Winter POP Club – Week 2

Discover the Power of Produce and join the POP Club this Sunday!

We just kicked off the Winter Farmers Market yesterday and had a great turn out! Thank you to all the kids that came down and registered for the program this season. If you haven’t yet registered, make sure you come by the POP tent and get started!

So, how does the POP Club work?

Well, the POP Club is a farmers market-based kids program. Each week children (ages 5-12 years old) will participate in fun and educational activities that will teach them about fruits and vegetables, local food systems and healthy food preparation. After that, they will be trying the 2-Bite of the week which will be a fruit or vegetable that’s in season and can be found at the market. As they try the 2-Bite we will share with them interesting facts about what they are eating. Once they finish the activity and try the 2-Bite, children receive a $3 market token that can be used towards any fruit or vegetable of their choice. They can either use their token right then or save them for bigger purchases. This teaches kids how to make healthier food choices and how to manage their money.

There is no cost to participate and the program runs every Sunday rain or shine!

November 10 – Week 2: This week our POP kids will be participating in an activity that teaches about the different hats farmers wear. Children will learn about the different jobs that farmers do on the farm. Not only do they grow delicious, fresh produce for us, but they also take on roles such as being a veterinarian, mechanic, scientist and more! This Sunday kids will learn a farmers work doesn’t end just because the harvest season is over.

2-Bite Club: Bell Peppers

Hope to see you this Sunday!

Why You Should Start Seed Saving

Let’s begin by defining what seed saving actually is. Well, its exactly how it sounds. Seed saving is when you save the seeds from fruits and vegetables that you grow in your garden. You can also save seeds while on your nature walks from things such as wildflowers or acorns. Each plant has a different method of having its seeds saved, so it is worth it to look into what type of seed you have and the methods needed. To learn more about seeds saving of different varieties, you can check out our previous blog post here: Seed Saving

A cool fact about seed saving it that it is one of the earliest practices of agriculture. It has been around for over 10,000 years! Seed saving allowed our ancestors to settle in one location and have their basic needs met through growing their own resources. These resources included food, fuel, forest, fiber and flowers.

Why seed save?

There are many benefits to seed saving. The first being that you save money! Instead of buying packets of seeds every season, you can harvest the seeds from the plants that you have already grown, save them and plant them again come gardening season. By saving seeds, you can eventually build up enough stock to rotate what you grow in your garden every year.

Seed saving also teaches you about the life cycle of a plant. One of the first steps in the cycle is the sprout emerging from the seed, then turning into a plant and ending with developing its own seeds. When we seed save we are ensuring there is no waste and continue the same cycle of the plant over and over. What this does is help maintain certain types of plants and keep them alive for many generations. It also helps to save us from using GMO seeds!

How to seed save?

Its actually quite simple to seed save. Once the fruit or vegetable becomes ripe, you remove the seeds from the pulp and allow them to dry completely. Once dried, place them in a container such as a mason jar or even an envelope. You can store them for up to 5 years! Of course, each plant type has different ways of saving its seed, so it’s good to do your research on what type of plant you want to seed save.

Time to get the kids involved.

This is a great way to teach children about where their food comes from and how they too can easily grow their own food. Kids love to get their hands dirty! So, having them help with harvesting the seeds from your garden and be fun and educational! Like I mentioned above, it also teaches children about the life cycle of a plant. It can be a never-ending cycle if you’re willing to put the work in!

Come join us this Sunday at the Port Moody Market so the POP kids can learn more about seeds! We will be taking a magnifying glass and getting up close with the seeds as we learn how to identify the differences!

Hope to see you there!

If you haven’t yet registered for the program this season, make sure you visit the POP tent to get started!

Learn more about the program here: POP Kids Club

Getting To Know: Ela Made Me Do It!

What is your inspiration to create your products? How did that passion turn into a business?

My grandmother, Ela. It’s hard to put into words the endless streams of food that came out of her kitchen. Anytime that I spent in her home in Poland was in her kitchen. Nothing made me happier than to help her cook. Close second was helping in her vegetable garden where she grew so much of the ingredients she cooked with, or joining her as she visited local farms for eggs, milk and meat. She opened a big wide food-shaped door in my heart that can never be closed! More specifically, she made chicken stock daily to go into her soups. Every day, no exceptions, there was soup on the table. So naturally, my passion for soups was born!

