Fernwood Road Cafe, Salt Spring Island.

As I sat on the sun-drenched deck, chatting with chef Jennifer Shaw co-owner of the Fernwood road Cafe on Salt Spring Island, my body absorbed the sights, sounds and smells encompassing the cafe and its happy patrons. At one table under an umbrella sat a family who had arrived via bikes together to enjoy locally made gelato, while another table seated a couple enjoying their iced Mt Maxwell Roasted coffee. My view from the deck included Wallace Island across Trincomali Channel and the dock we were tied to. There are more ways than one to arrive at this bustling cafe! 

Inside, Chef Jennifer’s staff busily created summer salads of blueberries, mixed greens, Salt Spring Island chèvre, and roasted hazelnuts tossed in a fig dressing for customers at the counter. The walls displayed artful photos and cabinets decorated with jars of Salt Spring Candied Jalapeños and spicy tomato Jam. I remembered the jam from last years’ Grazing event in Ganges at Sip & Savour Salt Spring — it was divine while topped on a dainty tomato mouse tart  (I made sure to sample it a second time). Jennifer has interesting ideas for this years’ event, though you’ll have to get your tickets and show up before being privy to the secret. Jennifer laughed as she told me about personally delivering a wedding cake to Poet’s Cove the weekend prior — waiting for the ferry with her air conditioning running full bore, thus avoiding a puddle of cake, and freezing herself in the process. Her day didn’t end there; after closing the cafe she went to her offsite kitchen to bake until 11pm, as she does most nights. Who would imagine that the former Vancouver lawyer and her husband would end up opening an out of the way café on Salt Spring Island — they certainly worked hard to do just that. Her passion for good wholesome food is obvious —everything she makes is from scratch, and she can proudly tell you exactly where each Salt Spring Island farm ingredient comes from. A strong connection with local farmers and purveyors helps her sense of community flourish, and a steady stream of regulars coming back for much more than just well roasted coffee.

—By Kirsten Tyler

20140728_133457 20140728_132002 Fernwood Road Café 325 Fernwood Road Salt Spring Island Website   — Kirsten Tyler

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