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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

Bring Italy to You with the Art of Aperitivo

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The pandemic may have shifted your travel plans, but if this year has taught us anything, it’s to learn how to adapt. With international travel looking unlikely for the foreseeable future, now’s the time to bring home the best cultural experiences from your favorite destinations and recreate them with your close friends and family, no boarding pass required.

Craving a taste of Italy? Take a break from this unsettling time and bring the beautiful Mediterranean sunshine to you with the art of the Italian aperitivo. As per the Italian tradition, aperitivo is the time of day to take a break to unwind with friends. This custom is present throughout the country; it’s a state of mind and an attitude which demonstrates gratitude for everything that makes life possible.

Here are three simple ways you can master the culture and art of aperitivo:

1: Give yourself some time to slow down

  1. The aperitivo represents the time of day when taking a break is most needed, so it’s of utmost importance to put yourself in a relaxed state of mind. Stop scrolling, sign out of Zoom, and connect with your socially distant bubble.

2: Recreate an Italian-inspired ambiance at home

  1. Aperitivo is always best enjoyed in the relaxed comfort of your own home. Treat your guests to an Italian-style spritz like Bella Amari on your patio during a sunny September afternoon. An effortlessly refreshing beverage, Bella Amari balances sweetness with bitterness and is available in three natural flavours: Blood Orange, Pomegranate Cherry and Limone.

3: Prepare a delicious charcuterie platter al fresco

  1. Italians consider it important to prepare the body for a meal by slowly waking up the appetite, hence the concept of a small snack beforehand. Charcuterie, mozzarella, bruschetta with fresh herbs (maybe from your quarantine patio garden), pickled olives, peppers and gourmet chips served with a spritz over ice can all enhance your aperitivo.

With seemingly so many moments, vacations, and celebrations on hold this year, it’s more important than ever to practice gratitude for the small joys in life, like spending time with your close loved ones, that likely would have been easy to take for granted in any other year. Salute!

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Food & Drink

Pandemic Puts Sustainability at the Top of the Shopping List for B.C. Residents

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Oroweat Organic releases new research revealing an increased desire to shop locally and eat sustainably following the outbreak of COVID-19

B.C. residents are prioritizing eating locally-sourced food and making more sustainable food decisions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a newly commissioned study by Oroweat Organic. The research shows that fears around food scarcity at the start of the pandemic have shed light on the importance of being more self-sufficient, in turn leading to a greater desire to support local food producers and adopt more sustainable eating habits.

The survey was commissioned by Oroweat Organic, sustainably baked bread produced locally in Langley, BC, to mark its launch in Western Canada. Results revealed that 85 percent of B.C. residents are more aware of the importance of supporting locally-sourced food as a result of the pandemic. Additionally, one in three residents are more likely to prioritize locally-sourced food, and notably, this stands true regardless of household income. When it comes to sustainability specifically, 75 percent of B.C. residents are more aware of the importance of eating sustainably and the environmental impacts of their food choices, as a result of the pandemic.

While survey results indicate that shoppers are putting more focus on sustainability, this year’s unique and unpredictable back-to-school season raises concern. Fifty-two percent of B.C. residents are worried about their ability to juggle their schedules in the ‘new normal’ this fall and 48 percent worry this will impact their renewed efforts to shop and eat sustainably.

This September, three varieties of Oroweat Organic hit shelves in Western Canada, making sustainable and healthy bread options simple and accessible for British Columbians. The brand is locally produced in B.C., using sustainable baking practices and certified organic ingredients.

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Food & Drink

Celebrate National Organic Week With the Launch of Coors Organic

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Did you know that tomorrow marks the beginning of National Organic Month (or even more widely celebrated, Organic Week (Sept 7-13)? To help celebrate this month, Coors has launched the latest addition to its line introducing: Coors Organic a new, organic beer that is brewed with one thing in mind – simplicity.

Coors Organic decided to offer a simple way to feel better about your choices for Canadians looking to integrate healthier alternatives into their day-to-day lifestyle but who feel overwhelmed by all of the options to choose from. Next time you are reaching for a beer, enjoy an organic option and feel good about the healthier choice you made.

Certified organic, 90 calories and 4g carbs (per/355mL), this light, refreshing organic lager is expertly brewed with minimal ingredients including organic hops, organic barley, and water.

Product:

  • Made with three simple ingredients: Organic hops, organic barley and water.
  • Certified Organic
  • 3.8% ABV
  • 90 calories, 4g carbs (per 355ml)

Taste:

  • Light and refreshing malt-forward taste with a crisp and clean finish.

Availability:

  • Coors Organic is available at BC Liquor Store and Independents.
    • Single can – $3.05
    • 12 x 355ml can – $27.50
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Food & Drink

Introducing: Le Cheeseburger Week 2020

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From September 1st to 7th, Le Burger Week is back with a cheesy twist, and, it’s called, Le Cheeseburger Week

From September 1st until September 7th, 2020, gather up your appetite because Canada’s beloved food festival, Le Burger Week, sponsored by Saputo & Lightspeed is back! With Saputo, Canada’s cheese dynasty in the mix, this year’s catch is cheese, cheese, and more cheese, thus transforming Le Burger Week 2020 into Le Cheeseburger Week. Chefs & restaurants across the nation must abide by one rule – integrate cheese or “fauxmage” (vegan cheese) into their burger, because, why not? In addition to providing Canadian’s with a delicious and fun experience, Le Cheeseburger Week is committed to giving back to their local communities notably, through their 2020 affiliation with United Way Centraide. Get ready for the cheese to melt, Canada, as you dive in, mouth first, to Le Cheeseburger Week!

