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Building community through local food – from the fields to Surrey’s Civic Plaza

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With over 11 years of experience in the community since Peter Leblanc and small group of farmers decided to launch the first ever Surrey Urban Farmers Market, this year’s market season launches in a new, bigger and better venue than ever – Surrey’s Civic Plaza.

The original market was created based off of a desire to make fresh produce accessible to the urban community, and since then it has continued to grow and thrive with the mission of reconnecting the city and it’s people with “local, sustainable, food sources and small businesses.” “The market brings people from diverse backgrounds together into a common area.

Surrey is such a large area and food is always a common ground between individuals” explains Anna Hall, Market Manager and Board of Director member.

This market not only gives an opportunity to the community to try and buy some of BC’s freshest produce and products (and meet face-to-face with the producers), but also creates an environment for community-building with it’s performers, community workshops, and kids activities planned each market season.

Surrey Urban Farmers Market is a member of the BC Farmers Markets, and a partner with the Food Nutrition Coupon Program. Made up of a five-person Board of Directors and one staff member (Sukhman Heir – Market Coordinator), this small and mighty group of individuals puts a lot of work and long hours to make this market a reality year after year.

“It’s a fine balancing act to juggle the market and all its needs while keeping in mind that we are all volunteers” Hall reveals. The planning begins as early as December – six-months prior to the season launch, and shortly after their AGM.

“It’s a collaboration (leading up to our first market day) of directors putting in their time to make the farmers market community an enjoyable experience for the vendors and community.”

“We believe that smiles and food are common languages” shares Hall. “This new venue is much needed for us.

While we loved our time outside the North Surrey Recreation Centre, it was time for us to move into the gorgeous Civic Plaza. We had issues three or four years back being at the Plaza due to construction.

It ended up becoming quite a problem back then, but now that the plaza is complete, we are excited to be there. We are officially in the heart of downtown Surrey.”

With the new location brings an increase in size to the market – translating to a larger depth and breadth of vendors!

Among the obvious increase in size to the market, Hall lists some of the many perks of being in the new location this year being increased accessibility with easy transit options, free 2-hour underground parking, and a broader range of volunteers from different cultures and age groups soon to participate.

“We have many amazing vendors this season. Earth-friendly vendors are becoming a bigger part of the market and reaching out to us!” An example Hall lists is Eat the Dishes – an immersive experience where you eat a delicious meal in a literally edible dish with edible cutlery.

Yes, you are really eating the dishes – this is no joke! You end your dining experience by having the option to wash and reuse your cloth napkin that comes with the meal too. Now that’s what we call sustainability!

New vegan vendors such as PlantBase Food and Natural Products and organic coffee and tea company Stephens Coffee Service will be new additions to the market roster this year. Other long-time Surrey Urban Farmers Market vendors such as Birk Farms from Abbotsford with their famous non-spray berries will be present, along with the Osoyoos Fruit Market King (bringing the southern Okanagan’s best pitted fruits such as fresh cherries and peaches). 

“We will have fresh, local veggies as well [such] as “Oh My Green” which sells delicious and nutritious sprouts and many other quality artisan items” Hall explains.

In addition to food-based items, home good vendors or craftspeople such as The Twisted Lemon will be bringing their natural soaps and lotions once again for another season, showcasing their products which aim to use ingredients that could have been found and/or made in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s.

Longest standing vendor at the market, Moonlight Wolf, will be selling handmade Aboriginal jewellery and dream catchers along with well-known silver jeweller, Wisla.

Besides the top-notch list of vendors, the Surrey Urban Farmers Market has an amazing lineup of performers and entertainment for the market season.

In celebration of Aboriginals Day, the market will be kicking off their performance schedule on June 15th with a performance from the Stars Of the North group performing in full regalia at 1:00PM with a journey-dance,

followed by two interactive drumming/dance numbers encouraging market guests to participate.

Stars Of the North is a contemporary, family, drum-group on a learning journey in search of their native Aborignal cultural roots.

