Back in May we shared our tips for gardening with kids. With so many Vancouver mamas trying to eat local and choose healthy food, gardening is a great choice. But let’s be honest – not everyone has a green thumb. And in a city like Vancouver, finding time and space to garden can be challenging. Never fear, there are still some great options if you want to eat local. And because we know that you have little ones, these are all kid-friendly!
Here in Vancouver we are fortunate to have a great farmers’ market society that offers fresh, local food in neighbourhoods around the city. From the biggest one at Trout Lake to Kitsilano to Yaletown to Main Street Station and beyond, there are seven markets to choose from and they’re all kicking into high gear right now. You’ll find fresh local fruits and veggies, of course, but also meat, seafood, cheese, prepared goods and a whole lot more. There are often hands-on activities for kids, and food carts in attendance, as well. This is a perfect place to nibble, load up the stroller with food and maybe let your toddler choose a new veggie to try.
The Granville Island Public Market has long been the go-to destination for Vancouverites who want to eat local. You’ll find everything you could possibly want. We suggest starting your visit at the playground to blow off some steam, and then heading to the market to do your shopping. There are lots of places where you can pick up lunch, as well, to keep your little ones happy while you shop.
Eat Local at the Grocery Store
We recently had the opportunity to learn more about Olympic Dairy, which is located in Delta. They source their milk locally as well – we toured the Brandsema Dairy in Abbotsford where their organic milk comes from. Within a day or two of milking the milk is loaded on a truck and driven down the road to Olympic in Delta. After pasteurization and cooling, the milk is turned into yogurt, a process that takes four to five hours. After cooling, the yogurt is shipped to local grocery stores, meaning it can be at your home in your fridge just a few days after milking. This is a way to eat local wherever you shop.
Babies can start yogurt at six to nine months, according to the Canadian Pediatric Society. Many Vancouver mamas opt for organic yogurt, and for two thirds of us who buy organic yogurt that means Olympic. We were wondering what the difference really is, though. On our tour we learned that cows on organic dairy farms have ready access to outdoor pasture, whereas on conventional farms they are increasingly kept indoors all the time. As well, on organic farms cows are fed organic feed. If they receive antibiotics to treat an infection their milk is isolated for 30 days instead of just three. The milk is also tested for quality, including antibiotic residue. There really is a difference!
With summer in high gear, our recommendation for a kid-friendly way to eat local in Vancouver is simple. Stop by your farmers’ market for some local berries, pick up some Olympic yogurt, and enjoy a healthy parfait or a smoothie. Bon appetit!