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:
Valentines Day Restaurants Perfect for Date Nights
As soon as February 1st hits, we’re suddenly surrounded by all things lovey-dovey. It’s expected and unavoidable. From TV commercials to grocery store chocolate displays – the pressure of Valentine’s Day is everywhere we turn. Taken or not, there’s no better time to bask in the glory of chocolate, flowers and restaurant promos. With special offers and events that all promise to make your Valentine’s Day one to remember, it can feel daunting to know where to begin when trying to plan the perfect love-filled celebration. Keep reading to discover the hottest specials that you and your loved ones should take advantage of to guarantee a good time this Valentines Day!
Are you planning on catching a movie or turning in early to catch up on your favourite TV series? The temptation to stay in to Netflix and chill is real, but we promise that this Valentine’s day special is worth getting off the couch for. Pizzeria Farina is a Vancouver restaurant that’s jazzing up their regular pizza and creating something a little more romantic for this special occasion. Head on in for a dine-in meal on February 14th to enjoy a heart shaped margherita pizza anytime after 5pm while quantities last!
If you’re looking for a more formal, romantic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, try taking in the sea-side sights and sounds in Steveston. The Steveston Seafood House is putting a pause on their regular dining menu to focus on featuring a special seafood menu handcrafted by their renowned culinary team. If you’re a seafood lover, you and your date can enjoy a 3 course Prix Fix for only $59.00! It doesn’t get more romantic than sharing a meal with the one you love in front of a beautiful sunset, does it?
If you’re hoping for more of a traditional V-Day dinner, feast your eyes on JRG’s date night offering. If you’re in need of a DD for the evening, The Italian is the perfect route for you. Their shuttle service will be running all night, so take advantage of their Bistecca Alla Fiorentina for 2! The decedent 32oz AAA Canadia Beef Porterhouse with a starter, salad and desert is the perfect 3 course meal, and it’s just $99! We suggest splurging on their suggested wine pairing while you’re at it, especially if you plan on capitalizing on their shuttle service.
Are you in the mood for vegan food? BeetBox Veg, a 100% plant based Vancouver restaurant, is hosting a vegan wine and cheese mingler for the plant-based foodies in your life this Valentine’s day! Enjoy a modern spin on the classic charcuterie board and purchase your $25.00 tickets now for a chance to enjoy their deliciously conscious comfort food.
Whether you’re spending the evening with your pals or going all out on a fancy date night – delicious food and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand. We recommend taking advantage of these local restaurant promotions that are right at your fingertips. Let loose and indulge in a memorable date night – you deserve it.
How One Family Brought the Flavour of Colombia to Vancouver, BC
Aji Gourmet Products – The Story of How One Family Brought the Flavour of Colombia to Vancouver, BC
Aji Gourmet Products is a Vancouver company that offers delicious and healthy condiments, dips, sauce mixes, and marinades. Owned and operated by the Gonzalez Biagi family, Aji is as rich in family history as it is in authentic South American flavors.
Back in 1999, the Gonzalez Biagi family moved to Canada from their home in Colombia. A culturally rich country, Colombia is known for its heartwarming people, festive celebrations, and exceptional cuisines, including a traditional condiment known as Aji. Upon their arrival to Canada, the Gonzalez Biagi family (Dyana, Carlos, and their kids Allison and Nicholas) settled into their new home in British Columbia, making sure to bring a recipe for Aji with them.
The Gonzalez Biagi family continued to enjoy Aji in the privacy of their family home until one day Dyana was asked to bring guacamole to her hockey party. However there was one BIG problem – she had never made guacamole in her life. With no time to find a recipe, Dyana decided to add some fresh aji into a bowl of mashed avocados and brought it to the party. Much to Dyana’s enjoyment, her dish was met with an overwhelming response. The other guests loved it – they had never tasted anything like aji before.
It was no surprise when Dyana began getting frequent requests for her famous Aji. To keep up with increasing demand, Dyana began to look at ways that she could grow her flavourful Aji into a family brand. The opportunity came when she created Ají Gourmet Products in 2006 and sold her first jar to a local store in South Surrey, BC.
Today the company continues to be run as a family business – with Dyana, her husband, and their two children. Beginning with one original Aji, they have now expanded their brand to feature 10 unique products, including a new line of Aji Guacamole Pouches, which makes for a fast bowl of delicious guacamole. Aji has grown from a Gonzalez Biagi kitchen specialty to being available in more than 150 stores across BC, Alberta, and Toronto.
Experience the flavours of Colombia for yourself and take home a bottle of Aji Gourmet Products for your kitchen. Made with zero sugar, zero preservatives, and no artificial flavours, Aji is a healthy way to add some zip to your home-cooked meals. Available at various locations across the lower mainland.
La Poutine Week Vancouver!
On February 1st, 2020, La Poutine Week presented by SaputoTM is set to kick off its eighth year in a row, serving up even bigger, better and crazier poutines! Enjoy a cheese, gravy and fries extravaganza from February 1-7, and taste specialty poutines at participating restaurants across the country. Restaurants with their hat in the ring can use the annual week-long competition to showcase their famous dishes and longstanding recipes or toss in new creations. From fried-chicken poutines, seafood and clam chowder poutines, to Pou-tail pastries and other poutine desserts – there’s something for everyone to discover during La Poutine Week 2020!
