A few weeks ago Laura Van der Veer, Operator of Be Fresh Cafe and Market, held a mini Local Producers market.
On this particular Saturday morning I met my friend Jer Baum(jerbaum.com) to check out one of his community events. Jer Baum believes life is like a puzzle and the pieces can all be put together to create one beautiful picture therefore he is always connecting me to people and events he knows I am passionate about.
Be Fresh is an offshoot of spud.ca, created especially to connect communites on a ground level. Their tagline is local/sustainable/seasonal. One can drop by for some take-out lunch and head down to the beach, or just sit at the sidewalk tables and people watch.
Be Fresh café/market is located on the corner of West First Avenue and Cypress Street, one of my favourite spots in Kitsilano. In this one block area you’ll find some of Vancouver’s most cherished businesses like AnnaLena Restaurant, Rocky Mountain Flatbread, Epicurean caffe and Ron Zalko gym.
This is also where Lulu Lemon’s staff overflows into the community to lunch at all the little eateries around the neighbourhood, and to do group yoga in the parks.
There is a sentiment rarely expressed when we talk about farmers markets, of course we speak about the freshness of the food that is made with love and brought to us with pride but we rarely speak about the relationship between these producers, a relationship that is as pure and unadulterated as the food they bring to market.
Some of our best entrepreneurs were there to showcase their stuff and for the first time in a long time every sample I tasted brought forth an involuntary, “Wow that’s good!”
East Van Jam – brought to us by Natalie Ferrari-Morton – is a made with ninety-five percent BC fruits and the lowest possible sugar content at 4.1 fruit to 1 cup ratio.
Pure fruits taste, a little tart and natural sweetness make this line of jams perfect for slathering on breads and crackers, mixing into dips, and creating savoury dishes.
Natalie is down to earth and funny and I really enjoyed chatting with her. The names of her products is an indication to what they’re made of and her sense of fun. Names like Monsieur Hopricot, Ollie Onion and Serene Nectarine, just to name a few, came along with hilarious characters that uses children’s storytelling metaphorically to describe food.
Thirsty Whale Elixirs produce Shrubs which is described as a fruit, vinegar and sugar syrup concoctions that dates back to the 17th century. They use local BC fruits, organic apple cider vinegar and cane sugar as the base for each thirst-quenching creation.
Unique Shrubs like Peach Vanilla Cardamom, Blueberry Lavender and Pear Thyme were packed with surprisingly fantastic tastes. Use them to make delicious cocktails to impress everyone or add to soda water to make fizzy summer drinks.
Original Mexican Gourmet (OMG) brought to us by Rossana and Veronica brings a gorgeous product to us, Cajetas. This is not Dulce De Leche which is made with cow’s milk and sugar. This is pure goat’s milk that is reduced for hours until it is caramelized. Rossana and Veronica take great pride in using 100 percent local goat’s milk, buying directly from ethical farmers, and producing in small batches.
Cajetas – every flavour – is so delectable that once you’ve tasted them you will never go back to other caramel products.
Spread “Em Kitchen is all about pure, nutrient-dense, no-nonsense food. They create dips and spreads made with whole foods; cashews and vegetables.
Every spread I tried was packed with natural flavours and absolutely satisfying. It truly tasted like someone just whipped them up in the kitchen a few minutes ago. Just writing about them I get the urge to rush out and buy some. Simply named and profoundly memorable products, for example Beets is made with beets, balsamic and cashews. Cilantro is made with raw pumpkin seeds, cilantro, lemon and garlic. Spicy carrot is made with carrots, cashews, spices and lemon zest.
And last but not least the environment is just as important as the food we put in our bodies, Spread ‘Em Kitchen uses cargo bikes for deliveries, composts and recycles everything, and is almost 100 percent waste-free.
Erin is also a smoothie recipe developer for Vega and a Spud.ca ambassador. What I admire most about her is her commitment to food integrity, to the environment and to people. Conversations with her flow effortlessly as she exchanges information about food, life and philosophies. Her genuine curiosity and desire to learn and teach is so evident it is mesmerizing.
There is one request I have for To Die Fine Foods…please commission a gluten-free bakery and make us some of this much talked about Banana bread, thank you!
Based on the faces glowing with health and clean beauty one can tell that whatever it is they do and eat is all done with purity of heart and mindfulness.
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