Tag Archives: Organic

NEW: Finfolk Nordic Inspired Food In East Van Craft Beer District

11 Apr

FinfolkArtWorkWe had the pleasure of popping in to check out the new Finfolk restaurant in East Van during their recent soft opening.  This is a unique space that we expect will be a happening spot in East Van’s Craft Beer District.  Finfolk has a Nordic inspired menu which was created by Jeff Bobyk, his father Karey Bobyk and their partner and Executive Chef Darren Brown.  If you are unfamiliar with the name, you will remember the food.  Chef Darren Brown has worked in a variety of kitchens including CinCin, Horizon’s and Whistler’s Quattro. So you can expect some unique high quality food but in a casual relaxed setting.

The menu is simple and straight forward, but will be evolving over the coming weeks as they get ready for the official opening in early  May.  Right now the menu includes pizza, one of which is named Hildaland which comes with lamb, potatoes, truffle cream and rosemary (pictured below). They will also be serving fresh Fanny Bay Oysters which will be delivered every Friday along with fresh organic produce from North Arm Farms in Pemberton.  If you wish to nibble, they will have some truly Nordic inspired grazing plates.  Finfolk brines and smokes all their own meats and pickles their own vegetables. As they do it all in-house, you can expect a bit bigger portions than you might find on your average charcuterie plates around town.

Last but not least, the beer! Here they are doing something a little different we like.  There are many more craft breweries popping up in other parts of the Lower Mainland making a name for themselves including the stretch in Port Moody and Four Winds in Delta. Finfolk will be bring a variety of different beers on top from other breweries to East Van. So you don’t have to travel to Port Moody to try Twin Sails beer, you can try it right here in East Van.  We understand the selection will be rotating, so expect it to change.  This is definitely a spot worth checking out. We will be keeping an eye out on their evolving menu as they gear up for their official opening. In the meantime, stop by Friday, Saturday or Sunday 11:00 am to 11:0 pm. They are located at 1600 East Franklin Street, just 1 block North of East Hastings. To check for updates on their update, new menu features, follow them on Instagram.

 

It’s Not The Milk Man, It’s Better! Fresh Bread Delivery By Lakehouse Foods

30 Jan

lakehousefoodsbread2Oh but do I love the smell, taste and texture of fresh quality bread.  Spread butter on a piece of freshly baked bread, aaah it’s like a piece of heaven. It is one of life’s simplest pleasures.  Did you know you can get a weekly delivery of freshly baked bread?  It’s the Neighbourhood Bread Drop being offered by Lakehouse Food at 4 East Van locations. You order and pay for you your bread online and each location has a bread board and canvas totes with your name on it. Every Thursday, Lakehouse Foods delivers their freshly baked bread by bicycle we might add to each of the 4 locations and you just have to go and pick it up.  The current locations are:

Hastings Sunrise
Plenty + Spare Naturals
2168 East Hastings (11am-6pm)

Kensington / Cedar Cottage
Second Nature Home
3565 Commercial St. (12-7pm)

Mount Pleasant
Coco et Olive
3707 Main St. (12pm-5:30pm)

Strathcona
Luppolo Brewing
1123 Venables St. (3-11pm)

For first time customers, they offer 25% off your first month. Use the Promo Code REALBREADISBACK25.   To sign up or learn more, visit Lakehouse Foods. If you are in a location that isn’t serviced, visit their website, they are open to hearing what other locations you’d like to see their Neighbourhood Bread Drop.

Photo Credit: Lakehouse Foods

Workshop: Grow A Great Organic Veggie Garden Saturday May 12th

2 May

BasketofVeggiesThe Italian Cultural Centre is hosting a workshop for aspiring gardeners on Saturday, May 12th.  Shauna MacKinnon will lead this workshop and teach you how to grow a veggie garden using organic practices.   You will learn how to build your soil, what crops to choose, when to plant and how to keep your plants healthy for abundant harvests all season long.  Along with your new found knowledge, you will leave with a primer on healthy soil, a planting calendar and sample seeds.  Cost is $25 per person. All ages are welcome to this workshop and kids under 12 are free. To learn more about Shauna or to register, visit the Italian Cultural Centre. 

Social Enterprise: A Conversation With Elizabeth McKitrick, Second Nature Home

1 May

SecondNatureHomeLocal writer, Maryam Khezrzadeh, recently prepared a feature on the platform, Medium.  Her article was on a local business, Second Nature Home, which is also a social enterprise.  With Maryam’s permission, we have set out her article below. Social enterprises are noble undertakings, but they need to be profitable as well to survive and finding that balance is important and we want to see these businesses succeed.  Without further ado, Maryam’s feature:

People don’t buy from a business just because it is doing something good for the society. So how do social enterprises succeed? How do they compete with the increasingly socially aware big corporations?

