Jeri and Deb are longtime, dedicated fans of our Sunday winter market at Hastings Park. They shop weekly at the market and spread their love amongst a variety of farms and producers – find out their top picks from their market below in our Q & A!
Hastings Park Winter Market takes place every Sunday, 10am-2pm until April 29 at the PNE. More info on the Hastings Park page.
Chef Haley Parrent of Vega is passionate about fresh, local food, which inspired her to initiate a bi-weekly delivery of the VFM Direct Fresh Box for Vega employees.
Health-conscious Vega staff look forward to their box of fresh greens, fruits, and vegetables assembled for them every other week from local producers like Taves Family Farms, Tsawwassen Farm School, and Earth Apple Organic Farm.
All of the fresh, seasonal produce helps keep healthy workplace eating habits on track, and creates opportunities for sharing great recipes like this one below for Chef Haley’s Wild Mushroom Miso Noodle Bowl.
Looking for a convenient way to bring healthy, local food to your workplace? The Fresh Box is available direct to your office for group delivery on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis, and contains 5-7 fresh, seasonal items sourced from multiple VFM farmers. Check out the Fresh Box page for more details on how to order!
Wild Mushroom Miso Noodle Bowl
by Haley Parrent, CNP
½ large celeriac bulb
½ head cauliflower
2 cups assorted mushrooms
1 head kale
4 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp (or sub 1 tsp for grass-fed butter if not vegan)
2 portions ramen-style noodles (I love Lotus Foods rice varieties)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tbsp white miso paste (to taste)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp black sesame seeds (garnish)
2 sheets toasted nori, cut into strips (garnish)
Hot sauce, chilli oil or chilli flakes (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 420 degrees.
2. Chop the celeriac into small cubes, and cauliflower into small bite sized pieces and toss with olive oil. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until browned around the edges.
3. Cook your noodles according to instructions.
4. Bring 4 cups water to a boil and add in miso paste. Stir with a fork or a whisk to dissolve the paste. Add in sesame oil, and hot sauce, chilli oil or chilli flakes if using them.
5. Heat 1 tsp olive oil or butter in a frying pan, add in minced garlic until it is fragrant. Add in loosely chopped mushrooms and sautee, stirring well until they are soft. Add your chopped kale and the tamari and cook until all the liquid is absorbed and set aside.
6. Time to build your bowl. Divide your noodles into two large bowls, then top with your celeriac cubes, sautéed mushrooms and kale, nori strips, sesame seeds and any other desired toppings, such as sweet corn, kimchi, or scallions.
Each December, VFM staff round up our top picks from the Winter Markets to help make your local holiday gift giving and entertaining a breeze.
Craft spirits, artisanal cheeses, deluxe baked goods, seasonal wreaths and bouquets, specialty food items, and fine craft are just a few of the hundreds of festive ideas on hand at Nat Bailey & Hastings Park Winter Markets this month. So break out those December to do lists and start thinking local for the holidays…
Shiny & New
Bean-to-bar Kasama Chocolate produces a range of artisanal bars and truffles that boast some of the nicest packaging around. Their Spirits of BC truffle collection is top gift pick for Anna Bock, our Assistant Operations Manager. “They’re made with BC craft spirits,” explains Anna Bock, our Assistant Operations Manager. “a great gift for someone you don’t know well, but want to show your appreciation for.”
Kasama Chocolate will be at Nat Bailey on December 16.
Also look for: buttery English Toffee from Blackberry Hill.
Sons of Vancouver Distillery make small batch, barrel aged amarettos that carry notes of apricot, juniper, orange peel, and creamed honey. “They’re so unique,” says Christa Wood, VFM’s office coordinator. “We’ll be using them in my husband’s signature Dark n’ Stormies this Christmas.”
Sons of Vancouver will be at Hastings Park on December 10.
Also look for: a bottle of the newly released Salal Gin from Odd Society Spirits.
The holiday season is a time to relax and let inhibitions go out the window. Ice cream in our morning coffee? Yes, please! Why not try some of the yummy seasonal offerings from Elephant Garden Creamery, like White Choco Christmas and Mont Blanc (it’s made with chestnuts, people!)
Find Elephant Garden at Hastings Park on December 10 & 17
Also look for: handmade ice cream in flavours like Caramel Ribbons and Costa Rican Vanilla from Take a Fancy Sweets & Chocolate.
BCB Honey keep close to 60 million bees in production in British Columbia each year. Their pink ginger honey is the gift of choice this season for our Hastings Park Manager Gabrielle Vacheresse. “I recently bought a jar as a gift to myself,” says Vacheresse. “It’s really yummy on a crusty piece of sourdough toast or in lemon tea.”
