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.
How to get there: