Did you know that Vancouver has eight weekly farmers’ markets: six in the summer and two in the winter? This fall, we’ve teamed up with Vancouver Farmers Markets to host an Edible Scavenger Hunt in honour of our farmers and food producers.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be highlighting interesting vendors at neighbourhood markets around the city who can help you check off an item on your list (and maybe even win a prize)!
Fast facts about the West End Farmers Market
- Established: 1998 (Vancouver’s second-oldest market)
- Where: 1100 Comox Street (Nelson Park)
- When: Saturdays, 9AM–2PM
- Weekly attendance: 3,500 people
- No. of vendors: 108 per season, 35 each week
- Claims to fame: (1) A park and garden location that’s perfect for lounging and dog-walking; (2) veteran farmers who have been coming to the West End market for a decade; (3) a donation station that benefits the Food and Nutrition Program at the Dr. Peter Centre next door
Meet Delaney and Alisha Zayac from Ice Cap Organics
A regular at the West End, Kitsilano and Nat Bailey markets, Ice Cap Organics sells certified organic produce grown in the Pemberton Valley. The perfect vendor for seeking out a “less-than-perfect” (but equally tasty) veggie for your Edible Scavenger Hunt card!
Q. Tell us a little bit about Ice Cap Organics.
We started Ice Cap Organics in 2009 in the Pemberton Valley. We grow a wide variety of vegetables that are available for sale at farmers markets and through a weekly CSA harvest box. We aim to grow our produce in harmony with our ecosystem and try to have a positive impact in our community.
We don’t use any chemicals and we only use natural amendments. Our farming practices encourage biodiversity and we see a thriving variety of plants, animals and microbial activity in our fields. We feel that when we are done growing here, this land will be more fertile than when we started.
Q. Why is being organic important to you?
Being certified organic means we adhere to the standards set out by the organic community. Our practices are regularly checked and verified, and we are in communication with the organic community all the time. While we aren’t completely isolated from the world around us, we know that our practices are not having a negative environmental impact. Basically, being organic means we grow our produce in an environmentally friendly, socially conscious way.
Q. What made you want to be part of the Vancouver Farmers Markets?
When we were looking into the possibility of starting an organic farm, we were both students at UBC who frequented the Vancouver Farmers Markets. We really enjoyed the high quality of produce and the vibrant, warm community of the markets.
The markets in Vancouver seemed sufficiently busy to create enough demand for our farm, and we felt like we would be happy being a part of that community. Our produce is available at the West End Market and Kitsilano Market every week during spring and summer, and at the Nat Bailey Winter Market well into the winter months.
Q. What kinds of produce will you be selling over the coming weeks?
Right now is a time of abundance. We still have warm summer crops like tomatoes and peppers. As we move into autumn, we start having hardy crops like brussels sprouts, spinach and winter squash. We always have our mainstays like carrots, salad greens, kale, chard, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, onions, beets, radishes and lots more.
Q. What’s your favourite in-season veggie and your favourite way to prepare it?
We just love beets! They are so tasty steamed or roasted.
Q. What’s one fun fact about Ice Cap Organics that most people wouldn’t know?
When we started our farm, Delaney had never even had a garden. It was a steep learning curve!