BCB Honey will be at Hastings Park on December 10.
Also look for: A jar of the Vancouver Special Honey from Six Legs Good Apiary, produced from their urban hives.
The folks from Rocky Creek Winery in Cowichan Valley, BC produce a great line of red and white wines along with special selections like sparkling, and rosé. Their Wild Blackberry has become their signature, great on it’s own as a rich, port-style wine or mixed into your holiday cocktails.
Find Rocky Creek at Nat Bailey on December 9.
Also look for: the Sparking Finch, a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir from Robin Ridge Winery.
“I don’t like to play favourites, but they make one of the best blondies around,” says Trout Lake Manager Jordan Mehl of Le Bouledogue, one of VFM’s newest bakeries. “I’d definitely lay a plate of them out at your next holiday party.” Along with amazing sweet baked goods, Le Bouledogue also makes a line of specialty jams in flavours like Blueberry Basil.
Find Le Bouledogue at Hastings Park on December 10.
Also look for: sourdough breads, pastries, and crackers from lakehouse foods.
Drunken Chocolatier, who debuted December 3rd at Hastings Park Winter Market, is a top pick this season for Jess Landing, VFM community engagement coordinator. “Their chocolates are incredibly beautiful – they look like paintings, ” says Landing. “Their going to make really great stocking stuffers”.
Catch Drunken Chocolatier at Hastings Park on December 10.
Also look for: limited edition Mulled Wine Chocolates from Coconama.
Doan’s Craft Brewing Co. is one of VFM’s newest breweries, and we think you should check out their BC grown rye based brews like the Rye Porter and house series Little R & R (with rice and rye). With its distinctive illustrated branding, any of their bottles of cans would look great under your tree with a little red bow.
Doan’s will be at Nat Bailey on December 9 and Hastings Park on December 17.
Also look for: the Holiday Gift Set from Persephone Brewing Co., containing a beer glass, toque, and two bottles of beer.
Spruce Goose Chop n’ Block is a brand new vendor at the Winter Markets this season that is bringing some truly exceptional salami to the people of Vancouver. “Any combination of their charcuterie would be a great addition to a holiday platter,” says VFM Operations Manager, Laura Smit. “Especially the porcini salami.”
Find Spruce Goose at Hastings Park on December 10.
Also look for: some grass-fed beef pepperoni from Greendale Meats.
Got a cocktail lover on your list? Put a bottle of Barrelhouse’s Sourback Cocktail Brine in their stocking – perfect for sour caesars and pickletinis.
Barrelhouse Brine will be at Nat Bailey on December 16.
Also look for: Boozewitch Chili Lime Shrub from Gillespie’s Fine Spirits.
Tried & True
“Nancy’s designs are classic – her jewellery is the kind of gift you buy for someone else, but end up keeping for yourself.” says Jen Candela, VFM’s Communication Manager, of Nancy Esworthy Designs. Incorporating unusual materials like deer antler and mammoth ivory mixed with precious metals, wood, and leather, Nancy pieces have a tribal elegance that will please even the most discerning jewellery lover.
Find Nancy Esworthy at Nat Bailey on December 9.
Also look for: hand forged sterling silver jewellery featuring luminous stones and freshwater pearls from Ildiko Jewelry.
“I love the beeswax pyramid candle from von Hardenberg,” says Nat Bailey Manager Randy Elliott. “All of their candles are quality, but that one is such a unique shape for gifting.” Von Hardenberg makes a wide selection of 100% Canadian-sourced beeswax candles, including specialty 5″ tapers that can be used on Christmas trees or for Hanukkah menorahs.
Find von Hardenberg Candles at Nat Bailey on December 16.
Also look for: Valley Gold Bee Co.‘s selection of candles and tealights made of beeswax from their own hives.
The Hive Printing is a Vancouver-based print shop that produces a range of dry goods like t-shirts, tote bags, and tea towels. “My husband loves a unique t-shirt so I always pick up one of the new designs from The Hive,” says Roberta LaQuaglia, VFM Direct Manager. “I particularly like the ones based on local streets and maps.”
The Hive Printing will be at Hasting Park on December 17 and Nat Bailey on December 23.
Also look for: Vancouver Farmers Market branded tees, printed on Bella + Canvas unisex jersey t-shirts and available at the Market Info Tent.
The dried fruits mixes and fruit leathers from Ambercott Acres are a stocking stuffer must. Made from organic fruit grown on their orchards in Cawston, BC, these sugar free fruit leathers come in 10 different flavours like nectarine-apple and pear-apricot.
Find Ambercott Acres at Nat Bailey on December 16 & 23.