Showcasing their own written music and hand-made regalia and instruments, they aim to retell stories passed down to them by their elders to share with their respective communities. Beyond the obvious buzz of the event itself, this year’s market is sharing four of it’s dates with other community events held in Central City, the Surrey Filipino Heritage Festival, Surrey Health Expo, African Heritage Festival, and a MOSIAC Seniors Event.

“We are excited about the opportunity and we are hoping this year will be a great one for the community” says Hall. Don’t forget, an event like this cannot be sustainable without its people, so if you are looking for a volunteer position for the summer – the market has the opportunity just for you!

With a variety of volunteer positions open with flexible time commitments ranging between 8:00AM and 3:00PM on Saturdays (and Fridays to put out signs around town), there is no excuse not to get involved.

It is too important to mention that the Surrey Urban Farmers Market is a registered non-profit organization which runs solely off of vendor fees and grants from Vancity and the City of Surrey. 

They are actively seeking sponsors to help the market succeed and continue to reach new limits. “Our market is more than just a farmer’s market, we host a beautiful place that allows people to start businesses. Lots of individuals started their companies, hobbies, or passions first in the farmers markets” explains Hall..

“We would like to thank everyone who makes our market possible, from our amazing volunteers, the City of Surrey staff, North Surrey Rec Centre staff, and so many more.

Thank you! We look forward to seeing you at the market” says Hall on behalf of the other Board of Directors and herself.

Mayor McCallam will be visiting the market and will host a cake-cutting ceremony at 12:30PM this Saturday to celebrate our local community of farmers and artisans, and the move to the new location – so don’t miss out!

And also important to mention, the market runs rain or shine!

“The rain during summer is a welcoming sign for farmers and adds fuel to all the fruits and vegetables that our community loves so much.”

Running from June 15th to October 5th from 10:00AM-2:00PM, come support the Surrey Urban Farmers Market as it debuts at it’s new location and promotes building community through local food.

To learn more about the upcoming Surrey Urban Farmers Market season or how you can get involved, check them out on their website or social media platforms:

Robyn is a status-quo disruptor, an old-soul, and has a serious passion towards continuous learning driven by a curiosity for the unknown. A creative and equally analytical thinker with experience in leadership, project management and marketing strategy. When she’s not working you can find her in the kitchen, searching for new music, or meandering local thrift stores, antique stores, or flea markets for a unique find.

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Food & Drink

Mother’s Day Brunch with Frozen BC Blueberries

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Recipes Courtesy of the BC Blueberry Council

By: Brooklynn Doucette on behalf of the BC Blueberry Council

On Sunday, May 9th, it’s time to celebrate Mom! Whether it be over the phone, via Zoom, outside, or in-person, our Mom’s deserve to be showered with love this Mother’s Day.

Start Mother’s Day off right with one of these delicious breakfast or brunch recipes, all featuring frozen BC Blueberries! Make sure your frozen BC Blueberries are from BC by looking for “cultivated” or “high bush” “Buy BC” “Product of Canada” on the packages.

3-Ingredient Bc Blueberry Banana Pancakes

Commemorate mom and the frozen BC Blueberry season with this delicious 3-ingredient BC Blueberry Banana Pancakes. Kid-friendly and ready in under 15 minutes, these pancakes are perfect for an impromptu Mother’s Day brunch.

Yields: 4 – 6 pancakes
Prep time: 2 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
(Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Paleo)

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup frozen BC Blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe banana.
  2. Add in eggs and mix well.
  3. In a medium non-stick pan, heat vegetable oil (or any neutral tasting oil) on medium-low heat.
  4. Pour a large spoonful into the pan.
  5. Flip when it turns golden.
  6. Stack it up and enjoy!

Bc Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie

The perfect accompaniment to a Mother’s Day brunch is this BC Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie. This recipe can be enjoyed with breakfast or on its own. Make mom smile this Mother’s Day by bringing her a smoothie in bed!

Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (300g) Frozen BC Blueberries
  • 1 cup (150g) Frozen banana, chopped
  • 2 cups (500ml) Unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup (40g) Hemp seeds
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) Almond butter
  • 2 (48g) Medjool dates, pitted (optional)

Directions

  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender.
  2. Blend on high until smooth.

Bc Blueberry Chia Oat Milk Pudding

Looking for a vegan Mother’s Day brunch idea? This BC Blueberry Chia Oat Milk Pudding is the perfect recipe. Pop it in the fridge for 15 minutes, add your toppings, and serve your mom a tasty brunch treat!

Yields: 2 cups
Prep time: 3 mins
Cook time: 17 mins
VEGAN

Ingredients

Chia Pudding
  • 1/3 cup of chia seeds
  • 1 cup of oat milk (or your choice of milk alternative)
  • 1/3 cup frozen BC Blueberries
Optional for Serving
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • 3 – 5 pieces of sliced ripe banana
  • More Frozen BC Blueberries!

Directions

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, add oat milk, chia seeds, and frozen BC blueberries. Whisk to combine.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes (or overnight). The chia pudding should be thick and creamy.
  3. Layer with fresh or frozen fruit, compote, maple syrup (vegan), or honey, and enjoy.
  4. Keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

For more Mother’s Day recipes, visit bcblueberry.com or follow along on social @bcblueberries

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Food & Drink

Phoenix Society Partners with JRG to Support Local Community

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Finding new ways to encourage and support local communities and initiatives has always been at the heart of The Joseph Richard Group (JRG).

JRG is proud to announce its most recent partnership and community initiative with The Phoenix Society. Earlier this year, the Phoenix Society launched a Mobile Community Kitchen, Phoenix Flame BBQ Food Truck, that helps to serve free meals to those in need during this difficult time. The free meal service program was launched to serve those living on the poverty line as well as those who are unhoused in Surrey and beyond. The mobile kitchen allows the Phoenix Society to meet vulnerable populations where they are at, serving food in single-use recyclable containers in an outdoor setting where the guests can safely distance.

“I was fortunate to meet Amy from the Phoenix Society through her work in local media when she and her son participated in JRG’s 2019 annual charity event called One Night Out. We are truly grateful to reunite with Amy and the team at the Phoenix Society to continue supporting our communities.” – Ryan Moreno, CEO & Co-founder of Joseph Richard Group.

The Phoenix Flame BBQ Food Truck has the capacity to serve up to 100 meals per day, three to five times per week, but lacks the revenue to sustain long-term residency. Partnering with The Joseph Richard Group, the Phoenix Society can provide ongoing meals and continued support for the community. JRG will be renting the food truck for pop-up activations across Metro Vancouver.

In just two months we have provided close to 2,000 free community meals to those most in need, but our goal has always been to find ongoing revenue to help sustain the program in the long-term. We couldn’t find a better partner than Joseph Richard Group; a company that has a clear desire to give back to the community.” – Keir Macdonald, CEO of Phoenix Society.

In 2020 alone, the Phoenix Society provided services to over 2,500 individuals through our Surrey-based Residential Substance Use Treatment, Supportive Housing, Employment, Extreme Weather Shelters, Community Corrections, Home Ownership and Outreach Programs. JRG is proud to partner with this socially-minded organization and work towards building a more stable community for those who are facing poverty.

To learn more about the Food Truck and how you can support this community initiative, please visit phoenixsociety.com for the official announcement. 

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Food & Drink

The Best Late Night Takeout Spots in Surrey

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By Manisha Singh

It’s almost midnight and I know exactly what you’re thinking. You want it, and you want it now. The only problem is, you’re sick of McDonalds, Burger King, and A&W.

You crave a delicious meal, exquisitely crafted by a real chef. But look at the time, what options could there possibly be? Especially in Surrey – a city where almost every sought after food option closes by 10pm.

However, to your surprise, there are a few hidden gems scattered across the city that are serving up fresh, sweet, and savory meals until wee hours of the night.

Luckily, I’ve done the hard work of finding them for you and selecting the best ones that I know will satisfy your taste buds!