The largest poutine festival in the world, with over 400 participating restaurants in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, British Colombia, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba, La Poutine Week promises to push the bounds of poutine creativity once again! The week-long event and friendly competition aims to first and foremost celebrate our nation’s greatest delicacy and to provide restaurants an opportunity to be innovative, imaginative, and reach out to new audiences. Meanwhile, die-hard poutine lovers and newcomers to the delicacy alike get the chance to discover new creations, and vote for their favourite dish online. Visit the festival’s official website: LaPoutineWeek.com , to explore participating restaurants near you.
For the second year in a row, La Poutine Week is also giving back to communities across Canada. One dollar for every poutine sold at a participating restaurant during La Poutine Week will go to Anorexia and Bulimia Québec (ANEB), an organization that guarantees free, immediate and specialized help to people with an eating disorder and their loved ones. What’s more, in Winnipeg La Poutine Week will donating one dollar of every participating poutine sold to Agape Table; an organization working towards ending hunger in the Winnipeg community by offering weekday breakfasts and foodbanks twice a week. Find out more about ANEB and Agape Table on their websites; here and here
La Poutine Week was first created by co-founders Na’eem Adam and Thierry Rassam, also of the wildly successful fall food festival Le Burger Week, in 2012. After their success bringing a new kind of national burger festival across Canada, the Montreal entrepreneurs thought what better way than to expand the culinary horizons of Canada than with a poutine- focused festival! La Poutine Week was an instantaneous hit – with over 20,000 poutine-lovers flocking towards 40 participating restaurants across Quebec in the first alone! Now, eight years later, the festival includes six Canadian provinces and over 350,000 participants!
“If you scream poutine, people usually run towards the source of the sound”, says Rassam: “So having a festival revolving around poutine made our work easy and fun. Then of course, we’ve had partners and ambassadors that helped us grow the event in so many cities, making it the biggest poutine celebration in the world, nothing less!”
“What’s amazing about hosting La Poutine Week for so long is how passionate our fans have become”, continues Adam: “The level of seriousness that restaurants and poutine-lovers around Canada have for this fun and delicious festival never ceases to amaze me.”
On February 1st, poutine-lovers across the nation are called upon to get their forks ready and stomachs hungry as they get a chance to discover the countless delicious creations, and vote for their favourite on www.lapoutineweek.com.
7-Eleven Canada Brings the Taste of Hawaii to Canadians During the Dreaded Winter Months
7Rewards members can enter to win a trip to Hawaii
with every registered coffee scan
January is cold, dark and gloomy and Blue Monday, claimed to be the most depressing day of the year, has officially arrived. 7-Eleven Canada is here to cure the post-holiday blues, pulling customers out of their winter slumps. The retailer is now offering cups of their high-quality Hawaiian Kona Blend Coffee in a special Kona print 20oz cup, and with every registered coffee scan, 7Rewards members will be entered for a chance to win 1 of 7 trips to Hawaii.
Grown and harvested on the slopes of the Mauna Loa on the Big Island, Kona blend coffee is rich in flavour and fresh from the sun-kissed shores of Hawaii. Every winter, Canadians are invited to indulge in the warm comfort, balanced flavour and smooth finish of 7-Eleven’s exclusive Kona Blend, escaping the dreaded Canadian winters, even just for a moment.
“With a long winter still ahead, we want to make our customers days a little brighter by bringing that Hawaiian feeling home,” says Vice President and General Manager of 7-Eleven Canada, Norman Hower. “The majority of Canadians would like to escape the cold climate during the winter, so we are excited to provide our 7Rewards registered members with a chance to win a trip to Hawaii.”
Every hot beverage can be fully customized at 7-Eleven’s coffee bar with condiments at no extra charge – making morning coffee runs quick and easy. 7-Eleven’s coffee is made of 100% premium Arabica beans, hand-selected and small-batch roasted in Canada, making a consistent and delicious cup of coffee, every time.
For a chance to win, customers must be registered as a 7Rewards member. Every registered coffee scan is a chance to win 1 of 7 trips to Hawaii. Customers who are not yet a member can enter in-store, download the 7-Eleven app, text KONA to 711247 or sign up at 7-eleven.ca/7rewards/ to get one step closer to winning the grand prize. Click here to learn more about the contest rules.
The Surrey Eats New Years Social at The Clayton Public House
Join Us For THE New Year’s Celebration
The Surrey Eats New Years Social
COCKTAILS + CANAPES
Benefiting The Surrey Food Bank + My Cloverdale Kitchen
PRESENTED by: Z95.3, Robbie Johal + The Clayton Public House
The new year is coming; the party is near.
We are sure looking forward to lots of good cheer.
Get all dressed up in your snazziest best, So you can win the prize + beat out the rest.
We will have the Z95.3 Street Squad, Games, Prizes, Raffles, Giveaways + A prize for the best dressed as voted on by the other party goers! This will be one for the books!
The tickets are $35 (or 4 for $125)/
This includes Canapes all night + a GLASS of FREE Champagne at MIDNIGHT!
Take a picture at our STEP + REPEAT, tag all the participating sponsors and you will get 5 free entries into the BIG PRIZE draw!
Z95.3, Robbie Johal – Clayton’s #1 Realtor, The Clayton Public House, Ultra Digital Printing, Surrey604.
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