The sun is out and we can almost taste the local strawberries. While I don’t generally like to wish time away, when local berries are looming, and our peach tree is in bloom, visions of shortcakes dance in my head.
Our patio furniture made an early appearance this year and the chives were a foot tall before I noticed and reunited them with our morning eggs. Fresh greens, early herbs and bud break in wine country have us out of our houses and into the garden. Our local farmers — who don’t actually take the winter off — are gearing up for festivals, markets and harvests.
Out on the Saanich Peninsula at 1780 Mills Road in North Saanich, The Fickle Fig Farm Market has just opened. Mitchell and Chris are the guys behind it, keep an eye on their Facebook page and website theficklefig.ca, for all the things they have planned for this site. You may have already found their farmstand just off Lochside Trail, or seen them at local farmers markets. Everything here is sourced from their farm or other Peninsula farms. All signs point to their becoming a great food destination for Greater Victoria, encompassing all the things we love about local food production, education and the community that develops around it. A full bistro and bakery will be opened by summer with Chef Elizabeth Nyland, local cookbook author and food writer of guiltykitchen.com fame. Fickle’s own Mitchell Morse will be head baker.
Saltchuck Pie Company is the newest food in Rock Bay, so when you’re filling your growlers with fresh craft beer at Driftwood, Hoyne or Moon Under Water, stop in for pies. They make Australian-style savoury pies, with a flaky light crust, filled with local bounty, the menu changes daily. My first was the black bean and mushroom – and I loved it. They’re different than North American style meat pies in almost every way. While I can’t attest to the authenticity, having not yet visited the land of Oz, Saltchuck is sure to become a new favourite, no matter where your mates are from. Find them at 360 Bay St. Watch for the pie truck this summer. Hopefully somewhere near the end of my driveway.
Try it you’ll like it:
• Legend Distilling’s Defender Island Gin, at Cook Street, Vessel and Caddy Bay Liquor Stores. A unique (flame charred rosemary) and fantastic BC gin from a distillery on the Naramata Bench in the Okanagan Valley. Enjoy it with soda and lime, or Phillips Fermentorium tonics. About $35.
• Eggs benny and mimosas for Sunday brunch (served 10 – 2) at Northern Quarter, 1724 Douglas St.
• Axe & Barrel, a new craft brewery and BBQ Brewhous – with a really good veggie burger – in Langford at 2323 Millstream Rd. Check Facebook for hours.
• Bella Sparking Wines, another gem discovered in Naramata. The best tasting room concept I’ve seen so far. Riddling racks used in sparkling wine production fill the room, when you walk in, you’re directed to the back bar to choose your glass from a beautiful array of vintage and new glassware. Find their beautiful small lot sparkling wines at the stores listed above.