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!

Long Table Dinner- On The Farm With: Humble Roots

We are happy to announce that Humble Roots Cafe & Deli will be joining our Long Table Dinner this year! To get to know Owner, Tyler Towe’s, personal tastes and creations a bit more he has kindly answered some questions for us.

(Courtesy of Humble Roots)

What is your favourite thing to cook right now?

I enjoy experimenting with meat and dairy alternatives; nut or tofu based cheese, seitan, aqua faba based recipes and various beans/legumes. It’s a welcome challenge to explore and refine dishes that are relatively new to the culinary scene. 

What is the first dish you cooked?

(Courtesy of Humble Roots)

Shepherds Pie was the first thing I remember “trying” to prepare. It was always a favourite of mine growing up as the one my grandma made was very impressive.

What is your favourite vegetable from the market this week?

BC corn is always a welcome treat!

Best tip for home cooks?

When ever possible, source local!!! Get inspired at nearby farmer’s market and try to revolve your meals around what’s seasonal. Jar and preserve your local fare at its optimal time for harvest so it can be enjoyed all year round. Talk to your local farmers, ask them questions as they are a wealth of knowledge and can provide insight on what’s fresh now and what to look forward to.

(Courtesy of Humble Roots)

Tell us something about your long table dinner dish.

Our dish is inspired by the time of year and the local ingredients available to us. It is designed to be a light and refreshing chapter in a farm to table story as told by chefs and farmers alike.

Long Table Dinner- On The Farm With: Adam Jonas

We are happy to announce that Chef Adam Jonas will be joining our Long Table Dinner this year! To get to know his personal tastes and creations a bit more he has kindly answered some questions for us.

(Adam Jonas seen right)

What is your favourite thing to cook right now?

Anything on the BBQ like fresh sockeye, steaks, chicken or pork chops. With the hot summer weather it’s nice the get out of the kitchen and cook outside!

What is the first dish you cooked?

I cant remember that but, the first time I learned how to properly cook items like braised beef short ribs and risotto as a young cook working at Galleries on Westwood Plateau, I knew I wanted to become a chef.

What is your favourite vegetable from the market this week?

I purchased some Chilliwack corn this week that was delicious, as it is this time of year every year. I also always look forward to our fresh BC harvest items every summer like cherries, blueberries, and peaches. It’s always sad when the growing season comes to an end for these items.

Best tip for home cooks?

Keep it simple. Utilize as many local in season products as possible. Try new recipes. Prepare as much as you can ahead of time when you have company to make the evening less stressful.

Tell us something about your long table dinner dish.

It will be vegan and gluten free.

Long Table Dinner- On The Farm With: Karen Curtis

We are happy to announce that Chef  Karen Curtis of Kic’s Gourmet Products 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?

I’m trying more vegetarian dishes right now, looking for ways to incorporate new veggies into my food. I just put some shaved fennel into a coleslaw and served it with an orange dressing that a chef friend of mine made. So good! I also just made stuffed tomatoes on the BBQ. They were stuffed with a mixture of Central Park ground pork, veggies and Golden Ears Cheesecrafters cheese. We really enjoyed those.

What is the first dish you cooked?

Karen Curtis (right) at the 2017 Long Table Dinner

I don’t remember but I do know that by the time I hit grade eight foods class, I was cooking full meals and they were trying to teach me how to broil a grapefruit half covered with brown sugar!

What is your favourite vegetable from the market this week?

I’m all over zucchini right now. Spiralized and served with a rose sauce, sliced into ribbons and sauted with garlic and basil or served with a fresh tomato sauce, stuffed with lentils and cheese, baked into muffins or loaves.

Best tip for home cooks?

Don’t be afraid to try something new. You learn even from your mistakes!

Tell us something about your long table dinner dish.

Gluten free, Coconut Thumbprint cookies filled with lemon curd and fresh raspberries.

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!

Getting to Know: Culinary Blossom

I am passionate about food, flowers and all things local.

A surprise to many, Joanne Frances-Wilkinson’s company blossomed from her family’s love for fresh and local foods.

My grandparents were farmers but the love of flowers came from my mom whose garden was always a showstopper. Using edible flowers and herbs in teas and preserves comes from my personal belief that food heals the body and soul.

Much of Joanne’s inspiration for many of Culinary Blossom’s products come from the beautiful West Coast seasons, favourable growing conditions and local food that is available.

Growing is weather dependant so it’s all about combining the best of what nature has to offer for the coming year. Deciding which combinations will be the tastiest for the upcoming season is part of the exciting creation process. That’s why there’s always something new on the horizon at Culinary Blossom!