1. Elvis Pizza

Since its inception over 4 decades ago, Elvis Pizza has been filling up tummy’s across the city! Located near Guildford mall, they serve gourmet pizzas featuring premium toppings and mouth watering homemade sauces.

Aside from pizza, Elvis also serves wings, pasta, and subs. Using only 100% real cheese, this pizza joint prides itself on both immaculate quality and freshness.

Elvis Pizza is open everyday until 3am, with the exception of Friday and Saturday where they stay open until 4am. You definitely have not tried pizza until you’ve had Elvis!

2. Desi Dosa Madras

Located on Scott Road, Desi Dosa Madras is a staple for authentic South Indian cuisine.

They serve a variety of Indian dishes, with their well respected chef, Chef Shijo, originally from Kerala. He shares his mastery of indian flavours by serving up fresh and uniquely crafted dishes to patrons across the city.

An absolute must try from their menu is the spinach and feta dosa! The cauliflower manchurian is also a crowd favourite.

Luckily, Desi Dosa Madras is open everyday until 4am, to satisfy all of your South Indian culinary desires!

3. Sahota’s Live Grill

Have you ever ordered a dish at a restaurant, but it wasn’t cooked to perfection? If so, that definitely won’t be the case at Sahota’s Live Grill!

Open until 3am everyday, they are not just any Indian restaurant, but one that embodies a unique concept that brings the cooking experience straight to your table. Their live grill gives you the power to cook your food exactly how you like it.

Along with a wide range of Indian fusion dishes, Sahota’s Live Grill also whips up decadent desserts and shakes. Whenever I visit, I absolutely have to taste their Kitty Katty shake! It is beyond delicious.

4. Donair Dude

Donair Dude opened its first location during the Winter Olympics in February 2010, and has been unstoppable ever since! They blend North American food culture with authentic Mediterranean dishes, to bring authentic Turkish donairs straight to your hungry mouths!

Donair Dude has plenty of vegan and vegetarian friendly options as well, including tabouli salad, dolmades, and falafel. Not to mention, they also serve fries and poutine.

Located in Cedar Hills, Donair Dude is open until 4am on Friday, 3am on Saturday, and midnight every other day of the week!

5. Non Stop Pizza

Non Stop Pizza truly has it all! They serve amazing comfort food in the form of Indian style pizzas and pastas, along with staple Indian dishes like butter chicken and samosas!

They are committed to serving the Surrey community, and have been for decades. Open everyday until 2:30am, Non Stop Pizza simply doesn’t stop bringing perfectly crafted dishes straight to your door!

And just like that, there you have it, Surrey’s best late night takeout spots!

Whether you are craving a juicy Turkish donair with a side of crispy fries, or a flavour rich pizza doused in homemade sauce, now you know Surrey has the perfect restaurant for you… And thankfully, they are open late!

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Food & Drink

Say Hello to The First Ever La Pizza Week!

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You asked, We delivered! Introducing Le Burger Week
& La Poutine Week’s Latest festival- La Pizza Week!

The ever-so-popular “Le Burger Week” and “La Poutine Week” extend their reigns as Canada’s largest restaurant festivals with a new addition to the family – La Pizza Week presented by Saputo and delivered by SkipTheDishes!

From May 1st until May 7th, treat yourself to some fresh & cheesy goodness from hundreds of restaurants across Canada! La Pizza Week has partnered with SkipTheDishes and Saputo TM to increase its accessibility to restaurants and pizza-lovers across the country.

Get ready to partake in this interactive national community event that supports your favourite local restaurants and their mouthwatering pizza creations. This isn’t your average pizza party – this a national pizza party!

From May 1st until 7th, hundreds of restaurants across Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan will fire up the oven and get the dough rolling for a saucy celebration of La Pizza Week.

Each restaurant will be encouraged to create a unique pizza creation at a special price. Pizza-lovers across the nation will engage with the festival by visiting or ordering from participating restaurants and devour as many irresistible pizzas that their stomachs desire.

