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Local food news & events


For The Love of Local Food

Loveable Local Food & Hand-Crafted Goods

There is nothing quite like the lush green landscape of a garden in full bloom or the bountiful harvest of a fall accompanied by an autumnal feast. But even in February with chilly temperatures in often gray skies, there is much to love in the Cowichan Valley.

Aligning with the love theme of February, the staff at Cow-op Online Farmers Market want to share with you a few their favourite things. Please read on to find out what is inspiring the Cow-op teammates this month.

Healthy Sprouted Nuts & Seeds From hOMe Grown Living Foods

“Ask me again in a month and it would be a different product, but right now I’m obsessed with hOMe Grown Living Foods’ Sprouted Walnuts. Most of the time, walnuts leave my mouth in rough shape, with a very bitter aftertaste. But not the Sprouted Walnuts from Shani and Willy. These ones are crispy, bright, and lightly nutty. The sprouting and dehydrating process magically transforms them into the best nuts I’ve ever eaten.

My favourite part is that they are grown organically using “Dry Farming” methods, which means the trees are not irrigated. I think Dry Farming is the way of the future for water conservation and climate action, so I am happy to give that grower my money!” -Laura

Walnuts Sprouted
Pumpkin Seeds

Dry farming is a technique used in drier climates where water is less abundant; it uses rainwater catchment to irrigate crops and increases water retention through the use of cover crops or dry mulching. Let’s show a little love to our beloved Mother Earth!

Click here to learn more about hOMe Grown Living Foods and all the awesome natural foods that they offer.

Incredible Organic Teas from Westholme Tea Company

“It’s hard to choose just one item but right now I am in love with Rooted Herbal Tea from Westholme Tea Company. The warming herbs of ginger and pepper are a nice addition on chilly days & liquorice root adds a subtle sweetness to round out the flavour. These grounding herbs remind me to take the time to be present in the moment and grateful for those around me. Additionally, I love Westholme Tea Co. because the folks that work there are awesome and super passionate about creating the best tea blends in the Cowichan Valley!” – Tamra

Westholme Tea
Rooted Tea
Westholme Tea

Owners Margit and Victor planted their first tea bushes at their farm in 2010, The name Westholme was decided upon as a way to honour the history and geography of the land on which they work. After a decade of passionate work, they have become the first (and only) Commercial Organic Tea Grower in Canada.

Click here to learn more about Westholme Tea and the incredible organic teas that they create.

Delicious Ready-Made Meals From Mensch Foods & Catering
(Formerly Farm’s Gate Foods & Catering)

“I’m a newbie at Cow-op and have discovered that there are sooo many amazing goodies to try! I haven’t had a chance to sample many yet, but if I had to choose, I would say that my favourite so far would be the Eggplant Parmigiana from Farm’s Gate Foods & Catering. I decided to order this dish after a friend raved about it, and she was right, it was incredibly delicious! The Eggplant Parm was deeply layered and the portion was a good size, so it was a great value too.” -Sandy

Farms Gate Meals
Macaroni And Cheese

Something that we love about Farm’s Gate Kitchen & Catering is that the chef, Dan Shipley, is passionate about the Cowichan Valley’s local food system. He sources local ingredients for his menu items as often as he can and when you are a busy chef this can take time!

Take this delectable Eggplant Parmigiana for example; the tomatoes for the sauce and the eggplants used as the main ingredient were grown locally in Mill Bay at Wicklow Farm. The onions were grown at Root Bound, a no till farm that uses regenerative and natural farming practices in south Duncan. We have so many great local farms that really contribute to a sustainable food system here on Vancouver Island.

Click here to learn more about Mensch Foods & Catering and all the delicious meals that they cook up.

Luxurious Soaps & Bath Bombs From Sarah’s Soap Garden

“My favourite thing would be ANY of the soaps from Sarah’s Soap Garden. They were one of the first things I ever purchased from Cow-op and since then, I’ve been hooked! I absolutely love the scents as they are not overpowering. The soap leaves my skin feeling clean, soft, and lightly scented while the suds wash off my skin completely without residue. I have very sensitive skin and I expected a reaction, but I had none. Absolutely adore these locally made soaps!” -Erica

Soap Display
Blue Soap
Bath Bombs

Sarah’s Soaps are hand crafted with a coconut oil base and carefully selected ingredients such as essential oils, local botanicals, beeswax and honey. A luxurious soap that treats your skin well is a great form of self-care and also shows that you care for the small businesses in our community!

Click here to learn more about Sarah’s Soaps and all the luxurious goods that they create.

It’s easy to see that we have always connected with our foods. We attach meaning, stories, feelings, celebrations, and self-care to the food and drink that we choose to nourish our bodies with. These connections become even more powerful when the foods are locally grown, artisan, or hand crafted items. The energy and intention spent in their creation continually gives back to our community and inspires us to celebrate the beauty that we find all around, right here in the Cowichan Valley.

The Cow-op Team

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