Elizabeth McKitrick is the founder of Second Nature Home Boutique, a social enterprise in the Trout Lake/Cedar Cottage neighbourhood in East Vancouver.

One afternoon, a few years ago, I entered the shop for the first time, expecting boutique prices for the boutique quality. But I was surprised! The well-made, beautiful pottery, linens, jewelry, woodwork, self-care and edibles were all priced comparably lower than same or similar items in other stores. What was going on? What a gem, I thought!

I became a regular and the shop became a place not only to refill soap and shampoo bottles, but also to learn about the city, the people who made the products sold at the store and the goings-on around the neighbourhood.

For the second episode of “Ten Minute Conversations”, I invited Elizabeth McKitrick to tell us about the boutique, its social mission and how it survives and thrives in an expensive city such as Vancouver. To listen to an interview with Elizabeth McKitrick, visit Soundcloud.

What is a Social Enterprise?

Most people are confused about what a social enterprise really is. A 2013 survey in UK revealed that only one in five people can correctly identify a social enterprise. Half of the public either thinks that a social enterprise relies on grants and donations to provide support to people (charity), or that the main purpose of a social enterprise is to return profits to individual owners and shareholders (traditional business). None of these definitions capture the essential nature of a social enterprise.

At its core, a social enterprise, has a mission to address specific issues within a society. The enterprise assumes responsibility to change an unjust situation for the better and sometimes even transform whole societies, and it does so by participating in the economy. It is this direct economic activity and the central steering role of a core mission, that marks a social enterprise.

This is how Elizabeth defines it:

A social enterprise is one whose social mission is just as important as their financial mission. So it’s on equal footing; you have to make a profit in order to be in business, but the profits are re-invested back into the business for the benefit of “all involved”.

There are a number of things that fall into the social mission for Second Nature. Elizabeth and her team are aware of the consequences of social isolation, and so they’re committed to make a place that encourages and enhances connectedness; a place where people can come and be known to one another, meet their neighbours and have a conversation.

The enterprise is also committed to promote conversations around the environment and how our ways of living and climate change might be related. Furthermore, the shop has equipped the neighbourhood with a soap refilling system to target plastic waste.

 SNHSoapStation

It is direct economic activity and the central steering role of a social mission, that marks a social enterprise.

The financials do terribly matter though. As we mentioned, people don’t buy from a business just because it is a do-gooder. A small percentage of people give a very high priority to ethical considerations (early adopters), but a significantly larger population, considers the ethics of a business only after everything else (price, quality, availability) is more or less the same. So a social enterprise, like any other business, has to find a way to provide good value.

Good Value: Price, Quality & Intrigue

The shop, purposely tries to keep its pricing low, because it is located in a mixed income neighbourhood. The majority of families and individuals in the neighbourhood, Elizabeth tells us, live on strict budgets. The way Second Nature manages to offer beautiful, local, handmade products at affordable prices, is by partnering with makers who are also in the same situation.

This co-dependent and co-development of makers and buyers, facilitated by a (not-greedy) social enterprise might just offer a fair equilibrium. The makers get all their costs covered and also receive 60% of the profits. The shop receives 40% of the profits. But the margins are moderate, not high. And sometimes even, the shop and the makers strategically decide to cut back on their margins to be able to offer certain valuable products that have longevity to them:

For example we have some linen towels that we bring in that are all ethically sourced, and they are pricy! but we do try to keep the margins down …we are not making 50% or 60% markup on them which we know some other stores are doing! (laughs) … you could use [these towels] for twenty years and wouldn’t have to buy another towel.

Elizabeth McKitrick (center) and Elya Bergen (right) inside Second Nature boutique.

It is not easy work to curate quality goods and maintain good prices. Second Nature invests a lot of time and effort researching and testing the products. It is the shop’s direct alliance with an army of local makers that makes it possible to not only test and filter goods more effectively, but also to offer a very diverse array of products. “And that’s part of the intrigue”, Elizabeth believes, “people come in and go, oh! I’ve never seen anything like this before!”

For Second Nature, though, makers are not just strategic partners:

We also encourage people to go outside … It doesn’t have to go through us. We encourage the expansion of the makers’ influence. We are about promoting artisans and helping them to be solidly supported, so they can continue making beautiful things.

But why is it so important to support local makers?

The Importance of Circular Economy

When you support a local artisan, you’re giving the money into their pocket, so that they can buy other local products. And it’s strengthening the local community in a way that would not ever happen. It’s very organic.

