Need something to do this weekend? Here are five local vendors to check out at the Vancouver Farmers Markets, which recently kicked off its summer season around town.
At the Trout Lake Farmers Market this Saturday (June 24)
Thrifty Vancouverites flock to farmers markets each weekend with the intent of purchasing the best local produce, artisanal crafts, handmade cheeses, meats, and baked goods, so it’s a bonus when our favourite local cideries are thrown into the mix of vendors. Who are we to say no to a sample in between booths? The folks at Left Field have been busy hitting up Farmers Markets since early May, and this weekend, they’ll visit the market at Trout Lake.
If the word cider brings back memories of two-litre bottles and horrifying hangovers, we beg you to consider this: B.C.’s craft cider scene has a come a long way in recent years, and Left Field Cider Co. has certainly been at the forefront, leading the way with their super-dry, super tasty varieties that are sure to convert even the most committed beer drinkers.
Using a combination of English and French cider apples, as well as eating apples typical to B.C., Left Field has created two unique blends of handcrafted, English-style cider at its Okanagan cidery. Our favourite style, Big Dry (7.2 percent ABV), combines bittersweet cider apples with Okanagan dessert apples for a well-balanced, tart beverage, while Little Dry (7.4 percent ABV) is blended to highlight the flavour of fresh fruits and is slightly sweeter. We have yet to sample one of Left Field’s limited-edition Cidermaker’s Select, a small-batch table cider series that highlights different apple varieties, blends, and fermentation techniques.
At the West End Farmers Market this Saturday (June 24) and the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market this Sunday (June 25)
Everyone loves pierogi! It doesn’t matter if you’re not Ukrainian. Or Russian. Or Slovakian. Or have roots in any of the other numerous nations of Central and Eastern Europe that lay claim to originating the delicious dumplings. They’re all wrong, by the way, because pierogi were actually introduced to Europe via Italy when Marco Polo brought some back from China. Or maybe that’s just a fanciful story. For the record, the “old country” referred to in the name of Old Country Pierogi is Poland.
But that’s not really the point! The point is, everyone loves pierogi, which have become as ingrained in Canadian culinary culture as maple syrup, poutine, and Nanaimo bars. And we mean everyone—in addition to traditional faves like potato-and-cheese, Old Country has a number of vegan varieties including lentil-and-onion and butternut-squash-and-sage pierogi. Some gluten-free options as well, if that’s your thing.
So far we have only bought them frozen by the dozen from the stall at Trout Lake, but Old Country also operates a food truck, serving up not only pierogi but also hunter’s stew, sausage, cabbage rolls, and potato pancakes. It’s enough to bring out the Polish in anyone. Or the Ukrainian, Russian, Slovakian, Italian, Chinese... oh heck, let’s just say “Canadian” and leave it at that.
At Trout Lake Farmers Market this Saturday (June 24)
Besides fresh fruit and produce, there are plenty of other goods that can be found at local summer farmers markets. Fraser Valley–based Farm House Natural Cheeses is one of them. The company brings its Agassiz farm’s natural dairy products all the way to the city, so Vancouver peeps can have a taste of the high quality and award-winning products.
Customers can browse through Farm House's cow’s or goat’s milk products, which include cheese, yogurt, butter, and whole milk. Since the star of the show is cheese, we suggest grabbing a block or two to pair with those organic grapes and B.C. wine that you’ll also pick up at the market. If you’re unsure of which cheese product to try, we recommend the traditional clothbound cheddar (made with fresh cow’s milk), the Alpine Gold (washed-cured and washed-rind cheese), or the Heidi (similar to gruyère).
If you're a goat cheese lover, go for the goat brie, goat gouda, or goat cheddar to jazz up that charcuterie board you’ll be making this weekend.
Crêperie La Bohème
At the Trout Lake Farmers Market this Saturday (June 24)
You’d be forgiven for being completely unaware of Crêperie La Bohème’s existence: the travelling food cart boasts no website, Facebook, or Instagram and is untraceable via the Street Food app. But what the family-owned truck lacks in online presence it makes up for—big time—in the taste and size of its fully loaded, West Coast–inspired crêpes.
Consisting primarily of buckwheat, La Bohème’s gluten-free recipe strays from the classic flour-and-egg mix that Vancouverites may be familiar with, but the earthy flavour works perfectly when paired with ingredients like mozzarella, apple compote, and fresh, tender greens. Savoury options include the Ali Baba, which uses red pepper spread, roasted eggplant, and goat feta, and the Chêvre, a crowd fave that combines béchamel, caramelized onions, and goat cheese.
Sweet tooths, meanwhile, will be satisfied with seasonal offerings like the Nutella-and-ricotta and chocolate-and-jam. Dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan modifications are also available, further illustrating that La Bohème has a firm handling on the city’s diverse, health-oriented palate. Come hungry and look for the magenta, boho-influenced truck painted to mimic a nomadic wagon.
At the Kitsilano Farmers Market this Sunday (June 25)
For the first 124 years of so of the city’s existence, the big knock on Vancouver was the way its founding fathers (not to mention the jackasses that came after them) seemed determined on keeping things drier than Brunei in July. Liquor wasn’t something to be enjoyed responsibly with friends, but instead ended up treated as nothing less than the devil’s brew. Believe it or not, before Expo86 you couldn’t order a beer, wine, or Strawberry Squashed Alleycat in a Vancouver restaurant on a Sunday.
We’ve come a lot way since then, baby, to the point where breweries with adjoining tasting rooms have exploded all over the city and—good God—you can head out to a public space and load up ye olde liquor cabinet or bar fridge. For the former, watch for Odd Society Spirits at various locations this summer, the East Van distillery offering small-batch whiskey, vodka, and gin.
On the beer front, Bomber Brewing will be a regular presence at Lower Mainland farmer’s markets, including the Kitsilano Farmers Market this Sunday at the Kits Community Centre. If you’ve been by the Adanac bike-path favourite, you pretty much what to expect, namely superior suds ranging from the brewery’s award-winning Pilsner to its British-style ESB to its perfect-for-summer Park Life Passion Fruit Ale.
Beers are available for sampling and for purchasing only, which means, sadly, you won’t be able to pop a top and enjoy one as you stroll around the market. Yes, we’ve come far in our acceptance of demon alcohol in Vancouver, but sadly not that far.