Eat Here Now Gives Victoria a Taste of What Could Be

left: Tim Trebilcock, VDPMS director (at the back), with Eat Here Now volunteers at the Silver Rill corn boil stall, upper right: Jason Guille, Philippe Lucas and Scott Kelly - VDPMS directors, lower right: Scott Kelly interviews Ryan Vantreight. all images: Maryanne Carmack

Where in Victoria can you grab a baguette from Fol Epi, a bite to eat from Canoe, pick up some of Camille’s Smoked Tomato Salsa, watch a knife demo by one of the area’s top chefs, and buy some farm-fresh produce to bring home for dinner or some heritage seeds to plant in your garden, all without walking more than a hundred paces? For now, it only happens in one place, once a year. Last Sunday’s Eat Here Now Harvest Festival was a glowing celebration of local food, farms and community, offering Victorians a delicious taste of what could be,  if the Victoria Downtown Public Market Society succeeds in bringing a permanent market back to our city’s core.

Momentum is definitely building. The event, which organizers estimate doubled in its second year, drew close to 10,000 residents to the square throughout the day, and generated about $7,000, which, along with grants from the Island Agricultural Foundation and Enterprising Non-Profits will help fund a needs assessment of local vendors and farmers, and develop a governance model as well as a business plan.

Highlights of the day included the successful corn boil,for which all the corn was generously donated by Silver Rill Farm, and the arrival of 5th generation farmer Ryan Vantreight, who drove his family’s Massey-Ferguson tractor down from Central Saanich to demonstrate just how close our food comes from.

Wandering from stall to stall, attendees enjoyed ‘buck-a-bite’ treats from local restaurants such as Kulu, Choux Choux Charcuterie, Cafe Bliss and more. The kids’ zone saw many happy children playing on the inflatable castle, learning about chickens and getting their faces painted. The sun shone down, the crowd danced and laughed and filled their bellies. It was a good place to be on September 11th, 2011, and with any luck (but more likely with a whole lot of determination and hard work), it won’t be too long before we have such a place to go any day of the year.

image: Jeff Wright, owner of Old Country Seeds, chats with a customer, credit: Maryanne Carmack

image: Marilyn Soames (left) introduces her heritage chickens to attendees credit: Maryanne Carmack

Written By:

Rebecca Baugniet is a freelance food writer and editor living on Canada’s West Coast with her husband and their four children. The author of three published cookbooks, Rebecca has also written for EAT Magazine and for Montréal ...

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