The Eat Here Now Victoria Harvest Food Festival at Spirit Square came and went last month, and in my brief time there, I found a dozen restaurants offering some delicious tastes. The Canoe Club stole the show with their octopus kabobs and the Island Chefs’ Collaborative salmon and wild mushroom fare was enough to sate my appetite for the early afternoon.
I had a few other tastes, but none of them really stood out except for these two. At the ICC table were various kinds of fungi, and part of me was disappointed in that I wasn’t able to sample the cauliflower mushrooms—a rarity which is tough to find even in Red Cellar Market. There was some being bbqed up, but timing is everything. I had a morel mushroom, which was a taste I was already familiar with.
But there is more to this event than sampling food. There were fresh products to be bought as well. While most of the farm vendors were cash only, I did manage to find some nicely baked ciabatta and made kale chips for $4 each. To really appreciate this event would have meant me being here for more than two hours. I had other obligations that day, so I did my best to show up early and watched the crowds quickly come in.
After talking to Philippe Lucas, organizer of the Victoria Downtown Public Market Society, their best estimate of how many Victorians attended went beyond the 10,000 mark. That’s super impressive for their second outing, and their market side did very well. I was told that there were at least 25 farmers present, and for the VDPMS, they are well on their way to establishing a permanent market. Until that gets established, the Winter Farmer’s Market will take place on the first and third Saturday of every month, from 11am to 3pm, at Market Square. It will start in November and run through to March. More information can be found at the VDPMS website.