Dear readers: these are strange times. There’s no point in pretending that there’s been any kind of normalcy in the last few months, or that there will be in the near future. Our lives have fractured, normal routines dissolved, and we’ve had new safety procedures put in place. The experience has been different for everyone, but there is one thing in common that we share. We all need to eat.
Luckily for Salt Spring locals, the island is full of incredible working farms that offer their products for sale in the form of farm stands. It’s an ideal way to shop as the majority of these are open air, with no-touch payment options in the form of e-transfer. Clear visibility offers the shopper a chance to see exactly how many people are at the stand, so that social distancing measures can be honored.
Practicality aside, it’s a truly lovely way to stock your pandemic pantry. Shopping becomes a treasure hunt: plot your course, and connect the dots with a drive in your car along quiet country roads. Most of these spots have a gentle soundtrack of barnyard animals rather than the usual soft rock muzak in grocery stores. It’s a small victory to celebrate.
With that in mind, here’s a small sample of some of the most reliable farm stands on the island for you to explore:
North End Farm
2521 N End Rd
Highlights: Sausages, Brats, ground meat, rabbit, chicken, vegetables, bread, eggs. Also stocks Mt. Maxwell Coffee, Salt Spring Pie Co., Salt Spring Island Vinegar, and other local products.
Laughing Apple Farm
900 Beddis Rd
Highlights: House-made apple juice and frozen tomato sauce, eggs, fruit, vegetables, and plant starts.
Mt. Maxwell Coffee
595 Cranberry Rd
Highlights: Coffee, coffee, and more coffee. The farmstand provides a variety of their in-house roasted coffee beans in regular and bulk bags.
Salt Spring Island Cheese Co.
285 Reynolds Rd
Highlights: This working farm has a little cheese shop (and cheese tasting room during normal times) where you can stock up on their many delectable goat milk based rounds. They also carry other cheese accoutrements like crackers, jam, smoked salmon, vinegar, honey, and so on.
Plus, they have a bonus farmstand, with a fridge full of lamb and goat meats from Weston Creek Farm.
You can pay inside the Cheese Shop for those items as well.
230 Furness Road
Highlights: Affectionately dubbed, “The Meat Locker”, this stand has two fridges full of things like ground beef, sausages, and other cuts.
Stowel Lake Farm
190 Reynolds Rd
Highlights: Fresh herbs, vegetables, baked goods, plant starts
At the time of writing, there were many other wonderful stands not yet open. Please also keep an eye on:
Bullock Lake Farm
360 Upper Ganges Rd
*currently has an online flower shop
181 Furness Rd
Golden Tree Farm
Farmstand is at intersection of Suffolk Rd and North End Rd
~Words & Pictures by Stephania Jean