Every time they buy another cup of coffee, they would receive another bead and when they reach six beads, they get a free cup of coffee!

Harry says this program is similar to coffee cards but more fun and has been received well.

In light of the no straws campaigns happening in Metro Vancouver, I think my program fits in with trying to reduce waste. I believe that you have a new style red mug available to new members that sign up. If you mention my program to them, it would be a nice tie in.

So make sure to bring your own mug or thermos when you visit Biscotti Joe Coffee at market and collect those beads!

Zero Waste Month: Growing Fresh

For week three of our Zero Waste Month, we are delving into what Growing Fresh is doing to be more sustainable!

Elevating her own company’s values and vision, Monika says using compostable corn derived plastic cups and wooden spoons for customers of the farmer’s market to use while tasting her products. 

We make organic, vegan, nutrient dense snacks and treats so the environmentally friendly and sustainable theme is already there. Using packaging and taster cups, etc, just goes well with that theme.

Monika says customers appreciate the work she is doing to become more environmentally friendly and she loves having those conversations, whether it be about the success but also any challenges she may face.

The cost of conventional packaging versus environmentally friendly packaging is always a challenge and not all products can be packaged in the most earth friendly manner. Some amount of plastic, even if it’s plant/corn based plastic will need to be used, such as clear cups or plastic lined bags to keep products sealed properly. It’s always a step ninth right direction.

Despite the conventional challenges of going zero waste, Monika says she is always looking for ways to improve her company’s footprint.

I’m always asking myself what can I do better in regards to further reducing waste. And the answers trickle in. Because we are already a plant based food production I think we are ahead anyways.

In speaking with customers, Monika says reducing our waste is for the next generations to come and for the planet too.

We only have one Earth.

Zero Waste Month: Central Park Farms

For the month of July, the Coquitlam Farmers Market is highlighting some of the great work vendors are doing to reduce their waste, both at market and throughout their production chains.

(Courtesy of Central Park Farms)

Kendall from market staple, Central Park Farms, says making sustainable choices within her company goes beyond just farming operations.

The goal behind our farm is ‘helping our community make ethical and sustainable food choices,’ so it’s important that we focus on sustainable and zero waste initiatives wherever we can.

Central Park Farms has forged relationships with various companies in food production and supply chain so they can work together to divert food otherwise destined for the land fill. Kendall says their pigs are fed through a cleaver food waste recovery program.

We feed spend brewery grains from local breweries, cast offs from a local organic granola bar manufacture so they get nuts, honey, whey, and oats, and then fruits and vegetables.

(Courtesy of Central Park Farms)

In addition to this program, the farm now simply uses vacuum seal bags for their meats instead of using an additional meat tray, and liner. Kendall says she was a bit concerned about how customers would respond to the change in packaging.

But when I explained to our regular customers why we were changing our packaging they were thrilled. Less waste they have to deal with in their homes as well. Plus as a bonus because the meat takes up less room without the tray we’re now able to use smaller bags therefore further reducing the amount of plastic we use.

With a more widespread push to better take care of our planet, Kendall says she the number of calls from food producers wanting to see if the farm could take on their byproducts or cast offs have increased, a “bit of a snowball effect”. While many companies are trying to reduce their environmental impact, some of what she has been receiving surprises her.

(Courtesy of Central Park Farms)

It’s really shocking to see what great shape this food is in that we feed but unfortunately in many cases by the time it goes through the supply chain from the grower/packer/producer to the distribution centre and then the grocery store it will have gone bad. But when we get it, it’s still in fantastic shape. Our kids often pull perfect fruit out before it goes to the pigs and eat it themselves while they work around the farm.

Kendall says we all need to do our part to leave the world a better place for our kids and that these changes go far beyond business operations and success.

That was the reason I got into farming in the first place is I was feeling like there was so much abuse in animal agriculture to both the animals and the environment so I just want to make sure we operate in a way that aligns with my values and how I want the world to be left for my family.