Why is creating small batched soups important as opposed to a larger production?

For one, my suppliers are so small scale that I couldn’t cook on a massive scale even if I wanted to! When foods become mass produced, short cuts begin. It’s the small things like roasting vegetables, caramelizing onions and freshly toasting and grinding my spices that make all the difference. There is nothing more satisfying for me than the smiles on my customers faces when they taste my food, that is what I live for and why I take my time cooking my products.

What local producers do you work with to create your products?

Using meats from suppliers that treat their livestock with respect was one of the most important goals for my business. As a customer of the Coquitlam market it only made sense to use Tim and Flo’s chicken (Rockweld Farm) for my soups, broth and pot pies as it’s what I was already using in my home! There are now 3 other wonderful farmers who provide me with the meat and bones I need to create my products: Redl’s grass fed beef in my pot pies, Stony Mountain’s heritage pork bones in my ramen bone broth, and Forstbauer’s grass fed beef bones in my beef bone broth.

Why is sourcing local ingredients important for you?

Local tastes better, it’s more nutritious (long journeys on the back of a truck can degrade nutritional values of foods) and it helps stimulate our local economy! My soup flavors are definitely dictated by what is in season! When you use products that are not shipped from far away and artificially ripened you don’t need to add nearly as much salt, sugar or fats to make up for lack of flavor.

Where do you hope to see your business in the near future?

I would like to see us continuing to work with small businesses, be it new farmers and producers, or small cafes and independent grocers!

On The Wild Side With: Sons of Vancouver Distillery

How did Sons of Vancouver begin? Where did the inspiration for the business as a whole come from and how was your name developed?

Richard Klaus and Myself are the Owners of Sons of Vancouver. We previously bartended and as a hobby, brewed beer together. Over time we found ourselves drinking and making delicious beer but serving the same cocktails over and over. We saw the opportunity in its infancy and jumped on it. Sons of Vancouver is a name we felt would travel well and was something cool we could get behind.

In your opinion, what are the differences in artisanal distilleries versus larger scale distilleries?*

Innovation. Rarely do you see a large distillery release a new product that isn’t just an ‘Apple’ or ‘Cinnamon’ variant of its current product line. Large distilleries are stuck in the same process for many reasons, but it mainly comes down to the people making the products are not the ones dreaming them up.

How was your distillery school brought to life? How has what is offered developed, and where do you see it going in the future?

We had enough people asking us how we got started and if they could come in and train with us. Additionally it was selfish – I want to see a lot more variety in spirits out of BC so we push people to branch out from Vodkas.

What process do you go through to pair the names of your spirits with label designs?

The hardest part is knowing what you want a product to taste like before you start out making it. From there we have a list of cool names, some of them may never see the light of day, and we try to pair them with the product and build a brand and market off that.

Why is it important for you to have free samples in your tasting room? What can customers expect when they visit?

Free samples are such a small thing but its important because its approachable to everyone. We could charge for samples, but it’s the little things that make an experience memorable and make a customer want to come back again with a friend.

Is there anything about your company or products that you would want customers to know?

I would like to say that there are only three of us that work in the company and if you run into us at a farmers market don’t hesitate to chat us up. Everyone who you see at the markets works in the distillery and we are full of cocktail ideas. Additionally, Richard is an incredible dancer and you can find him every Thursday at the German Club on Victoria and 33rd dancing up a storm.

On The Wild Side With: Cocoaro Craft Chocolate

What initially inspired you to create chocolate? How did this turn into a business?

Rather than an “initial” inspiration, I think my journey of creating chocolate began with a combination of factors. I had, for a long time, made chocolate confections for events and gifts and an offhand comment sent me down a rabbit hole of learning about the process of making chocolate from beans. I was also inspired to make my own chocolate as I learned more about the conditions under which much of the “commodity” chocolate is grown and sourced. I started by just seeing if making chocolate was actually something I could do and then the flavours of the beans themselves kept inspiring me to make more. Meanwhile, friends who had begun a bakery inspired me from the entrepreneurial side. At the time, I was living in a small town in north-central BC, which was a pretty great place to start thinking about how to craft chocolate and to experiment in a fairly low-risk way. My good friends shared their commercial kitchen with me and I had great support at home to be able to take this chance. It really became a business through the encouragement of friends and by blindly taking a leap. It was not a very structured business venture.

