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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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5 Restaurants and a New Year in Surrey!

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Afghan Kitchen, Surrey BC.

Another new year approaches: Surrey 2022 here we go! But with the new Covid restrictions, where are you going to enjoy this Friday night, whether you intend to celebrate New Years Eve or just celebrate because it’s Friday? 

We have a list, albeit a short one, of restaurants that are open on New Year’s Eve.

Dominion Bar & Kitchen, Surrey BC | Instagram post.

Open until midnight. Reservations are recommended but not a must. This Surrey restaurant is well known for their Canadian dishes, complemented by an exciting list of cocktails, BC wines, and local craft beer, in an open concept restaurant with high top tables and chairs. Bones: they will be offering an all day happy hour on Friday.

The Clayton, Surrey BC | Instagram posts.

Open until 2am. The Clayton is a unique choice. Although there will not be a party they do have a DJ, along with classic tasty Canadian dishes and appetizers, plus 3 incredible fire tables available in their fully covered & heated patio spaces. Also, they have a ton of drink specials, just in case you might be drinking responsibly during your visit.

The Cabin, Crescent Beach – Surrey BC | Pan-seared halibut, Instagram Post

Open until 10pm. Featuring a $60 New Year’s Eve menu, The Cabin is a solid choice for a Pacific Northwest experience featuring seafood, “AAA” steaks, gourmet pasta, local craft beers, and a healthy selection of wine. It should be noted, as of right now, 7:30pm onwards is fully booked, however we’ve been told there might be some cancellations. You can and should put your name on the waitlist.

Afghan Kitchen, Surrey BC

Open until 10pm. Featuring traditional Afghan cuisine. If you live in Surrey, you know this place is amazing. If you don’t, that’s ok, just watch this episode about them on CBC Vancouver’s YouTube. Mom’s cooking never tasted better. Now, perhaps you’re saying to yourself, “Nothing special here, where’s the party!?” however, since many restaurants are closing early this year, and especially living in one of the most diverse cities in BC, what better way to enjoy your end of year than with a local culinary “staycation” at one of Canada’s top 100 restaurants!

With that said, last but not least by any means:

Kathmandu Bar & Grill, Surrey BC | Instagram post.

Open until 1130pm. Serving a delicious blend of Nepalese, Indo-Chinese, and Western Cuisine. Like we said, while in Surrey, try something new. Allow your tastebuds to create a mini celebration for you, safely at your table.

Have we helped? We certainly hope so! 

No matter how you plan to enjoy this Friday December 31, stay safe, stay warm and we wish, as always, the very best for you and your family.

 

See you next year!

Desire Kokuvi Amouzou

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Food & Drink

3 Must Have Winter Treats for Surrey!

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Gulab Jamin being served up at Maharaja Sweets in the Payal Centre, Surrey BC, photo by Desire Amouzou.

Some might say, there is nothing better in the world than being outdoors enjoying freshly poured maple syrup snow candy coupled with that crisp smell of winter in the air, and a log cabin surrounded in a forest of snow and maple trees. Definitely some might say this, if they lived in Montreal. 

But for us, living on the West Coast known for our rain and most recently our atmospheric rivers, this is likely the last thing on our minds.

Rest assured though, Surrey has memories to be made with the treats we share during the winter. 

Here are just 3 treats of many!

First on the list, one that makes a healthy appearance starting around September in particular and might be difficult to find through the month of December but is worth the hunt: 

Crinkle cookies!

A variety of crinkle cookies, Image by cravingforcrave.com

These cookies are very often a hit during the winter months, especially but not exclusively in our Filipino community. 

Why are they called crinkle cookies? Well, because they’re crinkly of course! But more accurately because of their slightly hard-covered exterior, which is cracked through the baking process then covered in a tasty icing sugar. The moist tasty brownie style interior is revealed in the cracks of the cookies creating a winter wonderland map. Popular flavours are chocolate, ube and red velvet. The chocolate is Christa Jance’s favourite, co-owner and crinkle cookie baker for the local Surrey business Craving For Crave. Check for them online in January, they go quick!

Chocolate crinkle cookies, Image by cravingforcrave.com

Second on the list, but equally as tasty and doesn’t need much introduction:

Panettone!

Flamigni brand panettone in store display at Delitalia Fine Foods, Image by Delitalia’s Instagram

This is an Italian type of sweet bread, said to have originated from Milan, and possibly having  roots to the Roman Empire, made for emperors, a bread sweetened with honey. Panettone is also very common throughout South America and hence throughout Surrey you are likely to find it at many winter gatherings. Very often given and received as gifts, and it’s no surprise as these delectables are often packed into stunning decorative, branded packages.

Assortment of Panettone at Delitalia Fine Foods in Surrey BC, image by Delitalia’s Instagram.