Joanne first begins by planting in both the winter and following spring growing seasons. Once the flowers and herbs are in bloom she takes a stroll through her gardens, tasting flowers and herbs along the way.

Our seasonally inspired preserves and teas are small-batch handcrafted in Langley using our garden fresh flowers and herbs. Combining them with local fruits, berries and veggies is how we create our deliciously unique products. We use no preservatives or additives, offering only pure good food that is purely good for you. Simply put, we believe it’s the way nature intended.

Joanne then takes these edible flowers and herbs, and infuses them into her preserves and teas.

It is a passion and privilege to share nature’s goodness with others. Knowing where our food comes from is so important to our health and wellbeing.

Joanne loves the opportunity to connect with the community at farmers markets. She says local, seasonal food is a constant source of inspiration.

Local food is fresh with superior quality and flavour. Buying local keeps the local economy solid and reduces your carbon footprint. We invite you to taste the difference local and homegrown makes!

Getting to Know: Arnalia 100% Natural Health and Beauty

By the way, would like to say big THANK YOU for all people I have met on FM!

Finding inspiration from longstanding traditions, Arnalia 100% Natural Health and Beauty has unveiled a new way to look after our skin.

Tatsiana Maiseyeva says all you need to help fight some disease is closer than people think.

Do you know where the best herbs grow, that can heal you from disease? Just at your door. Closer to your home, better for you and for your health.

Arnalia uses unique Siberian Cedar Nut oil made by ancient technology. Maiseyeva says in addition to this, having our skin care products based in natural ingredients, eliminates one more thing in our life that could contain artificial ingredients.

I think, all what Creator gave to us on Earth is the most beneficial and healthiest for us. I trust only in his creation as the best quality and its effect to our body and health.

For Maiseyeva, participating in farmers market is important because she wants the public to be informed about good quality products but also for Arnalia to further understand and help its community.

Your community helps you. Both have most benefits. Local sustainability. We try to diverse variety of rear plants, trees, insects, bees by creating Kin’s Domain. All people,who purchase Arnalia products help in this creation.

Maiseyeva says all of the unique recipes she uses come from her grandmother “with love.”

It is really hard to find a good quality oil for skin and body care product.

On top of finding natural ingredients, Maiseyeva goes one step further, making sure to research what goes into their production and packaging.

…And as the most important, energy of the owner, founder or producer, his lifestyle and own health and happiness.


Getting to Know: Red Barn Plants & Produce

The Coquitlam Farmer’s Market is a food hub and draws in a great cross section of shoppers.

While Elke, Ken and their son Erik manage farms separated by distance, the desire to grow quality produce binds them like they were run next to each other. Ken and his wife have been growing plants since the 1970’s, first developing Rainforest Gardens, a retail and mail order perennial nursery. He says his sons desire to dive into the food side of farming is what has gotten them where they are today.

Erik started it all, taking over areas of our nursery and then moving to Cawston. Amazing to think we are now heading to 100% veggies and fruit production.

In the 2000’s their passion blossomed into Red Barn Plants & Produce growers of interesting vegetables, herbs, edible annuals and of course intriguing perennials. The family currently has one farm located in Maple Ridge and another situated in Cawston. Prior to his adult farming days, he grew up around plants, stemming from his mother’s love of growing produce.

My mother was a farm girl and she always seemed to have a packet of seed around for us.

Elke and Ken say their two farm locations are a large reason why they can grow a good selection of plants, fruits and vegetables. So as a food producer in British Columbia, why is it important to buy locally?

I am going to take the glass half full answer to this. Keeps money and employment local. Half empty answer; what if something goes wrong out there
in the big world?

Ken says the success of the buy local movement rides on the principle that farmers’ voices are heard and understood.

Farmers must be heard not just the food advocates.

He adds that the movement should stop trying to expand and “create a solid foundation.” While Ken points to the fact that sustainability means something different to everyone, one thing Red Barn Plants & Produce focuses on is quality products with a strong focus on community engagement.


Getting to Know: Golden Ears Cheesecrafters

Farmers markets are a great place to be able to learn about company’s that grow local food or make local food products with local ingredients.

Growing on the foundation their family began in 1902, sisters Jenna and Emma have branched off and created their own line of dairy products with Golden Ears Cheesecrafters.

We love the fact that we have a family heritage to keep growing and diversifying with. We’re building a sustainable future for our family farm in this community and bringing people back to food basics, they can literally watch their cheese being made. That experience is something people value.

Growing locally in British Columbia is important for the sisters. With some of the world’s highest quality standards, Golden Ears Cheesecrafters wants to educate consumers about their products and be transparent with their practices.