How do you decide where to source your cocoa? What sort of conversations do you have with producers or checks that you go through to ensure the quality of the product?

Part of the sourcing was access from where I was living. I found a great company that works with farmers and fermentaries that shared my principles with regards to social values and sustainability. I researched the farms where my supplier sources their beans and they have provided me with certification as well as information about the people and the cacao produced. Someday, though, I do hope to be able to go and meet some of the producers. I have also purchased beans from East Van Roasters in Vancouver, who also deal directly with farmers in Peru. EVR also makes delicious chocolate and works with women in the Downtown Eastside, so chocolate lovers should also check them out!

How do you design your beautiful and intricate packaging?

When I was thinking about packaging, I knew I wanted something that would also be beautiful. I am half Japanese and we have a strong culture of gifting on the Japanese side. With my chocolate, I wanted to make something that you could easily buy and gift if you were, say, just going to a friend’s for coffee. Everywhere you go in Japan, almost whatever you buy can be wrapped quickly and beautifully for this purpose. While I was thinking about the chocolate business, we came across an old cache of chiyogami paper from when I was younger. That just inspired me to use the paper and then I found a company in Toronto that imports the handmade Japanese paper I use today.

What sets your chocolate apart from others? What impressions do you hope to leave customers with?

I focus on single origin chocolates and making flavour combinations that compliment or bring out the flavour of the cacao. The beans are all fine flavour cacao that is harvested fairly and sustainably. The chocolate is made in small batches with care in each one. I hope people leave still thinking about their chocolate, appreciating chocolate like they do other fine food and wanting to share their experience by gifting it to others. I call the chocolate “Cocoaro” which is a pun of the Japanese “Kokoro”, which means “heart” or “spirit”, and from the farmers to my customers, Cocoaro is chocolate with good heart.

Where do you hope to see Cocoaro Craft Chocolate in the near future? Are you looking to create any new products?

I am definitely looking to create new products! I am also looking to bring back some of the bars I had been making up north, including different percentages and inclusion bars (bars with things like salt or coconut added). I really like experimenting and exploring flavour combinations and also started producing limited run confections, that I plan to do again. I have only just been getting settled into the new environment down here, so I look forward to getting back into that side of things. I also look forward to continuing to explore new beans with my suppliers. In terms of the business side, in the near future, I just hope to develop a strong foundation and look forward to exploring the possibilities.

What are some things your would like your customers to know about you or your business?

I think I’d really like customers to know the values that I and the business stand for, which is sustainability in our food production and consumption; fair treatment for everyone, which means good working conditions for producers and paying a fair price for food and labour as well as respecting and appreciating customers. Where possible I also source organic and local ingredients. I am also super happy if people just come by the market table to learn more about chocolate! I love making, sharing, learning about and consuming good, real food.

On The Wild Side With: Divine East

1. How did your trips to India inspire you to create your own malas and now silver and gemstone pieces? How did this passion move towards creating a business?

Divine East was founded after a sisters’ trip to India in 2015. Surrounded by gemstones and mala beads, we studied with a Guru in the foothills of the Himalayas the healing properties of gemstones, meditation with mala beads and the power of mantras and intention-setting. Upon our return home, we found friends and family had an increasing interest and curiosity in the malas we were wearing and meditating with. Sharing our passion for mala beads and meditation, we saw an opportunity to impact on a larger scale. Recognizing the potential we had to inspire others, we knew starting Divine East was along our Dharmic path.

2. How have you developed your relationships with locals in India? How do you source and ensure the quality of your materials?

We met the man we currently source our materials from after strolling into his shop in Rishikesh; he was recommended to us from a friend we met there. We instantly had a connection with him, beyond a business relationship, and knew we had just developed a life-long friendship. He spent hours with us going through the healing energy of each piece, and was patient with us while we chose our first malas. We stayed in touch with him after leaving India, and once the idea of creating Divine East began to churn, we trusted the quality of his gemstones and materials. He sources his gemstones from a gemstone factory in Jaipur; we were lucky enough to return to India in 2016 and 2017, and actually visit the factory where the raw gemstones are hand cut, polished and faceted. It was an incredible experience and really authenticated the high quality gemstones we use, as well as the ethical production of them.

