Growing Cowichan foodie culture celebrates local ingredients

WatchThe world class wines of the Cowichan Valley may be rivalled only by the abundant and scrumptious food grown and produced in this fertile "Warmland," that this area is also known as. Cowichan Cuisine is becoming a delicious brand and as Skye Ryan reports, its emphasis is on celebrating all things local.

France Bournazel couldn’t wait to get the latest fresh local veggies into her Crofton market Friday.

“Here comes the fresh food for the weekend,” announced Bournazel as she entered Russell Farms Market, which she also owns.

The delivery was just picked, Sourced from crops surrounding the Crofton market. They are abundant this fall, including shiny, ripe tomatoes from Joey and Ron Morgan’s farm, just up the road.

“They are delicious,” said Joey.

“There’s no pesticides, no herbicides and they’re right off the vine.”

“I just cannot say no to that,” said Bournazel.

“I take all my neighbours, anybody that comes here and brings me something, you know I’ll help them.  I’ll take it here before I take anything from anywhere else. It’s almost like 100-mile diet.”

The market is brimming with food from its surrounding valley. From lettuce to corn, and inside, packaged soups, risottos, and baked goods come from Cowichan owned and operated small businesses.

The Mindful Mouthful’s products are made by people with developmental disabilities at Duncan’s Clements Centre.

“And every package that you get, You get a special card of who made it,” said Russell Farms Market’s Jacqueline McQuinn.

Cowichan Cuisine has become a grassroots brand. All thanks to the rich farms and talented chefs and bakers putting this region on the foodie map.

“They call it the warm land,” said chef and owner of The Ainslie, Ian Blom.

“It’s the warmest average temperature in Canada so we can grow pretty much the majority of anything here.”

Cowichan Cuisine is all about celebrating and supporting each other by keeping ingredients as local as they can.

“That’s the most exciting part of working in our community is the bounty of the produce,” said Blom.

Blom and his wife opened Duncan fine dining restaurant a year ago. He says the reception to his local menu has been extraordinary.

“My heart was always here in the Cowichan Valley,” said Blom.

“So I was always going to open my own place here.”


Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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