It is important for us to grow locally and sustainably because we like to know where are food is coming from…Certified Organic in most countries is equivalent to our conventional practices. Canada has the least amount of approved chemicals that can be used on crops.

So with an expanding business, why take on farmers markets? For Jenna and Emma, it’s all about the power of knowledge.

Farmers markets are a great place to learn about how your food is made or grown. You can talk directly to producers or farmers and there is transparency.

They say this knowledge can help consumers make the best decisions for their lifestyles, adding sourcing local reduces carbon footprints and supports the local economy.

Farmers markets are a great place to be able to learn about company’s that grow local food or make local food products with local ingredients.

Jenna and Emma say the more people know about provincial food industries the better. With the B.C. Buy Local movement no longer in its infancy, they believe consumers will become more aware of the high quality products, like the dairy produced by Golden Ears Cheesecrafters.

 I see the B.C. Buy Local movement becoming more popular when sickness and diseases are happening because food being imported is not up to the standards that Canadian food processors or farmers have to meet. Canadian dairy is one of the highest standards in the world, farmers are not allowed to add any hormones, antibiotics of steroids to there milk. If they are caught they have to pay very high fines. No farmer can afford to have this happen or else they would all be out of work.

For Golden Ears Cheesecrafters, it is important to grow locally and sustainably because they, like many in this province, want to know where their food is coming from.

We would never make anything that we wouldn’t feed our family. Our goal was to produce a product that is healthy for everyone and that we could share with other families.


Fresh Eats Blog: Bell Peppers

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: bell peppers.

Did you know red peppers are simply green ones left on the vine longer? (Courtesy of KT Ng)

Did You Know?

Did you know peppers were named by Spanish explorers searching for peppercorn plants to produce black pepper? Also, they are considered fruits because they are produced from a flowering plant and contain seeds.

Peppers are in season in South West British Columbia from July through to October! Bell peppers are the most cultivated in the pepper family and are good in salads, pizzas, soups, sandwiches, or eaten fresh as a snack.

Recipe of the Week

Bell Pepper Egg-in-a-Hole

Courtesy Martha Stewart 


2 teaspoons olive oil

1 bell pepper (any color), cut into four 1/2-inch-thick rings

4 large eggs

Coarse salt and ground pepper

2 teaspoons grated Parmesan

4 slices multigrain (or other) bread, toasted

8 cups mixed salad greens


Step 1- Heat one teaspoon of oil over medium-high in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet. Add bell pepper, then crack one egg into the middle of each pepper ring.

Step 2- Season with salt and pepper and cook until egg whites are mostly set but yolks are still runny, this is about two to three minutes. Gently flip and cook one minute more for over easy.

Step 3- Sprinkle with Parmesan and place each egg on a slice of toast.

Step 4- Toss salad greens with one teaspoon of oil and season with salt and pepper; serve alongside eggs.

Ingredients at the Market

Bell Peppers: Floralia Growers, Never Say Die

Cheese: Golden Ears Cheesecrafters

Eggs: Alder Creek Heritage Homestead, Forstbauer Family Natural Food Farm, Rockweld Farm

Bread: A Bread Affair, Delish Gluten Free, Gesundheit Bakery

Greens:  Amazia Farm, Beckmann Farm, Floralia Growers, Forstbauer Farms, Harvest Direct, Hill Top Farm, Langley Organic Growers, Mandair Farms, Never Say Die Farm, Ripple Creek Organic Farm, Shen’s Farm, Snowy Mountain Organics, Wah Fung Farm

Steps on How To

Bell Pepper Planting 101:

Step 1- As an option, plant three seeds in one pot, and thin out the weakest seedling. Let the remaining two pepper plants live as one plant. About a week before moving your plant into a bigger pot, introduce compost or other organic nutrients into the soil.

Step 2- Once the seedlings are large enough to transplant, place them 18-24 inches apart. Place the pot outdoors in a warm environment. You can warm up the soil by covering it with black plastic.

Step 3- Water the plants two to three times per week or if conditions are particularly dry, more frequent watering may be necessary. To help retain moisture you can add mulch to the surrounding area.

Step 4- Weed carefully around the plant and harvest as soon as the peppers reach desired size.

Note: Keep your plant as warm as possible for the best germination conditions. Also, the longer you keep the peppers on the vine, the greater vitamin C content.

Bell Peppers in B.C.

Bell peppers are considered a greenhouse vegetable by the B.C. government. The industry now relies on state-of-the-art facilities and production practices to produce high-quality fresh vegetables!

These advances in technology have extended the growing season and therefore has allowed consumers the option of buying locally during times when certain produce were not historically available.