Flavoured with lemon zest, orange zest and candied fruit and raisins, Panettone can be found at either your local London Drugs, Costco or, if you want to try a rich variety, some flavoured with different types of liquor and beautifully handmade from Italy, then you must visit Romolo and his Mother Penny, owners of Delitalia Fine Foods. Let Romolo talk you through all of the varieties!  

Toast it, butter it, and enjoy it with a hot beverage of your choice!

Now, last but not least, and not as widely known as you might think, but absolutely respected and loved throughout Surrey: 

 

Gulab jamun!

Originating in India and declared the national dessert of Pakistan, by the Government of Pakistan, this milk-solid-based sweet derives its name from the Persian words gol, meaning flower, and ãb meaning water, referring to the rose water-syrup it sits in (flavoured also with Saffron or Kewra and Green Cardamom).

Jamun is the Hindi word for an Indian fruit similar in shape and size to gulab jamun, known to most as a black plum. 

Gulab Jamun soaked in honey rose-water, Maharaja Sweets – Surrey BC, Image by Desire Amouzou

Note, gulab, or the sugar syrup this fried tasty ball of beautiful dough is lovingly soaked in, for some recipes, can also be replaced with slightly diluted maple syrup. Full circle! 

It’s amazing served hot during cold weather, the dough melting in your mouth, and even better if it’s complemented with some ice cream. 

 

So where can you get this amazing treat you ask? 

Maharaja Sweets & Restaurant, Payal Centre, Surrey BC, image by Desire Amouzou

Pretty much anywhere in Surrey, BC. In fact we might have to save space for an article on the various places you can secure some. But for now, do yourself a favour and get out to the Payal Business Centre, a home to so many sweet shops with a rich assortment of Gulab Jamun. It’s not the only location by any means, but it’s a good start. One amazing spot in the centre well known in our community has to be Maharaja Sweets & Restaurant. Really, you need to go if you haven’t already!

 

You can purchase it packaged, but it truly is best enjoyed freshly made. 

In the end, whatever treat you grace your home with, perhaps all of them, we hope you are able to share them with the ones you love!

 

Desiré Kokuvi Amouzou,

Surrey604

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Food & Drink

The five best restaurants and bars in Central Surrey

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If you thought you had to make the trek to Downtown Vancouver just to eat well, think again. There are pockets of great places to eat right here in Surrey’s City Centre. Check out this list of five of the best restaurants and bars to get your fill of good eats in Central Surrey. 

Central City Taphouse & Kitchen 

The Central City Taphouse is a staple, and one that truly caters to everyone. It lands consistently at the top of any Surrey eatery list and offers everything from brunch to pub-style food and drinks, including happy (or “tappy”) hour specials. Enjoy a warm meal with family or watch the game with friends. The large patio, beautiful courtyard, and excellent food are destined to provide you with the perfect ambiance. 

Address: 13450 102 Ave., Unit 190 

Dominion Bar & Kitchen 

For those looking for a truly “downtown” experience, this place is the top choice. From bunch, lunch, dinner, and late night mixers, Dominion Bar has a modern vibe and locally sourced ingredients that shine both in menu and drinks. Trendy, socially on-point, and providing a timeless dining experience with a mix of influences, this place is a must when you’re planning your night out. 

Address: 13475 Central Ave., Unit D1

Bubble 88 

For the last decade, Bubble 88 has been able to provide a trendy yet authentic flair of Taiwanese cuisine to Surrey. Easily one of the best bistros in the area, the chefs make each dish with passion and the presentation makes it just as beautiful as it is delicious. Of course, as you may have guessed by the name, bubble tea is also available. 

Address: #102-10209 King George Blvd.

Neptune Seafood Restaurant 

Although it is not unique to Surrey, the quality and fine dining provided at this Asian restaurant cannot go without being mentioned. With the best dim sum and arguably the best Chinese cuisine within Surrey, a large dining space, and the ability to host events, Neptune Seafood is worth adding to your foodie bucket list. Neptune has won several awards for their restaurant group, and of course for their dim sum as well. 

Address: 1130-10153 King George Blvd. 

Sumerian Grill 

Perhaps considered a hidden gem to some, Sumerian Grill is often highly rated amongst those that have visited the restaurant. Providing Middle Eastern cuisine, the meals are rich in flavour and full of warmth. The menu offers the best in Surrey for Iraqi and Turkish dishes and wraps with colours of the Mediterranean. 

Address: 10671A King George Blvd. 

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The five best spots to grab a coffee in Surrey Centre

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Sipping on a delicious coffee at a local cafe has a certain allure to it. And enjoying a local business, with a friend or alone, is extra special when it’s close to home and has that neighbourhood feel. When it comes to Surrey Centre or Guildford, these are the best coffee spots to check out.

Cafe Central

The most central you can get with a friendly vibe and some really good coffee. Cafe Central is the perfect stop on a busy day, to work, or school, or a break in between. While mostly being a “to-go” cafe, it does have tables and chairs for those who wish to stay a while. Located central, it also has hosts of convenience items and food. What people seem to enjoy most though is the caramel frappuccino.