Also look for: Klippers Organics Crispy Apple Chips.
Don Asperin creates wood objects that are as beautiful as they are useful. His maple cutting boards, wooden boxes, and small home accents make lasting and practical gifts.
Don Asperin Woodworks will be at Nat Bailey on December 9 & 23.
Also look for: screen-printed wood coasters and wall hangings from The Hive Printing.
The most versatile gift you could buy for a market lover, VFM Market Money never expires and is accepted at all of our locations. Market Money gift certificates in $20 amounts can be purchased at our weekly Nat Bailey and Hastings Park Winter Markets – bundle one with an annual Market Membership for $40, and we’ll throw in a gift Market Tote Bag.
The candied and smoked salmon sticks from Blue Comet Seafoods are a big favourite of VFM Executive Director, Tara McDonald. “They look beautiful on a platter, and nothing says “West Coast Christmas” like smoked salmon,” she says. Along with plenty of smoked options, Blue Comet’s canned salmon makes for pretty great stocking stuffers.
Find Blue Comet Seafoods at Nat Bailey on December 9, 16, & 23 and Hastings Park on December 10 & 17.
Also look for: delicious canned smoked tuna from Estevan Tuna.
Pâté Pastiche creates vegan and gluten-free pâtés in knock out combinations like golden squash and sage, market herb, and forest mushroom. A great alternative to traditional meat-based spreads, these wholesome pâtés are sure to please vegans and non-vegans alike.
Pâté Pastiche will be at Nat Bailey on December 23.
Also look for: Savoury Duck Pâté from Chef Enrick
If you’re looking for traditional holiday baking to impress your guests, make sure to check out Blackberry Hill Bakery at Nat Bailey Winter Market this month. They make everything from mince pies to shortbread, Christmas cakes to rum balls – all you have to do is plate it up for your holiday table.
Blackberry Hill will be at Nat Bailey on December 9, 16 & 23.
Also look for: traditional German stollen from Sweet Thea Cakes.
Dundarave Olive Co. brines, marinates, and stuffs their olives by hand. Incorporating ingredients like manchego cheese, dried apricots, and anchovies, their olive mixes are unique and delicious – a must for your holiday party platter.
Find Dundarave Olive Co. at Nat Bailey on December 16 & 23.
Also look for: classic pickled beets from Anne’s Preserves.
BobAli’s hummus, tapenades, and dips make for a colourful and tasty addition to festive celebrations. Standouts for VFM staff include the Sweet Potato & Chipotle Hummus, and their Beet & Horseradish Tapenade.
Find BobAli at Nat Bailey on December 16 and Hastings Park on December 17.
Also look for: Tempea vegan tempeh pâté.
Lighten up on all those rich, holiday foods with a selection of seasonal fruits and veggies from the Winter Markets. Kiwis are in season, there are still some grapes available, and of course, all of those great storage apples will be around throughout the winter. Check out our In Season page and start planning your holiday grocery lists!
Looking for a particular product or vendor? Find them with our Product Search Tool.
The Winter Markets are open for the holidays on the following dates:
Join us December 23 for a special holiday addition of Nat Bailey Winter Market, featuring visits with Santa, live carolling, kids crafts, and more!
Our friends at Canadian School of Natural Nutrition know a lot about good, healthy food. They run a number of classes and food skills workshops across the year at their Vancouver campus – everything from probiotic foods & beverages to knife & kitchen skills to raw food fundamentals. We asked CSNN’s marketing coordinator Lynne Faires, RHN to share some of her top tips for staying nourished this fall and winter, plus her recipe for a quick and easy Roasted Squash & Apple Soup…
Fall Cooking & Nutrition Tips
by Lynne Faires, RHN
Summer months mean more cooling foods such as fresh fruits, greens and herbs that we enjoy raw with grilled goodies cooked on the outdoor BBQ. Fall and winter make it less appealing to step outside and grill up a fancy dinner. However, that doesn’t mean that you must be without a hearty, warm meal that is exciting!
Know what’s in season in Vancouver
We are so fortunate to live in a climate where food can be grown almost all year round! Before you go shopping at your local farmers market, know what’s in season by checking out the list on their homepage. Plan a few recipes that include in-season foods before heading out the door.
The BBQ has been decommissioned for the next six months and that means that the slow cooker is in! The slow cooker (or crockpot) is my favourite way of cooking for many reasons, but mostly because it is quick and simple to use.
Prep the meal the night before and keep it in your fridge overnight. Pop it on to cook when you leave for work and when you arrive home, you have dinner ready! One-pan roasted meals are also great for a quick and easy meal, that warms up the house at the same time.
