A Farm to Table Gala Dinner on Friday, Aug. 16 at the Deep Cove Winery kicks off the annual North Saanich Flavour Trails weekend. Photo by Kelly Schaecher/Mark Taylor

TESS VAN STRAATEN: Take a rural ramble on the North Saanich Flavour Trail

Mid-August celebration of farm-fresh produce, wineries and more promises flavours galore

By Tess van Straaten

Monday Magazine columnist

Sitting on a sun-baked patio in the heart of North Saanich with rolling farmland all around me, I’m sipping a refreshing glass of rosé — aptly named Farmer’s Daughter — at The Roost Vineyard Bistro.

The new rosé is one of Roost’s most popular offerings, along with wood-fire pizzas loaded with tasty topping combinations like wine-poached pears and blue cheese.

Tess van Straaten

“The farms and beverage producers in North Saanich are always pushing the envelope on what can be grown and crafted on the island,” says Roost Farm Centre owner Dallas Bohl.

The Roost, which also has a bakery, sits on 10 acres of farmland where they grow many of the items they serve. It’s one of the stops on the popular North Saanich Flavour Trails Festival, which runs from Aug. 16-18.

“We call it a ‘self-guided rural ramble’ and to me, it’s a very European type of festival,” explains Flavour Trails Festival organizer Jen Rashleigh. “Everyone gets a festival map and you’re invited to travel down country roads visiting the various farms, wineries, breweries, shops or food producers that are tucked away in the landscape, and discover the best-kept secrets that are right in our own backyard.”

This is the 12th year for the festival, which began as a way to showcase the region as a grower’s paradise, and it’s grown to more than 20 stops that are a feast for the senses – all offering something different.

“North Saanich has a community of farmers, chefs, vintners, brewers all doing incredibly innovative work in their niche fields, and on this weekend they open their doors and invite the public to come in and be curious,” Rashleigh says. “It’s a very intimate, personal festival where you get to meet your farmer, take a farm or winery tour, sample food and ask questions. It truly is behind-the-scenes.”

The rural ramble is even more enjoyable by bike, pedaling through the pastoral countryside between stops – not to mention the added benefit of burning off extra calories as you indulge in all the delicious offerings. To encourage more people to cycle this year, there’s a new bike route map and the festival is partnering with Ride the Glide to offer E-bike rentals, which can be pre-booked on the Flavour Trails Festival website.

But however you get there, make sure you’re hungry because this Foodie paradise will not disappoint.

“We’ve got wines produced from local organic Ortega grapes, a special blackberry festival beer from the local berries, just-picked North Saanich cantaloupes which have to be tried to be believed, the now-famous Fickle Fig lunch roast, and vinaigrettes made from local Douglas firs and nasturtium flowers,” says Rashleigh. “It’s a grower’s paradise and the region tends to attract the kind of farmers who are really passionate about what they do.”



editor@mondaymag.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Powerful Russian folk trio makes triumphant return to city

Trio Voronezh back on Victoria stage for first time since appearing at Coupe Mondiale in 2013

Abbamania, Night Fever in spotlight at McPherson in Victoria

ABBA, Bee Gees songs will fill the Mac Feb. 7, along with Lady Gaga tribute

Vic High alumni named Victoria’s new Youth Poet Laureate

Neko Smart, the founder and coach of the Vic High slam poetry team, will serve a one-year term

Dance Victoria: The Trocks are in town!

Dance Days 2020 performance roster includes two powerhouse presentations

Pacific Opera Victoria exec member earns major honour

Yvette Guigueno to attend prestigious OPERA America leadership program this month in New York

Winners announced for inaugural Victoria Arts Council/Monday poetry contest

More than 100 entries received in five categories

Canadian polar bears’ ‘ingenious’ survival seen in BBC Earth series

Film crews also go to Tofino to watch black bears snap up crabs under massive boulders

Spring author’s reading series kicks off early in Sidney

Sidney and Peninsula Literary Society hosting Yasuko Thanh and Carla Funk for Feb. 7 event

The winners of London Drugs’ 2019 Amateur Photographer of the Year contest are…

After more than 26,000 entries, the winners have been selected across Western Canada.

‘How to Train Your Dragon’ filmmaker Dean DeBlois among Canadian Oscar nominees

Multiple Oscar-nominated Canadian talents on Academy Award hopefuls list

Most Read