I once heard the Fraser Valley described by Chef Lynn Crawford as a "chef's paradise" because of the sheer bounty of locally produced goods in the region. Located from the foot of the Fraser Mountains just outside of Hope, BC and extending to just south of Vancouver, lush farmland produces everything from berries to corn, grapes for wine, and far more. There is certainly no shortage of fresh, local food that can literally go straight from the farm to your plate. When we first moved here I was so overwhelmed by the sheer number of places you can go that I didn't even know where to start. Over time we've developed some favorites which have become our go to places where the service, selection, and products just can't be beat. If you are visiting the area, they make great stops to have a real taste of the Fraser Valley and you'll likely go home with some delicious new products to try in your kitchen!
Where: Rosedale, BC
Honeyview Farm sells honey produced from their own hives. With a large selection of either honey infused with flavours such as espresso, cinnamon, and ginger garlic or more traditionally flavoured blossom honey, you will have lots to sample and choose from. Learn about how honey is made, shop the little store and pick up honey and honey related products, have a picnic outside, and watch the extremely cool glass enclosed hive. Staff will give you a special light to hunt for the Queen! Can you find her?
Our favourite: you must try the blackberry blossom honey on your morning toast
Locals adore the Lepp Market! Drop in for lunch and have a freshly grilled burger, or pick up some locally produced, farm fresh goods to take with you. With it's selection of specialty groceries and hormone free meats, locals are passionate about coming to the market for real food. Lepp also offers cooking classes and special events for those who want to be more hands on. You can find good selection of in house produced gluten free products, and believe it or not the chicken and pork are raised right on the Lepp farm in Abbotsford! How's that for farm fresh?
Our favourite: The barbequed hamburgers are delicious, made from scratch, and inexpensive. Stop for lunch and sip a coffee while you tweet with the free wifi.You can also follow them on Facebook!
If you love to bake and have a hard time finding specialty flours or pulse products such as French lentils, you've got to make a stop at Anita's Organic Mill. Located beside Highway 1 on Lickman Road just outside of Chilliwack, the factory store is just the place to pick up any specialty flours or grains for your baking.You can find many of Anita's products throughout the Fraser Valley, but for the largest selection the factory store can't be beat. Check out their site for loads of recipes and you can even order the products online.
Our favourite: I used Anita's Oat Flour for these amazing waffles, and it was great. Also Anita's is the only place in town where I could find French Puy lentils.
When we first moved to Chilliwack, Hofstede's was one of the places locals insisted we try first. A family run business, when you shop there you'll quickly get to know the locals! Packed with lots of fresh local produce and specialty European groceries, it's my go-to for anything I can't find in a big box grocery store. You can follow them on Facebook to find out what's new at the market, or drop by for a fresh lunch made entirely from scratch in their coffee shop. The staff are friendly, warm, and always quick to lend a hand if you need it. With a kid who has soy allergies, it really changes my shopping but at Hofstedes they have always been amazing about helping me find what I need or helping me read lables. You can find all kinds of high quality, delicious products here that are hard to get elsewhere.
Our favourite: visiting with Richard, one of the owners and chatting with them on Facebook
If you like cheese, Smit's and Co.w can't be beat. With flavours ranging form plain gouda to stinging nettle or cracked black pepper, you're sure to find one that you love. We love to go and sample the cheeses before we buy! You can also pick up farm fresh eggs (at $3/dozen they really are a steal) or pork products from a local pork farm at the store. The only problem you're going to have going to Smits and Co.w is deciding what flavour of cheese you want to get.
Our favourite: It's cheese. What more could you ask for?!