They will also be able to vote for their favourite pizza on www.lapizzaweek.com. This will allow restaurants to meet new customers and increase their awareness through their participation.

La Pizza Week’s overall mission is to support local restaurants by increasing their sales and awareness by participating. The festival is designed to encourage people to visit restaurants and to order for take-out or delivery!

As co-founder Na’eem Adam explains, “Coming after our biggest festival ever with La Poutine Week, we’re excited about the timing. The feedback we got from restaurants and fans was overwhelmingly positive and we wanted to contribute to our mission even more; help local restaurant communities.”

This inaugural festival wouldn’t be possible without the support of their partners. This includes La Pizza Week’s official cheese partner, Saputo TM, providing restaurants all over Canada with a variety of delicious cheeses, from classic Mozzarella, to fresh goat cheese, to their new, vegan-certified Dairy-Free Mozzarella Flavoured Shreds coming this spring, and more! Because what’s a pizza without Saputo TM cheese?

Additionally, La Pizza Week will be teaming up with SkipTheDishes, Canada’s largest and most trusted food delivery network, where any participating restaurant on SkipTheDishes will have their pizza available for pick-up or delivery through the Skip app or website.

Also joining La Pizza Week’s roster of partners is Anorexia and Bulimia Québec (ANEB), who has been collaborating with “Le Burger Week” and “La Poutine Week” for over 2 years.

The organization aims to fight and destigmatize eating disorders. Through La Pizza Week, part of the proceeds of every pizza sold at a participating restaurant will go to the organization; guaranteeing free, immediate, and specialized help to people with an eating disorder and their loved ones.

For the first time ever, you can attend the biggest pizza festival in Canada. Come get a “pizz-a” the action – this is a pizza party you do not want to miss out on!

To join the La Pizza Week community, please go to: www.lapizzaweek.com/registration/restaurant

To learn more about La Pizza Week, please go to: www.lapizzaweek.com

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Business

Joseph Richard Group Announces The Launch of A Virtual Food Court – Canteen

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The Joseph Richard Group (JRG) made headlines with the announcement that the company would launch 100 ghost restaurants in a single day. Ranging in the style of cuisine, these restaurants included everything from Obey Poke to Sweet Tooth Desserts.

After a successful few years, JRG has decided to revitalize the brands for customer convenience with the launch of a single virtual location for all their cravings – Canteen.

Hungry customers can now order from all of their favourite virtual restaurants as a single order through the new virtual food court style restaurant, Canteen. Much like a mall food court, Canteen offers the ability to select multiple styles of cuisines and flavours, without having to visit various locations.

All items are purchased in a single order and delivered by one driver. The virtual food court will feature eight of the current JRG brands, including Master Chicken, STAK’D Sandwich Co., Obey Poke, and Sweet Tooth Desserts.

The new Canteen will also feature a new selection of JRG exclusive offerings, including the WTF Burger + Fries, a indulgent, cheesy pilot project from JRG Public Houses. The Canteen menu will vary based on the geographic location of each virtual kitchen and their unique capacity and resources to execute the dishes.

“As popular as our virtual restaurants have been, we realized that sometimes people, or an immediate family wants to order more than one type of cuisine. Rather than have our customers pay multiple delivery fees for food coming from various locations, we are bringing it all together with a food court inspired concept.” – Ryan Moreno, CEO and Co-Founder of JRG.

Canteen will be available across the Lower Mainland, serving customers in Surrey, Cloverdale, Langley, Maple Ridge, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and Port Moody. Orders can be placed through Canteen on SkipTheDishes, DoorDash, or UberEats.

About The Joseph Richard Group

Joseph Richard Group (JRG) is a Canadian based collection of unique hospitality ventures owned by André “Joseph” Bourque and Ryan “Richard” Moreno.

The JRG team operates 25 establishments, constantly fine-tuning and elevating the dining experience for their guests. With top-quality offerings, an exceptional culinary team, and a genuinely kind-hearted service team, you can always expect the best!

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