During a recent trip to Vancouver, BC, we headed straight for the famous Granville Island Public Market, only to discover that much of the produce was imported from far-off locations, including our own state of California. That market is certainly fun to visit, but for truly local BC food, we knew we needed to hit up one of Vancouver's farmers' markets. So, on a rainy Saturday morning, we strolled through the beautiful West End market, its tents nestled between community gardens and Victorian homes. The West End farmers' market is on the smaller side with about three dozen vendors (we can't wait to go back and visit the bigger Trout Lake farmers' market), but it's well appointed with farm, food, and craft vendors, many of them organic and all of them hailing from BC. In addition to fruit and vegetable growers, there are wild fish harvesters, meat and poultry ranchers, dairy and cheese producers, and purveyors of baked goods, preserves, honey, coffee, and sweets. We loved the green, community-oriented aspects of this market, which includes a Food Scraps Drop Spot for compostables and a bike repair service.
In season right now are gloriously sweet cherries, strawberries, and raspberries; colorful beets and radishes; young garlic, onions, and scapes; and charming little new potatoes. We sampled local hazelnuts, small batch jam from Sticky Spoon, melt-in-your-mouth scones from Purebread, and a lovely array of cheeses from Little Qualicum Cheeseworks. As tourists, it was the perfect place to learn a bit about the local food culture, eat breakfast, and buy souvenirs to take home.
Do you live in Vancouver? Tell us about your favorite markets and vendors!
More information: Vancouver Farmers Markets
Related: A Food-Lover's Guide to Vancouver
(Images: Emily Ho)