No, I’m not going on a “diet” in the New Year.
Instead of restricting my foods, I just resolve to eat more local, seasonal produce as part of a healthy regimen.
I also prefer to look back at the year in food and offer a gaze into the near future. I think the best thing that happened on the food scene in 2013 was the long-awaited opening of the Victoria Public Market in the Hudson Building. Congratulations to everyone who was involved in that years-long endeavour. I have heard some people say that, outside of lunchtimes, the market seems empty and mostly a place to have a quick lunch or pick up food to go.
But it’s still early days for the market, which will become even better with the addition of a green grocer and butcher in 2014. Then you’ll have what everyone wants on a daily basis: baked goods, fresh seafood, fresh produce, and meats.
Before Christmas I was there on a Wednesday when the centre aisle was full of day vendors from farms and bakeries and artisan foodstuffs. There was a comforting buzz and vibe and lots and lots of shoppers. That vibe will only increase in the New Year as more vendors become aware of the Public Market as a place to sell their goods during the week, outside of their regular farmers’ market venues.
Also on my radar for 2014 is the creation of the Victoria Community Food Hub.
At the hub, local food artisans can rent facilities at a reasonable rate to help them produce and store their products.
For small producers, purchasing a special piece of equipment to aid their efficiency is quite often out of reach. But if they can rent a bottling machine, or filler, or even have access to a greater number of ovens to bake their products, it can make a huge difference to the success of their enterprise.
The number of agencies contributing to the project, including the Island Chefs’ Collaborative and VanCity, is another reason that 2014 will be a happy year for food in the city