3. What inspires your collections? Does life at home inspire you or just your time in India?

Inspiration comes from so many facets of our lives, often when we aren’t searching for it. Many design ideas and concepts have come to us in meditations and visualizations. Others have been born out of what intention we are seeking more of in our personal lives; it could be abundance, grounding, positivity, protection, the list goes on. We also love hearing feedback from our community about what they are wanting more of in their life.

4. What are the most important qualities in your pieces? What do you want customers to feel or know when they are wearing your pieces?

Each mala necklace has 108 beads with 1 guru bead. Malas allow the user or wearer to keep count of their mantra recitation, repeating a mantra 108 times. There are many sacred meanings for the number 108; it is said that in order to manifest an intention, it must be said at least 100 times repeatedly (the extra 8 leave room for error). Each gemstone has a different metaphysical healing property; if you are drawn to a certain gemstone, it often holds an intention you are subconsciously asking yourself to work on, pay more attention to or bring into your life. The color of a gemstone is also associated with the chakras, one of the 7 energy centers in the body. Black or red gemstones are associated with the root chakra; this is your first chakra, your foundation, safety and security. Explore more about gemstones and chakras here.

5. Can you describe your relationship with your Divine Ambassadors? Why are these relationships important or valuable?

This year, we really wanted to focus on the power of community. There are so many amazing wellness leaders in Vancouver and California that impact their communities in a positive way. The intention behind Divine Ambassadors was to connect with those who have directly inspired the two of us, to share our story and how they have influenced our journey. These leaders are influencers in their own community, they inspire those around them and connect with them authentically and whole-heartedly. They have a passion for sharing their learnings and the curiosity and desire to always be a student. We have done many collaborations with our Divine Ambassadors to share one another’s stories, elevator our brands and make a positive impact in our communities. We have done collaborative events, made custom pieces for their retreats or yoga teacher trainings and continuously shared their stories with our community. When we uplift one another, we all shine.

6. Where are you hoping to take Divine East in the near future? What relationships are you wanting to build on or create? How do you want to evolve your collections?

Thats a great question, and one we are continuously asking ourselves. Divine East absolutely deserves more time that we currently give it, as we both have full-time careers that we love. Divine East is a passion project and our greatest desire is to inspire and educate others to recognize the power of their mind, of setting intentions, of meditation and of silence. We will always be community facing, thats one of the things that lights us up the most. Connecting with someone at an event or farmers market, sharing one another’s stories (often over laughs or tears) is the purest and most authentic form of connection, and having someone leave the interaction with a piece that will support them in being better in some way is the most rewarding gift.

7. What are some things your customers may not know about you both or company?

We continue to travel to both India and Bali each year to maintain the relationships we have built with our suppliers. Two years ago, we went back to India for one of their weddings. Friendships flourished into business relationships, but authentic connection is at the heart of that and as such, at the heart of Divine East. While we are a Vancouver-based company, one of the sisters (Danelle) has lived in the USA for the past 10 years, so she is also connecting with our community down South!

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: Fume-eh Gourmet Foods

While on a trip to San Fransisco for the Fancy Food Show, Fume-eh Gourmet Foods owners Paula and Chris Beall fell in love with smoked olives but couldn’t find any to sell in their much beloved Port Moody store, Eden West.

After searching high and low for them so we could sell them at Eden West we gave up and bought a smoker so that we could make our own. We spent months perfecting the technique, type of smoke, brine etc and finally came up with a winning combination. We have since developed our Smoked Olive Tapenade which is outselling everything else.

Fume-eh Gourmet Foods smoked olives have brought fine dining right to the feet of customers and Paula says continuing to frequent markets is important to them as a growing company.

Developing a new brand takes a long time and staying in touch with your customers is a very important part of that. We love seeing people try our products for the first time and getting their feedback.

Paula says their olives are smoked at a low temperature with milder wood smoke to avoid bitterness in the olives. Their variety of flavours lead to a wide range of dish options.

The buttery nature of the Castelvetrano olives along with the sharpness from the smoke bring a different depth of flavour to so many different dishes. Why not add some to a Puttanesca? Or throw the tapenade on some Arctic Cod, yum! The possibilities are endless.

The name Fume-eh has more of a story than meets the eye. After a night of enjoying some wine and endless smoked olives, Paula says her and Chris creatively stumbled on the name “Fume-eh.”

Well ‘fume’ is smoke in French and ‘eh’ is of course very Canadian as our we so voila!

