Written By Guest Writer Edibles / Victoria Jul 15, 2013 Metchosin Farm to Host Feast of Fields VI SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter Pinterest“Seeding the Next Generation”Victoria, BC After driving up Wooton Road on my way to visit this year’s host of Feast of Fields, I’m greeted by an enthusiastic pup and a friendly man who lets me know that Fiona, owner and operator of Metchosin Farm, will be down shortly. I peer into sectioned-off gardens and orchards to an abundance of greenery. To my untrained eye, that can barely distinguish chard from kale, I have absolutely no idea what it is I’m admiring. The farm has a calming quality, with baby ducks clucking around in their pen, chickens squawking my way, and the sound of the breeze gently blowing throughout hay fields and encircling forest. The property is six acres with three greenhouses and a divided home that Fiona and her two boys share with helpers that drop in seasonally to ease her work load. Currently, she has a mother and son from Spain who have great interest in learning about food plants and farming to help tend the gardens. Normally she would be hosting an apprentice for the ten month season, however, due to unforeseen reasons she will be tackling this season essentially on her own. As she comes down to meet me I’m sold within five minutes on her infectiously warm personality (immediately complementing me on my necklace), and easygoing attitude. But it is how she so effortlessly shares her abundance of knowledge on farming, plant physiology, seeding and botany that amazes me. As we wander throughout the garden she points out and picks for me to sample plants such as borage, french sorrel, dinosaur kale, black cap raspberries and perpetual spinach. Fiona explains how through trial and error she discovers which fruits and plants are best suited to grow in our Islands climate. Then, through careful selection of specific qualities (depending on the plant) she brings them to full maturation to harvest the seeds. High end restaurants such as Restaurant Matisse and Sooke Harbour House used to enjoy Fiona’s fresh produce. However, after having two little boys (who are now 7 and 9) she realized that the balancing act of mother and supplier was too much. Ultimately she decided to put her focus on selling the plants that she selectively grew as a way to encourage people on the Island to be part of their own food production. She began her own seed company last year that has grown from selling a total of 500 envelopes in 2012 to selling 800 in February 2013 alone! With quality selection and ensuring that seeds are all dried properly and are stored in a dark a cool place (never a freezer because of condensation) she has a near perfect germination rate. Garden Works (Blenkinsop), Cannor Nursery, Art Knapp and Red Barn have supported Fiona in this new venture by carrying her plants and seeds. To top it off she has also dedicated herself to teaching Environmental Studies at UVic and Ethnobotany at Pacific Rim in Bamfield.Feast of Fields, put on by Farm Folk City Folk (FFCF) and organized by farmer, events coordinator and overall passionate food security advocate Jennifer Freeman, is an annual event of culinary indulgence. Attendees stroll around farm fields while pairing local wine, beer, cider, mead, and spirits with some of the best cuisine offered by Vancouver Island restaurants. Unlike many events that require purchasing additional tickets for food samples, the $95 price tag covers the entire day on the farm. Even though the event (which runs from midday to five) is filled with music and delicious food in a beautiful setting, it also serves a purpose of supporting and celebrating local agriculture and raising money for FFCF. FFCF is a not-for-profit society that helps raise awareness about local and sustainable food systems, while directly giving back to the community through assisting producers, farmers, and protecting farmlands. Recently they have aligned with the Island Chefs Collaborative (ICC) to support projects on the Island, by establishing a zero interest micro-loan lending program for farmers and small scale food producers. This provides local entrepreneurs with a platform to help flourish our local food community. In turn, food security programs and farmers that face the challenge of competing with heavily subsidized produce shipped in from other countries, have assistance to continue working. Every year the hosting farm changes, and it will be interesting to see how Metchosin Farm has evolved since it was host for Feast of Fields in 2000 (then as Sea Bluff Farms before Fiona bought it in 2004). This year’s theme, “Seeding the Next Generation”, was chosen by Freeman as a way to highlight the importance of learning about plant foods in their most basic stage. The theme is a perfect fit for Fiona who also believes that by teaching people how to grow their own food you provide them with vital lessons in sustainable food production. Buying local and organic seeds that have been hand-selected for quality while educating people about the importance of traditional plant knowledge are important ways to challenge international companies that own and patent with Plant Variety Protection (PVP), the majority of the worlds seeds. Held at Metchosin Farm on September 22, Feast of Fields is bound to be an exceptional day to enjoy creatively prepared dishes and an abundance of locally produced drinks – all the while raising funds for Farm Folk City Folk. Indulging in drink and food while connecting with the people that work to provide us with such luxuries has never felt so good. TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE AT Cook Culture: 1317 Blanshard St, The Atrium Building, Victoria or online at Feast of FieldsMetchosin Farm,542 Wootton Rd.,Metchosin (parking off of Witty Beach Rd.) This year, FarmFolk CityFolk is celebrating 20 years of supporting sustainable agriculture and celebrating local food. Feast of FieldsFFCFMetchosinMetchosin Farm SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter Pinterest Written By: Guest Writer We get many people writing guest articles for us, as well as past contributors. This is the Guest ... Read More You may also like Food / Recipes October 25, 2021 Sopa Paella Try the iconic Valencian dish as a hearty fall soup brimming with seafood and chorizo. We were going through a heat wave in Victoria when I ... Read More Food / Recipes October 25, 2021 It’s a Pancake Day! That crisp edge in the fall air stirs up a craving for comfort that sometimes only a stack of hot pancakes can deliver. So get your cast-iron pan ... 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