Summertime, and the livin' is easy... well, at least it is if you aren't one of our fabulous local farmers, because, hey, or should that be hay?, this is one of the busiest times of the year for a farmer, what with all that fertile soil and hot sun pumping out the best of the best that the land has to offer.
In case you haven't yet discovered all the farm-fresh bounty in your own backyard, here's a round-up of some of the ways you can source the wonderful products hard-working farmers right up the road from you are producing right now, wherever you live on the amazing southwest coast.
One easy and fun way is to head out to your favourite farmers market. Pemberton's is every Wednesday, 4-7 p.m. in the Legion parking lot beside Pemberton Valley Supermarket. The Squamish Farmers Market is held every Saturday until Thanksgiving on Cleveland Avenue at Victoria Street, right in the heart of downtown Squamish, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. And, of course, Whistler's own farmers market is on every Sunday until Thanksgiving between the Fairmont Chateau Whistler and the Glacier Lodge, near the base of Blackcomb Mountain, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Plus there are a plethora of farmers' markets and outlets throughout the Lower Mainland, from those at Trout Lake, the West End (Nelson Park), Main Street Station, Kitsilano (10th and Larch) and Granville Island in Vancouver to those at Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver, Ambleside in West Vancouver as well as those in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Ladner, White Rock and beyond.
Need some more help sourcing the best and the freshest? The Fraser Valley Farm Direct Marketing Association's website at www.bcfarmfresh.com is a great way to find all your favourite farm produce and framer's markets in the Fraser Valley, as is www.eatlocal.org for the Vancouver area, and the Pemberton Farmers Institute at www.pembertonfarmers.com for the Pemberton area.
Bounty from Pemberton, plus
To get you started, here's a sampling of what you can find sourced right in Whistler's own backyard:
• Across the Creek Organics: located in Pemberton Meadows, this organic farm, operated by Brenda and Bruce Miller and their five boys, is your local mother lode for organic potatoes in so many tasty varieties, from Yukon golds to the delectable, and very colourful, Russian blues. July means early potatoes are here, so pick them up at your favourite grocer. Fire an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org if you can't find them.
• North Arm Farm: with 55 acres right on Highway 99 in Pemberton pumping out the finest Mother Nature has to offer - organically, naturally - this is way more than just a farm, this is an experience! So grab your whole family or a friend or three and head on up for a huge selection of fresh produce, baked goods, jams and goodies. The Sturdys and their staff will make you more than welcome - and if you're really into it you can even pick your own. Apricots, raspberries, fresh garlic, basil, early beets, carrots, cherries, lettuce, and much more are for the asking right now. Dial up www.northarmfarm.com for info.