Salt Fall/Winter 2014 - page 22

It’s the ultimate example of the kind of
seasonal food you find at so many Island
restaurants. With organic vegetable farms
dotted across the Saanich Penninsula, chicken,
lamb, and pork raised in nearby Metchosin
and Cowichan Valley, and ocean-wise fish
from the sea, it’s easy to eat local here.
And chefs are quick to point out that their
products are local — but there
is more to it than just a way of
promoting their food. Many
of our local chefs are deeply
committed to supporting
and strengthening the link
between farm and table. Chef
Garrett Schack heads both
the kitchens at Vista 18 in the
Chateau Victoria Hotel and
the Island Chef ’s Collaborative
(see page 21), a group of 50
chefs committed to creating
a sustainable food system on
Vancouver Island.These chefs
are focused on getting the
freshest food on their menus by supporting
local agriculture, and they’ve raised money to
help protect farmland from development and
helped launch a new Food Hub for local food
storage and processing.
“We use at least 10 different farmers at
Vista 18 — they deliver to our door,” he
says, describing the fresh broccoli shoots and
Delicata squash on today’s menu. “We are
fortunate that it is in such close proximity, and
that Victoria consumers believe in supporting
Island products.”
Schack points to Madrona Farm — just
10 minutes from his
downtown Victoria hotel
restaurant — where chefs
source organic vegetables
throughout the seasons.
Protected by The Land
Conservancy’s special
place designation, 27-acre
Madrona Farm produces
105 different crops year
round and is recognized
as a model of sustainable
agriculture.
“We are really blessed
here on the Island — we
can grow food here year
round whether it’s melons and peppers, kale
and squash, or great garlic and apples,” says
Schack. “We’re surrounded by the sea, with
all kinds of great sustainable fisheries. We’re
really in a paradise for food.”
Shopping in the
Comox Valley
At the Comox Valley farmer’s
market in Courtenay you will
find everything you need for
a farm-to-table feast, from
wasabi to wine. Get a smoked
tuna loin from Estevan tuna, a
selection of artisan cheeses
from Natural Pastures, then
pick up a bottle of the yummy
pear wine at Blue Moon
Estate Winery, and have a
picnic on the beach. Or try
the fresh pasta and sauces
from local Prontissima Pasta
for a quick dinner.
“We are really
blessed here on the
Island — we can grow
food here year round
whether it’s melons
and peppers, kale and
squash, or great garlic
and apples ... We’re
really in a paradise
for food.”
—Chef Garrett Schack
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