The New Normal—Reflections and Stories from the EAT Family—Looking Forward by Ben Cram and Terra Ogawa

As the world shifts and changes below our feet right now, EAT thought it might be a good time to check in with our contributors and see how they are dealing with daily life in this new reality. This is a temporary stage in the world timeline, we realize, but one few of us will forget. With that in mind, read on for the seventh story in our series.


Looking Forward

by Ben Cram and Terra Ogawa

We still get up at the crack of dawn to roast coffee and run our roastery, Fernwood Coffee.  When not at work, we’re spending a lot of time hiking Mount Doug and are actually enjoying home-schooling our kids and maintaining a bit of a routine. We’re taking advantage of the downtime for some major maintenance projects that would have been near impossible to organize without an extended closure.

We walk our neighbourhood and check on the closed shops. These walks give us a chance to catch up with neighbours and leave random acts of coffee on doorsteps. And who knew, our kids enjoy doing online workouts with us from Limitless and yoga from Tracey Noseworthy.

Of course, we’re cooking a ton at home.  We now have the luxury of time to take all the slow steps to create some of our favourite recipes like Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles French Onion Soup which requires slab bacon (we used some from Slaters Meats ) chicken stock (from free-range chickens from Farm and Field ) and fresh-baked bread (baked with locally milled Nootka Rose flour dropped off by WildFire Bakery) and David Chang’s Chinese Chicken Soup our cheat ramen recipe served with onsen eggs from Lockwood Farms.

Hiding out in our greenhouse, having zoom cocktail parties and enjoying Sheringham Gin with soda is an escape (literally!). We’ve also discovered the Esquimalt Wine Company’s Vermouth and Bar Venner’s wine club delivery service.

We always knew it, but this crisis brought to the forefront what a small, close-knit community Victoria is. When our cafes, Little June and Parsonage Cafe, were forced to close, it reminded us that we love this business. The messages of support and well wishes we have received tell us how important a community cafe is to the neighbourhood. It’s truly humbling to know that our little shops mean so much to so many different people. We’ve also realized how easy it is to keep our money in the local economy—Victoria has so much to offer! Trade culture is strong in Victoria, and fresh coffee has great barter value; trades for food, drink, and other local goods are ongoing on a daily basis.

We are coping with a lot of hope and a lot of Sheringham Gin.  And coming to the realization that we have the ability to pivot and adapt and, hopefully, come out stronger and clearer on the other side.

Our biggest takeaway from all this is that it’s possible to slow down and take a bit of extra time to appreciate the little things that we usually take for granted. As we sit in our closed cafe with papered windows, all we hear is the hum of coolers and the odd click of a compressor kicking in. We are looking forward to the other sounds that are missing—the hustle and bustle, the “behind you” from a regular sneaking behind the bar to refill a coffee,  the sound of milk steaming and grinders going…we know those welcome sounds will be back soon.


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