Following our visit to the West End farmers' market in Vancouver, British Columbia, we hopped on a ferry to Vancouver Island and the capital city of Victoria. Boasting the mildest climate in Canada, Vancouver Island is home to many food and wine producers, several of whom can be found at the vibrant Bastion Square market on Sundays.
In addition to fresh produce vendors, the Bastion Square farmers' market features many friendly and passionate food artisans. This makes it a particularly fun destination for visitors, who can pick up souvenirs like Organic Fair's soda syrups and chocolate (try the Canadiana chocolate bar with maple syrup, sundried apples, and alder smoked salt), local honey from Cottlestone Apiary, salt from Vancouver Island Salt Co. (infused with local ingredients like blue cheese and cider), and preserves from nearby farm-to-table restaurant Camille's. Alas, we weren't able to buy any fresh pasta from Cowichan Pasta, but we loved the concept: 100% Vancouver Island ingredients, from the wheat to the flavorings like stinging nettles, wakame, and chanterelles.
We barely scratched the surface during our visit to this rich agricultural region. However, the small glimpse we got at the Bastion Square farmers' market has made us eager to return to Vancouver Island, and in particular the Cowichan Valley where much of this food is grown and crafted.
Do you live on Vancouver Island? Tell us about your favorite markets and food producers!
More information: Sunday Market at Bastion Square
(Images: Emily Ho)