Warming Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices not only warm you up, but have many therapeutic health benefits as well. Find recipes that include warming herbs and spices such as black pepper, ginger, cayenne, cinnamon, garlic, cardamom and horseradish to keep you toasty in the colder months.
Root vegetables are available all year round, but are at their peak from fall to spring. They are great to add to soups, stews or roast in the oven to go with your meal as a side dish. Beets, carrots, potatoes, rutabaga, parsnips, turnips, onions, and garlic all have their own nutritional benefits. Together root vegetables are packed full of fibre, vitamin A & C, potassium, and magnesium. They also offer a variety of anti-oxidants and help regulate blood sugar as they are high in complex carbohydrates.
As the days get shorter, so does our exposure to sunlight. We get much of our vitamin D from sunlight or from foods that have been enriched with synthetic versions. Vitamin D is known to help prevent and support brain, muscle, nerve and brain health disorders. At the market you can find a few whole foods that are naturally high in vitamin D. Eggs, fish (salmon, tuna, sardines) and mushrooms are all great sources.
Serve Hearty Meals
Eating fresh foods during the summer is great, but after a rainy day in Vancouver, you and your family most likely will be craving a warm, dense meal. Heat up home-made broth with a variety of root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, squash, rutabaga, onion) for a delicious, quick meal. Add in your choice of meat for a heartier version.
Busy lifestyles make it hard to cook every day. Make things easier on yourself by doubling up on your favorite soup, chili, or stew dish and freeze portions for later.
Easy Roasted Squash & Apple Soup
- 1 medium butternut squash or two smaller squashes such as pumpkin, acorn or kabocha
- 1 medium onion cut in half- skin on
- 1 apple cut in half and seeds removed
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- Optional flavours- add 1 Tbsp curry powder OR add 3-4 leaves of fresh or dried sage
- 1 liter of water or bone broth
- Sea salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Place halved squash on baking sheet cut-side down, with the apple tucked into the hollowed out ‘bell’ where the seeds were. Place onion halves on baking sheet as well
- Roast squash for about 45 min or until it is soft. For hard-shelled squash you need to test the fleshy side to see if it is soft
- Take out of the oven and flip the squash to cut side up to cool
- Once cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into the blender with the halved onion and optional flavours and coconut milk, adding just enough water to blend to desired consistency
- Season with sea salt to taste
- To store, pour into 1 liter jars and refrigerate or freeze (leaving 2” head-space if freezing)
- To serve, garnish with cilantro, fresh cheese, grated apple or fried sage leaves
We’re not sure if it’s the idyllic, tree-lined location or the exciting roster of new vendors on board this season, but we can’t wait for the 3rd season of our Hastings Park Winter Market to open on November 5th.
Along with weekly appearances from popular farm vendors like Klippers Organics, Stein Mt. Farm, Golden West, Crisp Organics, and Cropthorn Farm, some new growers to Hastings Park this season include Abundant Acre Family Farm, Salt & Harrow, Ice Cap Organics, and Snowy Mt. Organics.
Popular Agassiz-based organic dairy The Farm House Natural Cheeses will also be adding dates at Hastings Park this year, along with a weekly spot from Golden Ears Cheesecrafters, who produce a range of grass-fed cheeses and butter.
Vancouver’s only meadery, Humblebee Mead are bringing their unique blend of honey-based libations to the market throughout the winter season. They’ll be joined by Sons of Vancouver Distillery, makers of small batch vodka and amaretto, and award-winning Vancouver Island winery Rocky Creek, who produce a selection of reds, whites, and bubblies.
New food carts at Hastings Park this season include yummy eats from Mandalay Burmese Kitchen, who serve up South Asian/Burmese favourites, and Beiju Foods, Vancouver’s first Brazilian food truck bringing savoury, gluten-free options to the market.
For something on the sweeter side, don’t miss Hella Puffs (Greek-style dessert dumplings), and Elephant Garden Creamery, whose collection of handcrafted ice creams include flavours like Vietnamese coffee, genmaicha matcha, and salted gula melaka (palm sugar).
To fuel your market shop, grab a quality brew from the folks at Kafka’s Coffee on Main St. who will be popping up at the market in their bright blue truck every other week starting January 7th.
Other Hastings Park newbies to look out for this season include yummy baked goods vendor Le Bouledogue; gluten free and paleo friendly offerings from Virtue Natural Bakery; handcrafted ferments from lakehouse foods, natural and nutritious baby food options from Tiny Tummies; a selection of microgreens and sprouts from Nutrigreens, and November appearances from The Sharing Farm, BC’s only non-profit farm that grows food for the Food Bank and community meal programs.