Locally owned businesses in Canada re-circulate 2.6 times more revenue back into the local economy than multi-national chains. It’s not only that local business are more likely to buy local services and products, it’s also that they employ people in the community and support local events, sports teams and charities. So money gets recirculated many times and in many ways within the community invigorating the local economy and making it grow.

Why Local? Infographic from BC Buy Local.

Elizabeth believes that the community’s understanding of this ripple effect has definitely increased in the past few years. “There is a desire to buy local”, she tells us. People are more aware of true costs of producing, consuming and disposal of a product and so are adapting new attitudes towards their purchasing. More people see paying a little more for local products as “investing in the life of another person or another family” and investing in a product that they love and are going to wear, keep and use for a long time. A departure from rapid consumerism.

Reprinted With Permission: Maryam Khezrzadeh

Spring & Summer Markets In East Van 2018

25 Apr

Spring is finally here which means lots of lots of farmer markets starting around East Vancouver. There is always a great selection of  local produce, handmade goods, artisans breads, locally made jams, cheese, free range and organic eggs and of course wineries, breweries as well as spirits.  Each market is unique and offers a little something different. Trout Lake hosted by Vancouver Farmers Market is the largest. The location makes it rather perfect to have a picnic on the spot in the nearby park with your new purchases.  Mount Pleasant Farmers Market which is in Dude Chilling Park is a smaller market, but we love that it’s on a Sunday. The Italian Market is held approximately once a month during the summer months on Friday afternoon in the parking lot in front of the Italian Cultural Centre. It offers a similar selection of goods, but with more emphasis on Italian which includes food trucks and other gourmet food items. The Italian Cultural Centre also has a number of other events going in the summer including art exhibits, live music and/or dancing.  The Main Street Farmers Market is a great afternoon market and perfect for those just leaving downtown for home, or a quick cycle from Mount Pleasant and the Olympic Village. We have set out below the dates when the markets begin and end for the Spring/Summer season. We encourage you to stop by one or all of these markets during the summer season and support local.

Trout Lake Farmers Market
9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Every Saturday: May 5, 2018 – October 20, 2018
Location: Lakewood Drive & E 13th Avenue

Main Street Station Farmers Market
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Every Wednesday: June 6, 2018 – October 3, 2018
Location: 1100 Block Station Street along Thornton Park across from the VIA Rail Station and near the Main St Skytrain Station

Mount Pleasant Farmers Market
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Every Sunday:  May 27, 2018 – October 7, 2018
Location: Guelph Street between 7th & 8th Avenues (on the paved play area between Mt. Pleasant Elementary and Guelph Park/Dude Chilling Park)

Riley Park Farmers Market
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Every Saturday: April 28, 2018 – October 27, 2018
Location: 30th Avenue and Ontario Street

Italian Market
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fridays: June 15, 2018 + July 13, 2018 + August 17, 2018
Location: Italian Cultural Centre – 3075 Slocan Street

Taste of East Van – An Outdoor Long Table Dinner July 21st

4 Jul

LongTableDinner.pngThe Italian Cultural Centre is hosting a delicious outdoor long table dinner on Thursday, July 21st called The Taste of East Van. This evening is a collaboration with Slow Food Vancouver and will showcase local, organic and sustainable produce and cuisine. You will also have an opportunity to learn more about local growers and producers. The evening runs from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Tickets are $45 and are available online or by calling the Italian Cultural Centre between 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at 604.430.3337.

Photo Credit: Italian Cultural Centre

 

Long Table Outdoor Dinner At The Italian Cultural Centre August 26

6 Aug

LongTablePhotosA few years ago, I spent a month travelling around Italy. One of the best meals I had was a long table dinner in a working vineyard in Tuscany. It was a long ornate table set with wine and vin santo (dessert wine) made on site. It was truly one of the most amazing meals I’ve ever had and set in one of the most beautiful places I’ve travelled. The added bonus was meeting and getting to know people from all over the world and hearing about their travels.  Well the Italian Cultural Centre is bringing a bit of that Italian feel of the outdoor long table dinner to East Vancouver. They are hosting a long table dinner which will showcase local, organic and sustainable produce and cuisine. The long table dinner will take place Wednesday, August 26th from 7:00 to 10:00 pm. This event is a collaboration with Slow Food Vancouver and is being billed as an “Urban Farm to Table”. You are invited on a food journey through Vancouver’s urban farms and learn about their sustainability. Tickets are available online or by calling Veronica at the Italian Cultural Centre between 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at 604.430.3337. We look forward to seeing you. This is one event we won’t be missing.

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