Alderlea Farm Veggie Share & Cookies

During last year’s Cowichan Valley Wine & Culinary Festival, I only made it out to one venue because I wasn’t aware how big/exciting/delightful the festival is. That won’t happen again. This year I’m doing a reconnaissance of a few participants to let you all know what there is to look forward to.

This weekend my kid and I paid a visit to one of this year’s Festival participants, Alderlea Farm & Cafe (not to be confused with Alderlea Vineyards, which any attractive, sensible mother-of-two can do.)

Alderlea Farm has two entrances off Glenora Road. Don’t do what I did and take the first entrance. You end up 4×4-ing around a barn (which was neither attractive nor sensible). The second entrance provides you with a picturesque view of Alderlea’s new barn with rolling farmland as the back drop. It’s like an illustration in a child’s storybook.

Katy, the owner, welcomed us with her gorgeous smile and a bowl of homemade soup as we walked though the barn’s double doors. She was on her way to deliver the soup to one of the Cafe’s customers, yet made no rush of making us feel at home. I was told she’s especially friendly with children, which explains the sign next to the hay stack, “Please climb on the hay.”

As my kid mulled over which of the Cafe’s cookies she would enjoy most (organic peanut butter or gluten-free chocolate chip?), Katy explained how their Community Supported Agriculture program works. A whole bunch of Cowichan Valleyans pay Katy, her husband John, and their farm apprentices to grow and harvest a whole bunch of fresh biodynamic vegetables that are ready for the participants to pick up at the farm once a week.

Here are some numbers to chew on:

  • 6 — years they’ve been in business
  • 170 — the number of participants in the program
  • 24 — the number of weeks you get fresh vegetables
  • 3 — your payment options, depending on how many mouths you feed (individual, small family, large family)
  • $17 (ish) — how much it costs per week for a small family

They have a few spots left in the program, and having seen the quality of the carrots, peas, kale, parsley, and lettuces first hand, I’m sure those spots will fill soon. Don’t do what I did and arrive on a full belly. Arrive hungry, ready to be greeted by soup.

To sign up for Alderlea Farm’s weekly newsletter, send an email to johnkaty(at)shaw.ca.

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2 comments

  1. I just wanted to ad my two cents, when it comes to the wonderful experience of visiting Alderlea Farm Cafe.
    Every week I make a journey to Alderlea Farm Cafe with my two young sons. It has become a beautiful weekly ritual of togetherness. Where else can you take your kids for lunch, that they can climb on the hay, walk around and watch the farmers at work, and see people coming to pick up their food grown where you sit and eat? I feel the importance of connecting our children with where their food comes from, giving them a sense of supporting their local farmers, and respecting local food is of utmost importance.
    As we sit around our white table cloth covered table, looking out at the farmland, having our special time together, Katy and one of her children are in the kitchen preparing us our beautiful fresh, organic/biodynamic food and Katy’s husband John is in the fields harvesting the bounty, what more of a soul fulfilling experience can you have when it comes to eating locally and feeling connected to your food? My sons look forward to the single serving pizzas that are made from scratch in their kitchen, and I usually opt for the organic, chicken noodle soup with a homemade bun, I can’t explain how delicious and nourishing this is. Of course some people come by just for a great Americano, and others to pick up their share Vegies, but they all stay to chat for a moment with this beautiful family that share their love for food with so many of us lucky enough to visit their farm. I highly recommend you visit!

    A. Richards
    Duncan, BC

    1. Thanks for your comment Adrienne. I can see how it makes for a great weekly field trip with the kids. And as you say, what a great way to show them where food comes from and how great that can feel. We are so lucky!

      Maeve

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