Address: 10350 University Drive, City Centre Library

Prado

If you love coffee, then you will love Prado which uses coffee roasted by 49th Parallel. It first opened in Vancouver and has grown to multiple locations, including this Central Surrey spot. The place is vibrant and hosts a number of good eats and drinks and teal seats for a modern vibe. Outside of your regular items you will find things like pastel pink beetroot latte, citrus cake, apricot cookie, or the infamous cookie with no name.

Address: 13475 103 Avenue, Civic Plaza hotel

Stuffies Pastries

This cafe is better known for its stuffed pastries that are shaped like cute animals, than its coffee. Patrons can choose to stuff the pastries with a number of fillings such as Nutella, vanilla, dulce de leche and more. The soft pancake filled treats are enticing enough to make anyone check out this cafe. Located inside the Guildford Town Centre, it may not be a place to sit down and enjoy but it is a great spot to grab and go while in the mall.

Address: 10355 152 Street, Guildford Town Centre

Coffee Monster

Coffee Monster is a true coffee shop with interesting and delicious menu items ensuring there is something for everyone. Whether you are craving one of their signature cold beverages (such as frozen chocolate) or their Spanish latte, the drinks alone make this a great spot. However, the cafe is also known for its pastries, cakes, waffles and dessert treats like earl grey crème brulee. The vibe is relaxing and the menu is creative.

Address: 15285 101 Avenue, Suite C1B

Happy Jack’s Cafe

Known for its friendly staff, Happy Jack’s Cafe is a hidden gem in the area with delicious food and flavoured coffees. Plus, the brunch-like items — think blueberry pancakes — make it a perfect place to meet a friend and enjoy an afternoon together.

Address: 110-10470 152 Street

Do you know of any other locally-owned cafes in Surrey Centre that we have to try? Let us know at info@surrey604.com. 

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Food & Drink

7-Eleven Announces Sev’s 360 Summer Roll With Us Campaign

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7-Eleven Canada Announces “Sev’s 360 Summer – Roll With Us” Campaign Coming To Your Neighbourhood. Get ready for exclusive Slurpee and skateboarding events, contests and giveaways, all summer long.

7-Eleven Canada announces their summer schedule filled with events, contests, and giveaways designed for Slurpee, skateboard, and summer lovers.

In celebration of the partnership with Canada Skateboard and the National Team, Sev’s 360 Summer – Roll With Us Campaign invites fans to take a front-row seat to Canada Skateboard experiences and chances to win awesome swag and prizes.

7-Eleven Canada will be giving away one skateboard deck a day all summer long, exclusively to 7Rewards members.

Norman Hower, Vice President and General Manager of 7-Eleven Canada, says: “This year continues to be challenging for many Canadians and our goal is to provide ways to make this summer enjoyable and easy for all.

As Canadians head out to the beaches and parks to make the most of the outdoors, they can have meals, snacks, and drinks delivered to wherever they may be, or available to pick up on the go, and Sev’s 360 Summer Roll With Us campaign will add extra fun to the occasion.”

7Rewards members can enter for a chance to win by scanning 7Rewards with every purchase or placing an order with 7NOW delivery and can earn an additional 5 entries by scanning partnered products.

Rockstar Energy® Drinks is one of the partnering drinks, along with refreshing Slurpee frozen beverages, Crispy Classic Chicken Sandwiches, Chicken Wings, Fresh from the Oven in Minutes 24/7 Pizzas and delicious snacks like Old Dutch Chips and McSweeney Beef Jerky are also a part of the 7Rewards 360 Summer – Roll With Us contest to keep your summer days fueled.

Only at Sev, fill up an exclusive Canada Skateboard Slurpee Collectible Cup with limited time flavours including; delicious Pink Grapefruit Lemonade, Fanta Dragon Fruit, MTN Dew® Blue Shock ™ and Slurpuccino (yes, it’s back).

For more chances to win great prizes, play the Hide and Seek game on the Canada Skateboard Slurpee Collectible Cups, featuring the 2021 Canada Skateboard National Team, and the Sticker Slap AR game on the 7Rewards app.

Click here to see more details on Sev’s 360 Summer- Roll With Us campaign

To learn more about all the events and contests coming up with Sev’s 360 Summer – Roll With Us campaign, click here or visit 7-Eleven Canada’s Instagram Page.

Customers who are not yet a 7Rewards member can download the 7Rewards app by texting APP to 711247 or sign up.

Fans are also encouraged to check out 7-Eleven Canada’s new 7Now® Delivery App, where Canadians can get 24/7 around the clock pick-up and delivery within 30 minutes on groceries, necessities, meals, snacks, drinks and treats – like Slurpee drinks.

Every order through 7Now is one automatic entry in the 360 Summer – Roll With Us contest and with over 900 items to choose from, members will earn 7Rewards points with every order.

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