Inspired by all things food, Paula and Chris have plans to grow their product line over the winter season.

As for deciding what flavours we just try and try again until we are thoroughly thrilled by the end product.

After recently hiring a brand ambassador Paula says, she and Chris hope to continue to create high quality products and continue to get the word out about their company. Be sure to visit the market to keep up to date with their new products! 

Getting To Know: Mariner Brewing

(Courtesy of Mariner Brewing)

For Mariner Brewing co-founder Lauren Ang, craft beer is about exploring different flavours and trying new things.

Our mottos embody this sense of exploration and adventure. We had a concept of what we wanted our brewery to represent before we eventually came up with our name.

Inspired by both traditional ship navigators and a number of NASA space probes in the 1960’s, Lauren says incorporating stars and constellations into their logo seemed like the perfect fit.

Traditionally a Mariner is someone who navigates a ship; in the past, we used stars as a mariner’s point of reference for navigation. Mariner was also the name of a number of space probes in the 60’s that NASA sent to explore uncharted territory in space.

Lauren says the freshness of their ingredients, leads their beer to be inspired by the time of year. Drawing on everything they see smell and taste, these co-founders are inspired by everything around them.

(Courtesy of Mariner Brewing)

Berry season is upon us and we recently released a blueberry sour that used 1,000 lbs of Fraser Valley blueberries per batch. Several of our beer rotate depending on the season. This is our favourite part about being a small local brewery; we can regularly experiment with different flavours.

Partnering with the Glasfurd & Walker design team, Lauren says can designs evolve from discussions around key words, colours and eventually a description.

Our brewer and design team have a lot of conversations about the taste, look, and feel of each beer, as well as the ingredients, history, and inspiration for the beer. We’re very lucky to work with the amazing Glasfurd & Walker design team on our can labels and are always impressed with their work.

Mariner Brewing locally sources their variety of supplies, including hops, as much as they can. Lauren says they are lucky to live in a region that is good for growing hops but that they sometimes like to include special varieties.

(Courtesy of Mariner Brewing)

We are constantly impressed by the variety our local farmers are producing each year. Some special varieties of hops are only available in Germany and Oregon and we like to include some of them to have a wide range of flavours in our beers.

Mariner Brewing has more than just beer when you stop by their brewing house. Along with exploring new flavours of beer make sure you leave room for food. Most is made in house by a fantastic kitchen staff, including their Sunday brunch, served from 11 am – 3 pm. What isn’t made in house is supplied by other local businesses such as Pasta Pollo and Creekside Coffee Factory.

We also have a dog friendly Beer Garden open 4pm to dusk during the week and all day on weekends. Every Thursday we do something called and Exploratory which is a one off keg of a new beer style, this helps up figure out what types of beer people get the most excited about. So far our Strawberry Weisse has been our most popular Exploratory Batch.

With big plans for new seasonal brews, variations on old favourites and ever developing their food and beer lineup in the tasting room, be sure to keep an eye out for what’s next for Mariner Brewing!

Right now the only thing holding us back is the amount of beer we can produce and we’re expanding and adding equipment to increase that. Like the name Mariner implies, we’re never standing still. Look out for what beer and food is next!

Long Table Dinner- On The Farm With: Gabi & Jules

We are happy to announce that Gabi & Jules will be joining our Long Table Dinner once again! To get to know Owner, Lisa Beecroft’s, personal tastes and creations a bit more she has kindly answered some questions for us.

What is your favourite thing to cook right now?

Pie, pie and more pie! Whether we’re creating a new recipe or making one of our original classics, pies are my favourite thing to bake.

What is the first dish you cooked?

One of the first dishes I have a very fond memory of making is, Gnochi with my Nona. I remember the feeling of the soft fluffy dough between my little hands.

What is your favourite vegetable from the market this week?

Tomatoes! Is there anything better then a vibrant, juicy, tomato right off the vine?

Best tip for home cooks?

Our guests are always asking us, “what’s your secret”? And our answer is always the same, there is no secret. What you’re tasting is our all butter crust and pure, clean, wholesome ingredients. Quality ingredients translate into beautiful baking.

Tell us something about your long table dinner dish.

We are preparing one of our signature pastries, our Crostatas. It’s a mini hand pie filled with farm fresh blueberries and strawberries, then topped with a citrus crumble.