Life in the salad bowl continued last Monday when I was privileged to spend a day volunteering in the kitchen for the Meet Your Maker Vancouver Island event. Organized by Farm Folk City Folk, it was the first time it had been offered on the Island, and it was a staggeringly good affair, at least from where I was standing (and peeling and chopping and arranging and carrying and washing and slicing).
Around 80 food producers (farmers, fisherfolk, processors) and food buyers (from restaurants, delis, grocery stores) converged on the Saanich Fairgrounds for a day of networking and information exchange. Participating producers were invited to donate their wares which local chefs turned into the most extraordinary potluck lunch I’ve ever had the good fortune to sample. We kitchen volunteers were kept busy for four or five hours arranging, heating, cooking and/or simply laying out the wares that arrived in a steady stream starting at 8am.
Here’s a small sampling of the wonders that came our way… Squash soup from Haliburton Farm, mixed roasted vegetables, oysters from the Gulf Islands, Fry’s Bakery sausage rolls, raw veggies from Saanich Organics, Madrona Farm and other local farms, crab legs, focaccia from Il Forno di Claudio, lots of Natural Pastures, Moonstruck, Salt Spring & Kootenay Alpine cheeses from Niagara Grocery, a salumi platter from The Whole Beast, and phyllo halibut parcels and smoked canned salmon.
Below, Haliburton Farmer Nate from New Mountain Farm; luscious lemon bars; baker Byron Fry and chef Dwane MacIsaac find their zen at the start of the long buffet.
As I overheard someone say, gaping at the bounty heaping their plate, it’s hard to believe in food insecurity when you see this small sampling of what can be produced on Vancouver Island. Which, need we remind ourselves, is small scale agriculture by necessity.