Heading into its ninth year, Le Burger Week has become an annual autumn foodie tradition to look forward to. Restaurants across the nation are asked to think outside the bun and create a unique burger reflective of their overall concept, style, and cuisine. The 2020 edition will replace the traditional call to vote for the best burgers with a call to help through the charity partnerships. Both Lightspeed and Saputo will be awarding the “Lightspeed Choice” & “Saputo Choice” awards to their favourite burgers!

We understand that this year is different, but one thing remains the same – Canada’s love for burgers. To adapt to the current landscape, many of Le Cheeseburger Week’s participating restaurants will be offering their burgers for take-out and delivery, so that customers can still enjoy the festival whether they plan on dining-in or indulging in the comfort of their own home with mobile ordering apps, like Lightspeed’s.

For the past few years, Le Burger Week has remained committed to giving back to communities across Canada. This year, a proceed of select burgers sold in Canada will be going to Centraide and United Way ; philanthropic organizations that collect donations to support a vast network of community agencies that help individuals and families. Locally and nationally, their goal is the same – to create opportunities for a better life for everyone in our communities. United Way Centraide uses local knowledge to make community investments that provide the greatest impact including; food programs, housing programs, job skills training, continued education opportunities, amongst others.

Created in 2013, by Montreal-based entrepreneurs Na’eem Adam and Thierry Rassam, the idea for Le Burger Week was born out of their shared love of burgers and an understanding that their fellow Canadians shared that same love. Adam and Rassam wanted to create a fun and exciting way for burger lovers to interact and support their favorite restaurants, while, at the same time, providing restaurants with the chance to build greater public awareness through their participation. As co-founder Na’eem Adam explains, “Le Burger Week began as a fun local food project to celebrate our city’s (Montreal) love for burgers. Over the years, we have grown into a national festival that continuously helps to stimulate businesses across the nation.”

On September 1st, burger-lovers across the nation are called upon to get stomachs hungry as they get a chance to discover the very best (cheese) burgers that Le Burger Week has to offer. Bon appétit!

For more information regarding Le Burger Week, please go to www.leburgerweek.com.

About Saputo:

Saputo produces, markets, and distributes a wide array of dairy products of the utmost quality, including cheese, fluid milk, extended shelf-life milk and cream products, cultured products and dairy ingredients. Saputo is one of the top ten dairy processors in the world, a leading cheese manufacturer and fluid milk and cream processor in Canada, the top dairy processor in Australia and the second largest in Argentina. In the USA, Saputo ranks among the top three cheese producers and is one of the largest producers of extended shelf-life and cultured dairy products.

In the United Kingdom, Saputo is the largest manufacturer of branded cheese and a top manufacturer of dairy spreads. Our products are sold in several countries under well-known brand names such as Saputo, Alexis de Portneuf, Armstrong, Cathedral City, Clover, COON, Cracker Barrel*, Dairyland, DairyStar, Devondale, Friendship Dairies, Frigo Cheese Heads, Joyya, La Paulina, Liddells, Milk2Go/Lait’s Go, Montchevre, Murray Goulburn Ingredients, Neilson, Nutrilait, Scotsburn*, South Cape, Stella, Sungold, Tasmanian Heritage, Treasure Cave and Woolwich Goat Dairy. Saputo Inc. is a publicly-traded company and its shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “SAP”.

*Trademark used under license.

About Lightspeed:

Lightspeed (TSX: LSPD) powers complex small and medium-sized businesses with its cloud-based, omnichannel commerce platforms in over 100 countries. With smart, scalable and dependable point of sale systems, Lightspeed provides all-in-one solutions that drive innovation and digital transformation within the retail, hospitality and golf industries. Its product suite enables SMBs to sell across channels, manage operations, engage with consumers, accept payments and ultimately grow their business. Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, Lightspeed is trusted by favorite local businesses worldwide, where communities go to shop and dine. Lightspeed has staff located in Canada, USA, Europe, and Australia.

For More Information, Please Visit www.lightspeedhq.com.

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Food & Drink

Uber Eats Celebrates 1 Year of Starbucks Delivery With BC and Canadian Trends Data

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To celebrate the one-year anniversary of Starbucks on the Uber Eats platform, Uber Eats has released top trends highlighting Canadians ordering habits at Starbucks.

While COVID-19 prevented many of us from going in-store to grab our favourite Starbucks beverages and treats, Uber Eats Starbucks orders tripled from March-August 2020 compared to August 2019-March 2020.

So, what are Canadians ordering? From coast-to-coast, Canadians love their Starbucks Caramel Macchiato – it’s the most ordered beverage on the platform. And while Alberta and British Columbia prefer it hot, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Saskatchewan like it iced.

Overall, order sizes have increased since March with many customers ordering food along with their favourite beverages. The Starbucks Birthday Cake Pop, which is the most popular food item on the platform, is a Canadian favourite in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Ontario, while Canadians on the East and West coasts love the Double Smoked Bacon, Cheddar & Egg sandwich. Both Nova Scotians and British Columbians enjoy this savoury breakfast item more often!

Below are some fun facts highlighting the Canadian love for Starbucks on Uber Eats:

  • A Torontonian placed the most amount of Starbucks orders in one year ordering 342 times.
  • The largest Starbucks order placed through Uber Eats was delivered to the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. The order contained 8 bagels, 8 banana bread, 8 blueberry scones, 8 carrot muffins, 10 classic coffee cakes, 8 lemon loaf, and 3 coffee travellers.

What province orders the most Starbucks coffee on Uber Eats?

  • British Columbia
  • Alberta
  • Manitoba
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Saskatchewan

What province orders the most Starbucks tea on Uber Eats?

  • Saskatchewan
  • Ontario
  • Nova Scotia
  • Manitoba
  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
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