The Island Markets
In Vancouver, we are lucky to be just a boat ride away from so many beautiful islands, each with their own unique character. It could be a quick ferry to Bowen, or a little farther to Hornby, Pender, Qualicum Beach or Metchosin.
For those looking for a fun day or weekend trip, a number of islands offer Farmers’ Markets featuring organic growers, artisans and performers. Vendors offer interesting local treats to eat on the spot or bring home. Others will work on their designs between customers. These markets are also a great place to meet a host of island characters and talk to them about other cool things to do while you’re visiting.
The hellobc site offers links for 21 such island market adventures.
In this world of make it, bake it or grow it, Salt Spring’s Famous Saturday Market is particularly large, featuring more than 140 artisans and food producers. You might see Ross Atkinson with his charming line of Salt Spring Wooden Toys, Bite Me’s Pistachio-Cranberry Shortbread or Bree Eagle with her Salt Spring Island Artisan Vinegar with flavours like Strawberry Quince Balsamic or Plum infused with Thai Chili.
When you go to the Gabriola Farmers Market, you’ll likely spot Leigh-Ann Millman holding up samples of her home-made licorice with chopsticks. Go try some. Her old-fashioned style Yummy Licorice comes in plain and orange. She brews it up naturally with molasses, organic wheat flour, licorice root and anise. The light powdered sugar – on the outside only, Millman’s packaging is careful to note – adds just the right contrast to the deep licorice flavour.
At the Gabriola Market, you’ll also find fresh-picked produce: giant red and white radishes, purple-tinged garlic, all manners of lettuce and rainbow cherry tomatoes. Gwen Smeets is often there with her popular pies and Laura Handford with her handmade silver rings with pearls, amethysts, turquoise.
While you’re visiting any of these island markets, enjoy the easy-access quiet beaches and local B&B’s.
Written by Elizabeth Newton