Adventures in Powell River: How to shop, forage, and cook with all locally-grown ingredients
When I first started writing ‘Adventures in Powell River’, I received a flood of suggestions about the adventures Bob and I should do. One of these came from our friend Chris who suggested we “shop the farmers market, pick from your garden, forage, and cook a 100% local meal.”
And then of course, invite Chris for dinner. So we were on board with that, and thought it could turn out to be a big potluck meal but then oh, no! realized our place isn’t the best for big potluck meals. Thinking about other possible locations, we naturally came to the conclusion that none other than Chris and his partner Uli have the ultimate home for entertaining a bunch of hungry people. And then when we were invited to a little birthday get-together for our buddy Kevin, it was like destiny/fate/kismet was hand-delivering us an opportunity to live out Chris’s idea.
And so with that plan in place, Bob and I were tasked with bringing a salad to the birthday dinner. Easy. First stop: the Powell River Farmers Market.
From May to September, the farmers market (aka Powell River Open Air Market) is held out at the Exhibition Fairgrounds every Saturday and Sunday. During the rest of the year, there’s the Winter Market held every Saturday at the Community Resource Centre. There’s loads of handy information (including info on other markets around town) online. Check it out.
Besides the farmers market, Powell River also has a good selection of roadside produce stands. This is where Bob and I like to get our farm-fresh eggs when we can.
And then there’s Sunshine Coast Aquaponics south of town, a relatively new family-run business where organic produce is grown throughout the year in water instead of soil, and live fish (tilapia) provide nutrients to feed the plants. It’s an elegant horticulture system that uses about a tenth of the water as traditional methods.
After touring the fish house and greenhouse with farmer Don and chatting with farmer Gayle, we picked up some prune plums and New Zealand cucumbers before continuing on with our quest for local ingredients.
But first, because we were in the neighbourhood of the Lang Creek Hatchery, we stopped in to see the salmon run.
There were lots of feisty fish trying to make their way upstream and from the amount of bear poop around, I’d say the bears had also been doing some foraging of local ingredients. I’ll spare you a photo of bear poop that’s mostly salmon (much like pâté!) and instead share with you this:
By this time, our salad was coming together quite nicely and we knew what was missing could be found in our own little urban garden. So back home we went to harvest some beets and greens for our warm beet salad.
This is our third year having a veggie garden and we are unabashedly filled with glee every time we go out there and pick something. From blueberries to kale to garlic, it’s been a really good year. We love to just hang out there, checking out what’s budding and what’s ripening. Time often gets away from us.
Like today. Yikes! 3:00, time to get over to Chris and Uli’s where dinner prep was in full swing.
On the menu: chicken from One Tree Farm, prepared two ways: beer-can style and also with a vinegar marinade cooked on an elevated platform. Both so succulent!
Chris also ventured out into their garden for ingredients like summer savory for a brown butter sauce for the chicken.
There were also homemade buns, purple and orange carrots, kale, and baby potatoes. Oh, and of course, birthday cake for Kevin made by Boyster (oyster farmer) Chris.
It was one of those meals that was oh so delicious and healthy, and though not 100% local, pretty darn close, especially if you include the Townsite beer. I’d say, job well done everyone! We tapped into a bunch of local sources for a meal to celebrate Kevin’s birthday and by doing so, celebrated Powell River and its bounty.
Have you ever enjoyed a meal comprised of only locally sourced ingredients? Try it!
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