Makaria Farm’s Food Security Club

Winter Squashes (l) Heather Walker with fresh garlic (r). Photo by Deanna Ladret

Brock McLeod didn’t like vegetables before he became a farmer. Accustomed to the oversized and under-flavoured produce in the grocery stores, McLeod’s opinion of edible flora changed forever when he realized that “Vegetables grown in a healthy, organic soil, combined with planting only those varieties that are bred for great flavour–as opposed to their ability to withstand shipping–are completely different from what you typically find in the store. They taste good! They taste great!”


Now a well established farmer and veggie zealot, Brock McLeod (and partner Heather Walker)’s Makaria Farm vegetables are renowned throughout the Cowichan Valley. Not only popular for their great-tasting and high quality harvest, Makaria Farm embraces applied sustainable agriculture with a Vegetable Share Program and the launch of their new Food Security Club.


The Food Security Club is open to anyone who has transportation to the farm. Individuals register online or by mail and pay $205 in the spring, so Walker & McLeod know how many seeds to buy. At harvest, each customer can pick up 50 bulbs of garlic, 30 lbs of carrots, and 65 lbs of assorted squash including butternuts, kabochas, baby hubbards, delicatas, and red kuri. Not a bad deal for locally grown, organic produce.


Some might be a little intimidated by the quantities. Reassuringly, Walker and McLeod note that all of these items are quite sturdy and will last weeks, even months, if stored properly. You can also preserve them, which will further extend their ‘shelf life’. If you don’t have a lot of extra space, or the time to preserve, another alternative might be to split the share with friends or family.


What to do, then, with all of these delicious garlic bulbs, squash, and carrots? Brock’s favourite go-to winter dish is a medley of roasted vegetables, using “whatever’s on hand”. Heather uses squash in place of pumpkin to make delicious fillings for pies and tarts.  Squash can be used in fresh pasta, or pureed for baby food if you have little ones (fill up those ice cube trays). Bring a few squash out of the root cellar to display on your table for a colourful centrepiece, then cook with them later. Of course, let’s not forget butternut squash soup, which can be made in bulk and frozen for rainy (or snowy) days. Garlic bulbs can be roasted whole, brushed with olive oil and used in place of butter, spread over a fresh baguette to accompany soup or pasta – a great option for vegans or people with dairy sensitivity. Carrots enjoy endless usability, from fresh raw snacks (a good call when local fruit is out of season, McLeod points out), to juice, curried soups, muffins, loaves and beyond.


It’s a win/win situation. Besides the wholesale prices and fresh organic produce, Food Security Club participants know they’re supporting a Vancouver Island farm, while redirecting reliance from freight-transported goods back to a secure and sustainable local source. Now that’s something we can all sink our teeth into.


Makaria Farm Food Security Club


4715 Bench Road

Duncan, Cowichan Valley

250-597-3276 (FARM)




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