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Down on the Farm
May 2022 / By: Diana
Celebrating four years this Spring and Island Good days in June, the Island Good brand is growing in recognition and support! With well over 200 businesses onboard, foodies, consumers, retailers, grocers, importers and investors across the Island and BC, throughout Canada and around the world will see products and product packaging marked ‘Island Good’ as a trusted brand.
Due to supply chain and environmental concerns, consumer’s habits are changing, and more than ever they are being mindful, when making purchases.
With business opportunities arising and families looking to have more of a community impact, we are seeing more entrepreneurial farmers adopting the Island Good initiative.
These entrepreneurs continue to innovate, diversity and adapt to bring Island Good products to us. The following is a tour of some of our Island Good farms and their perspectives in these changing times.
Field Five Farm – 2003 Hovey Rd, Saanichton
Field Five Farm Ltd. is a Vancouver Island producer of various barley and wheat varieties supporting both the food & beverage industry here on Vancouver Island. With 6 generations of farming know-how being brought to modern day farming, they’re giving new life to the phrase “field to glass.”
“We love the Island Good initiative; supporting all avenues of local Vancouver Island and Gulf Island businesses and bringing awareness to consumers on where their products, food or beverages come from is so important.” Says Jennifer Michell, owner. “Question your brewers and distillers on where they source their malt. Bringing awareness to all ingredients helps to support the local eco-system. Field Five Farm grows, harvests and custom malts to support the local craft brewery and distillery industry.”
“We’ve seen a timely, and massive shift in consumers driving the accountability of what it truly means to having local product. Whether it is the disruption of supply chain or the pandemic forcing consumers to look to local for their products; the shift has been in the right direction and Five Field Farm couldn’t be happier to be a part of this growing demand!”
It is exciting to watch their collaborations with several local breweries and distilleries; some of whom are also Island Good members such as Beacon Brewing, DeVine Distillery and Sooke Brewing co.
Gobind Farms – 6929 Veyaness Rd, Saanichton
Gobind Farms has produced farm fresh seasonal berries (spring and everbearing) and vegetables for Southern Vancouver Island and its surrounding communities since 1980. Their farm store is open 7 days a week during strawberry season 9:00 am until 6:30 pm. In addition to our fresh produce, enjoy their farm fresh jams, syrups and seasonal baked goods in addition to frozen berries that are great for smoothies.
Gobind Farms is committed to thinking locally but acting globally and is an active participant in the Environmental Farm Program. They are always looking for creative ways to reduce impacts and cultivate sustainable practices, such as using beneficial insects as a primary strategy for IPM (integrated pest management) as an alternative to pesticides. Reducing the distance from farm to table benefits everyone and as such they are looking forward to seeing you at the farm this year or at the various farmers’ markets on the South Island during this growing season.
“Increasing input costs for fertilizer, packaging, and energy present significant challenges for both farmers and consumers. One of the projects we’re currently evaluating and developing is a subscription based fresh produce delivery service, which would be a great option for those who want fresh produce but have challenges getting around.” Said Satnam Dheenshaw, owner.
They look forward to seeing you and your family this season for freshly picked berries and their new fresh local ice cream bar. Contact information and online ordering can be found on our website at www.gobindfarms.com.
Cowichan Station Creamery Ltd. – 4354 Howie Rd, Duncan
Cowichan Station Creamery is a small farm nestled in the Cowichan Station area of the Cowichan Valley. They are a loving home for 18 cows, 1 horse, 2 farmers, a cat and a dog. From the house, to the barn, to the cheese plant, they have built everything themselves using a lot of recycled materials.
They truly feel that kindness makes for a better product. “Kindness to the earth, kindness to the cow, kindness to nature. Our cows live the good life and are often called “spoiled.” They get to roam outside on natural terrain. They get to be indoors when the weather is bad. When they have a baby, they get to keep that baby for months until mom is ready for the calf to be weaned.” Says Henry Rekers, owner.
“We harvest our own hay from local heritage grass and the cheesemaker has been perfecting the cheesemaking process for the past 10 years. The entire process from earth to table has been designed to give the best, healthiest, cleanest product possible.”
“More and more people are interested in local options, but more than that, they want to see reduced harm style of farming. People want transparency and want to know and see for themselves that the animals are treated well.” Our motto is “Taste the difference kindness makes.””
Ladybug’s Mew in Yellow Point – 13095 Prospect Drive, Yellow Point, Ladysmith
Ladybug’s Mew in Yellow Point is a cute and cozy gift shop, farm stand and nursery. Quietly becoming known for their wide variety of unique handcrafted gifts, soaps, jams, seasonal fruit pesticide-free berries (Cascade berries, strawberries, and raspberries), herbs, vegetables and garden nursery.
“Supporting your local small businesses is important as the current world situation is showing us. The Island Good campaign is an excellent initiative by Vancouver Island Economic Alliance
to heighten awareness to shop local and identify who the local producers and makers are on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. With the population explosion on Vancouver Island in the past 7 years, this initiative is assisting small local businesses an avenue to be found.” Says Carolyn Hoare, owner.
Arbutus Meadows, 515 Island Hwy E, Nanoose Bay, BC
Arbutus Meadows is a 120-acre farm nestled in Nanoose Bay, BC. They primarily grow hay for their own livestock and the community, as well as host special events and rent their event buildings.
They raise heritage breeds of animals such as Highland cattle, Olde English Babydoll Sheep and bronze turkeys. They also are home to many chickens, ducks, a variety of geese, peacocks, pot bellied pigs, miniature ponies and donkeys and Nigerian dwarf goats. They grow a beautiful variety of lavender and have used it to make a line of body products. They host a shop where they sell those products as well as home décor and other interesting finds.
“We are looking to develop our farm and create a space for our community to step out of their neighbourhoods and enjoy time on our farm. We want to create beautiful experiences for our neighbours and travelling guests that leave them feeling blessed and refreshed after visiting us.
We really love the Island Good community and would like to immerse ourselves in it more this year. As we are in a new chapter of our business, we haven’t yet had to opportunity to get to know all the artisans, farmers and business owners but look forward to doing that in the coming year.” Says Samantha Bau, Farm Assistant.,
As Bau says “farmers are recognizing consumers is that they are all looking to invest in moments and products that enrich their lives, whether that be a beautiful experience that makes a wonderful memory or a product that is unique, rich in quality and brings them joy. “
Not only are Island farmers important to us in regards to food security, we are also looking to them to deliver quality products, use environmentally friendly farming techniques, deliver food to table experiences and more. Kudos to all our Island farmers for their amazing efforts!
For a full list of Island Good farmers visit www.islandgood.ca.