Farm to table, sea to table, forest to table; this is how best to eat and to live. BC Farmers’ Markets offer us this gift of lifestyle through the age-old village mentality of nurturing communities through local healthy food. In a village, members of the local farm and food community proudly come to market day with their bounty. It is their job to grow, cook, bake, forage, fish, farm to feed with a goal to sustain their community. For the shoppers, their role in this system is to put their hard-earned money directly back into the community by purchasing the food and drink directly from the producer. This beautiful circle of life not only provides sustenance for the people but also ensures that the farmlands and animals have proper stewardship and the local economy thrives.
From land to sea, our province is lush with local products allowing us to almost 100% eat local- down to even sea salt, rice, and cooking oils, we are pretty much set! BC Farmers’ Markets offer us a shopping venue to find the most delicious and luxurious range of products year-round. Here we can truly celebrate seasonal ingredients and watch as they come to market but also find preserved products all year.
As a home cook, cooking seasonally provides the opportunity to experiment with new recipes. The three recipes that I have chosen to share below will offer you the chance to shop for the ingredients at your local farmers’ market. There you will find the very best example of fruit and vegetables in season. I get so excited about seasonal ingredients and menu planning! There is nothing like a vine ripened heirloom tomato or a fresh picked Okanagan peach and both are featured in my Panzanella Salad recipe. The markets also provide exciting new cultural ingredients that you may not have heard of – like the Japanese eggplant that I have featured in my Filipino recipe for Tortang Talong. Most of the ingredients for these recipes can be purchased at your local market – from the ground pork and bread to the wild mushrooms you will need for the soup recipe, you can even purchase wine and flowers to set the table.
Filipino cuisine is a hot new food trend these days – and for good reason. The dishes are delicious and offer new flavours to indulge in. My husband Jay is Filipino and also an amazing cook so I have been enjoying my own culinary discovery tour in our kitchen. I have seen Japanese eggplants at the market in the past but had no idea that they were so rich and creamy. I love the smokiness that comes through from charring the skin in the Tortang Talong, it adds an amazing layer of flavour and also enhances the wine pairing. Filipino cuisine is also easier to pair with wine unlike some more spicy Asian cultures – this recipe sang with both the Peak Cellars Rosé and their new Pinot Noir/Gamay blend called Goldie Red. Other BC wine pairings I chose for this recipe include Red Horses Vineyards Rosé, Haywire Chardonnay and the Evolve Pink Effervescence Sparkling.
Mushroom enthusiasts go berserk when BC wild mushrooms turn up at the Farmer’s Markets. Local foragers set up shop to showcase their seasonal offerings like morels, chanterelles and other faves. This mushroom soup recipe is so easy but tastes like restaurant quality. It also works with any kind of mushroom so you can even substitute basic white buttons (if you must).
The recipe was shared with me by Zac Brown, owner and winemaker at Alderlea Vineyards on Vancouver Island for my book, The BC Wine Lover’s Cookbook. Not only an amazing winemaker, Zac is an amazing home chef and in the Cowichan Valley wild mushrooms are plentiful. He says, “Make this recipe with fresh chanterelle mushrooms and your guests will write songs about it.” Lol Enjoy! BC wine pairings that match beautifully with this soup would be Maverick Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc, Sperling Natural Organic Amber Pinot Gris (orange), and Niche Wine Co. Pinot Noir.
I grew up on an orchard in East Kelowna. Our trees were mostly apple but my mom had a block of peaches that were her own project and oh my, were they incredible. Those were the biggest, prettiest darn peaches you ever did see. Folks would drive all the way from Saskatchewan for a box every year (I am serious).
That original block is long gone, but I still can feel those hot summer days of my youth, my face itchy from peach fuzz and hands sticky from juice and it is a happy place. I have many favorite peach recipes to enjoy while the season is here, and our local Farmer’s Markets have every variety you could wish for.
Panzanella salad is essentially a Tuscan born chopped salad featuring ripe tomatoes and day-old bread that is reborn after gloriously soaking up the tomato juices and olive oil. Farmer’s Market heirloom tomatoes are what I dream of all year long and together with thee peaches and fresh basil create the quintessential Okanagan summer flavour bomb. To take this salad to the next level, fry the capers until crisp in some olive oil first. Pair with O’Rourke Peak Cellars Riesling,
Visit the BC Farmers’ Markets Association website to locate regional venues to shop at across the province. Come meet farmers and learn about fresh, local, in season foods that grow throughout British Columbia. Cooking with premium produce from BC Farm Markets has never tasted so delicious!
Examples of BCAFM Vendors Jennifer Schell frequents and is a fan of
- Michael Weinman, 4 Elements Farm – Oyama, BC
- Julia Rohrer, Good n’ Plenty Farm Produce – Armstrong, BC
- Wolf and Gaby Wesley – Green Croft Gardens – Grindrod, BC
- Steve Forbes – Forbes Farm – Oliver, BC
More reasons to shop at your local BC Farmer’s Markets
It’s Good for BC Farmers & Communities
By shopping at the farmers’ markets, you are directly supporting farmers and other local businesses. Every dollar goes to local growers, makers, bakers and strengthens the local economy. By purchasing direct from farmers, you are voting with your dollar to support small, local growers, and safeguarding BC’s foodlands for future generations.
It’s Better for our Environment
The fresh produce sold at BC farmers’ markets usually travels less than 300km to get to you. Compare this to the average North American meal, which travels 2,400km to get from field to plate and contains ingredients from five countries in addition to our own.
Fresh, Direct & Always in Season
BC farmers’ markets are the go-to spot for fresh food direct from local farmers, and one of the only places you can meet and talk to the people who grow your food. Find the freshest fruits and veggies, locally raised meat and eggs, artisanal cheese, preserves, honey, craft beer, wine and spirits, savoury treats, handmade artisan goods and more.
BC Farmers Market Fresh Recipes Pair Perfect With BC Boutique Wines
By Jennifer Schell – Jennifer Schell is a highly acclaimed, international award-winning food and wine author, photojournalist and champion of BC’s local food, wine and farm community. Jennifer’s bestselling new book The BC Wine Lover’s Cookbook published by Appetite by Random House continues the celebratory theme set in her first three cookbooks, The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker, all bestsellers. Born and raised on an apple orchard in East Kelowna Jennifer and her books were the first to spotlight the amazing community of food, drink and farming community in the Okanagan.