A Salt Spring Summary

9b8e2-james2bat2bembeJ: Ed and I hit the road (or just the water) for a 24 hour stay over on beautiful Salt Spring Island. We met many wonderful different people from the interesting Dr. Delightments to the downright cranky employee at Morningside Organic Bakery Cafe & Bookstore. And even a horrible motel and heatstroke couldn’t dampen my spirits for exploring the sights and sounds of Ganges.

With luck on our side we landed ashore during the Tuesday market.

E: The timing couldn’t be any better. We arrived late morning and James needed to cool off. Either I can’t take this boy anywhere, or I have to remind him that heavy jackets are not required–except for wandering around late at night when the ocean air really comes in.

We had time to kill before the Farmer’s Market started at 3pm. Although this event pales in comparison to the Saturday one–where there are more vendors–we found an exceptional display of locally grown goods to savour.

James introduced me to Japanese radishes from Foxglove Farm, which I loved, and I can easily see them being added to miso soup. Next time, I’ll have to remember to bring extra money so I can snap them up. According to James, they’re hard to come by on the island, and they’re worth snapping up.

Instead, what I did grab was a bag of Salt Spring Savouries own blend of stinging nettle tea that had very nice soft overtones of mint. At their table were two varieties, mint and chai, being sold in either sampler cups to sip or as packages. After the second sip, I was sold, and I’ll have to order more. I was told that mail order is the best way to go for people who are undecided in what to get. Yes, I’m talking about James.

J: There was still enough local produce to go around like the sweet strawberries from North End Farm, garlic to beat a vampire with from Duck Creek Farm, cheese from Salt Spring Island Cheese Company and the Morning Glory Breakfast Blend I purchased from Vida Grains (formerly Salt Spring Food for Life).

Black Sheep Books (formerly Sabine’s Fine Used Books Ltd.) was a favourite of ours. Ed found himself a paperback and mine was a hardcover titled the World Encyclopedia of Cheese (to be reviewed at a later date) by Juliet Harbutt with recipes by Roz Denny.

E: The next time I’m visiting Salt Spring, I’m coming prepared with proper containers to store the food I buy.

The strawberries offered here were good, but I think the Qualicum Beach ones I had back home are better. I tasted some really ripened ones and they tasted like nectar from Aphrodite’s breasts. Much different from the variety that North End or Galey Farms (from back home) offers.

Every region endows a unique flavour to the food, and for Salt Spring, it’s the proximity to the ocean which makes some of their food products either incredibly large or taste just that extra special.

J: Even on Salt Spring you couldn’t get away from a Thrifty Foods and what makes them so successful is how they differ in decor with each location but many of them retain a community feel. This Thrifty’s, I must remark, had the most mouth-watering looking desert treats in their bakery. The people employed there are doing a fantastic job. It took the will with the strength of He-Man to keep me from prying open my wallet.

Salt Spring Natureworks has this great old-fashioned general store appearance that one could feel at ease in while shopping. The man behind the counter was so likable and provided good service. They even have a membership rewards program.

E: Too bad that most of the local products can only be found when the Tuesday or Saturday markets are in operation. There’s arts and crafts to be found, and more foodie delights to sate an appetite while wandering around Centennial Park. To see what James was after on Weds, before we trudged on home, was amusing.

I wasn’t the one chasing after locally made butter, but to see James race around trying to find something to take home was amusing.

I don’t think he has gotten this much exercise in a long time. And on the ferry ride home, he crashed like a rock. I bring before you exhibit A:

To have a storefront that had all of Salt Spring’s local products will make life easier for those who can’t make it into Ganges on the market days. At least I have my stinging nettle.

J: Ed and I got into some misadventures and took in the sights but sadly we did not stay long enough to find out what night life (if any) Salt Spring has. With the Fulford Harbour Pub closed since my last trip, where do the people go to socialize? Oh sure we saw the churches, the movie theatre (again a church) and what I think was a bowling alley (another church?). But where oh where can guys like Ed and myself meet the maidens of Salt Spring. Because, to be honest, even I don’t find cow-tipping a great first date.

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