by Jesse Holth –
In light of COVID-19, one of the things we’ve come to realize is how reliant we are on a globalized food system. The idea of food insecurity has reinforced the importance of buying local, and supporting our farmers here on the Saanich Peninsula. We need to be growing more of the food we eat – here are some places you can find local, farm-fresh produce this summer.
North Saanich Farm Market. Open every Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. until October 10. St John’s United Church, 10990 West Saanich Road, North Saanich.
Operated by the nonprofit North Saanich Food for the Future Society (NSFF), the North Saanich Farm Market is all about supporting local produce-growers. You will find a range of fruits and veggies from vendors like Anneth Farm, Red Damsel Farm, Two Willows Farm, and others. Want to know what they’re bringing to market any given week? You can follow North Saanich Farm Market on Facebook or sign up for their weekly newsletter at firstname.lastname@example.org – that way, you’ll know which vendors are attending and what produce will be available. Susan McIntyre, President of the Board at NSFF, encourages everyone to plan ahead and make a list. “Our new motto is Shop, Don’t Stop,” she says, and they ask for only one shopper per household, if possible. “We are working with the BCCDC to ensure everyone’s safety as physical distancing remains in effect.” Susan notes how important it is for people to have access to fresh, local food.
Peninsula Country Market. Open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., until October 10, and Wednesdays 4 to 8 p.m. from July 1 through August 26. Saanich Fairground, 1528 Stelly’s Cross Road, Saanichton. The Peninsula Country Market is a longstanding tradition: for almost three decades, farmers and crafters have been selling their goods at this Saanichton market. Marlene Hamer, Market Manager, says the vendors range from farmers to artisans. “Everything at our market is made, baked or grown locally.” You can expect to find produce, baked goods, meats, cheeses, preserves, flowers, plants, soaps, jewelry, clothing, pottery, art and more. Marlene says there are even face masks available for sale during COVID. The vendors will be more spaced out than usual, and there will be no live music or entertainment to avoid social gatherings. Marlene encourages everyone to come out for quality, local products in a lovely atmosphere with “grass underfoot and the wide sky overhead!”
Roadside Farm Stands. Open throughout the summer, roadside stands are a great way to support local farmers. If there’s produce available, it will be out for sale – it doesn’t get any better than freshly-picked produce right at the farm’s doorstep! There are dozens of stands scattered across the Saanich Peninsula: some popular spots include West Saanich Road, Oldfield Road, and Mount Newton Cross Road. You can also visit www.islandfarmstands.com and check out the interactive map.
For a comprehensive list of Vancouver Island farms,