Salt Spring Island has been foodie heaven since the late 1800s. Back then, Hope Bay was the ferry landing for boats that took fresh produce grown on the island to the markets in Vancouver. Salt Spring has always been known for its laid-back vibe. The 60s and 70s never left Salt Spring and there are artists at the Saturday Market that still sell a selection of beautiful tie-dyed shirts. Artisan foods created on the island are so well regarded that the island’s brochure of artist’s studios and workshops include winemakers artisan bakers, cheesemakers and now even a brewery along with painters, sculptors, wood-turners, and weavers. All of these artisans are inspired by the beautiful island, the seas around it, and the casual lifestyle.
The Saturday “Market in the Park” at Centennial Park is the best in the islands, with over a hundred food vendors and artisans selling their food and art products. You can provision your boat at the farmer’s markets and be cooking many unusual meals with fresh seafood, unusual mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, ripe melons, berries, a variety of sprouts…the list goes on. There are artisan bakeries and fresh baked goods are popular at the Ganges Market.
When the market is closed, many sell from their shops and studios around the island, a great reason for a foodie tour of the island, and many items are available at Thrifty Foods in the harbor. Get a map showing artisan studios including the wineries, cheesemakers and other traditional artists. Rent a vehicle, the distances are short and the island is beautiful.
A definite stop should be the Salt Spring Island Cheese Company, toward Fulford Harbour. Set up like a winery, windows on the side of the building allow you to see the cheesemakers making beautiful goat cheeses. You can pet the goats, and then stop in the store to taste 20+ different varieties of cheese they make. Purchase some cheese and bread along with your favorite beverage and sit down at one of the many outdoor tables on the beautiful grounds. Afterwards, treat yourself to a hand-scooped, goat milk gelato.
Salt Spring has wineries and if beer is your preference, stop by one of B.C.’s smallest breweries, Salt Spring Island Ales, where you can purchase their local brew in bottles or growlers. Like seemingly everything else on the island, it is organic and uses locally grown ingredients, including Salt Spring Island grown hops.
The attention and passion for good food extends to the restaurants. The list of great food places goes on when you walk around the town of Ganges.
Salt Spring Island really is Foodie Heaven. There are just too many choices.