Look for future sustainability endeavours from Central Park Farms! Kendall says as her business continues to grow, constantly in a state of improvement, she is always looking for opportunities to integrate more efficient and eco-friendly systems and supples into farming operations.

On The Wild Side With: Food Migration

Inspired by a traditional Taiwanese snack, Ethan of Food Migration has created a line of bite sized treats perfect for tea lovers.

Where I came from, Taiwan, people enjoyed tea on daily basis. Traditionally, these type of snacks are often enjoyed with tea. As Chinese drink tea with no sugar or milk added, the taste of tea could sometime be dry (or astringent) and bitter. Little sweets like ChaNut serve perfectly in tea drinker’s mouth and balance out less wanted sensation with mild sweetness and nuttiness. That’s why we call it perfect snack of tea.

Food Migration’s brand most familiar to market customers is called ChaNut, which has a more meaningful connection to its purpose as a compliment to tea than some may realize.

Our brand name ChaNut is actually the combination of Chinese phonic of tea, “Cha” and English word “Nuts,” which we are hoping will catch the spirit of tea and deliver the message to our customers.

There are currently three lines of ChaNut creations. Depending on the flavour, their main ingredients range from peanuts, to pumpkin and black sesame seeds, all bound by malt syrup, giving them their distinct and unifying flavour.

It’s actually my mother’s recipe. She cracked the formula from the traditional snack, we have in Taiwan. My Mom, like most of the parents, disbarred all kinds of junky snack. As nut gaining its popularity in the recent years, she decided to make her own snack. I learned from her after she proudly shared it with me on my trip back home couple years ago. I did tweak the recipe a bit afterward, but the basic taste is inherited from my mother.

Ethan says he used to think inspiration to create new food products was like a sparkle, coming from nowhere and caused by many of happy coincidences. Now he says new flavours are first inspired by the familiarity of Taiwan recipes and are then given a Canadian twist.

We ask our friends and family from time to time and improve the product base their feedback as well, trying to find the taste that can relate to our community. I guess you can say the inspiration is from where I am from and where I live now, and its a combination of who we are.

With its current success, Food Migration is looking to further migrate its favourite foods into the Canadian market. Ethan says he hopes products will continue to perk customers interest.

Much like a friend sharing great stuff with each other, I am hoping Food Migration would be your foodie friend. We hope the customer to know that ChaNut is a great healthy nutty snack, a great product before or after work out, and most importantly its a snack they could enjoy in any given day.

On The Wild Side With: Oyster & King

(Courtesy of Oyster & King)

Did you know cultivated mushrooms are grown differently than other produce? Most are apart of a group of fungi called, saprobes, which feed off of and lie within decaying organic materials such as wood and straw, not soil. Coming this summer, customers of the farmers market will have the chance to purchase mushrooms grown from a unique blend of such materials thanks to Oyster and King!

Our mushrooms are grown on our unique substrate combination of wood chips and other organic materials and are delivered locally daily to guarantee freshness and quality.

(Courtesy of Oyster & King)

David Xiao of Oyster King says to grow mushrooms, carbon is derived from wood or straw, but accessible nitrogen is usually added in the form of bran, composted animal manure, or other means.

It is an labour intensive process in strictly controlled environment that is
by default organic, and sustainable operations operate much like a factory rather than a farm.

Mushroom growth is dependent on a maintenance of a narrow range of C/N ratio (for fertile compost), pH, temperature, and humidity.

David says oyster mushrooms grow at an ideal temperature of 10-24°C, making the spring and fall seasons the ideal time of year to grow.

Wild mushrooms have unique requirements for fruiting, and fruit throughout various times of the year. Morels pop in the late spring and summer, and chanterelles, lobsters and others come with the early rains of the fall wherever it is moist.

Fun fact: Did you know fungi were among the first organisms to colonize land beside plants? There is speculation that they had an early symbiosis with plants and this aided them in doing so.

Now you know!

Fresh Eats Blog: Potatoes

Here at the Coquitlam Farmers Market we are all about local, seasonal and sustainably grown produce. What better way to celebrate the summer months than a fresh take on some familiar foods! This week’s topic: potatoes.

Did you know potatoes are one of the world’s most important staples? From 1845 to 1852, Ireland experienced a great famine due to the shortage of potatoes, killing about one million people.

Did You Know?

Did you know many compare potatoes to pasta or bread because of the amount of carbohydrates it contains? There are thousands of different varieties of potatoes, all pollinated by bees!

Despite the name, did you know sweet potatoes are only loosely related to potatoes?

Potatoes are in season in South West British Columbia from August until sold out the next year! Make sure you stop by the market this Sunday to try some of the province’s best!

Recipe of the Week

Salad- Stuffed Tomatoes 



3 red potatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large tomatoes
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cucumber, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch-long matchsticks
1/2 bunch arugula (1 1/3 cups), cut into thin strips
4 onions, peeled and cut into thin rounds


Step 1- Place potatoes in a small saucepan; cover with salted water. Bring water to a boil, and cook potatoes until fork tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and transfer potatoes to an ice-water bath until cool.

Step 2- Drain potatoes, and slice into 1 1/2-inch-long matchsticks; set aside.

Step 3- Slice off the tops of tomatoes; discard tops. Using a melon baller, scoop out the seeds and flesh; discard. Set the tomato “bowls” aside.

Step 4- In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in oil. Set vinaigrette aside.

Step 5- In a medium bowl, combine potatoes, cucumber, arugula, and onions. Add reserved vinaigrette; toss gently to combine. Divide salad among tomato bowls, and garnish with dill fronds, if available.

Ingredients at the Market

Cucumbers: Forstbauer Farms, Nutrigreens, Ripple Creek Organic Farm, Wah Fung Farm

Potatoes: Forstbauer Farms, Shen’s Farm, Never Say Die

Tomatoes: Forstbauer Farms, Never Say Die, Ripple Creek Organic Farm

Arugula: Langley Organic Growers

Onions: Ripple Creek Organic Farm

Butter & Cheese: Golden Ears Cheescrafters

Other Greens and Vegetables: Floralia Growers, Forstbauer Farms, Langley Organic Growers, Never Say Die Farm, Ripple Creek Organic Farm, Shen’s Farm, Wah Fung Farm

Steps on How To Grow

Potato Planting 101:

Step 1- Plant seeds or small portions of pre-cut potatoes in nutrient rich soil. If you are planting pre-cut pieces of potatoes, make sure you cut them about one day before in order to give it time to form a protective layer prior to planting.

Step 2- Form a trench and then spread and mix in rotted manure or organic compost in the bottom.

Step 3- Plant seed potatoes one foot apart in a 4-inch deep trench, eye side up.

Note: It is recommended to practice yearly crop rotation.

Step 4- Make sure you water your plants regularly. This is especially important when the tubers are forming. Potatoes like growing in soft soil that can be drained well.

Step 5- When the plant is about six inches tall, hoe the dirt up around the base of the plant in order to cover the root as well as to support the plant. Bury them in loose soil. This ensures the crop does not get sunburnt.

Note: If you see your potatoes have turned green, this is a result of them being sunburnt. Do not eat them!

Step 6- Repeat step 5 every few weeks to protect your crop.

Step 7- The time of harvest depends on what time of year you have planted. Harvest could occur between 60 to 90 days after planting.

Step 8- Harvest your crop after the plant’s foliage has died back. Cut browning foliage to the ground and wait 10 to 14 days before harvesting to allow the potatoes to develop a thick enough skin. Don’t wait too long, though, or the potatoes may rot.

Step 9- Dig potatoes on a dry day. Dig up gently, being careful not to puncture the tubers.

Potatoes in B.C.

Did you know potatoes make up 52% of all fresh vegetables consumed in Canada? Canada is among the top 20 potato producing countries worldwide and is the most valuable vegetable crop in Canada.

Potatoes are grown in every province including B.C.! Although not one of the main producers, there are dozens of farmers who produce this crop! As a country, we produce about $1 billion worth of potatoes annually.