I’m sure many of us who live in Prince George have heard variations on the common misconception that we’re a city in the cold tundra of the north, we suffer through wintery weather for half the year, and we couldn’t possibly grow or source our own local food, right? Of course, we locals know this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sure, we live in the northern part of BC (more central, if you want to be picky), and admittedly, it is winter for about six months here (though I wouldn’t say the snow adventurers among us are exactly “suffering”) but despite this, we have an abundance of options for eating locally from our own region. These options help build our community, encourage healthy eating and support our local farmers and providers.
PG Farmer’s Market
The Prince George Farmers’ Market runs downtown Prince George from May to October at two locations (in Native Friendship Centre parking lot and next to the Keg), and happily, year round on 6th Avenue (behind the Keg). I finally visited the market last weekend for the first time this year and was pleased to see that it’s definitely grown. There are tons of vendors with beautiful veggies, fresh baking, a variety of craftwork, the ever-popular fresh bannock and loads more. I was excited to see some special items, like fresh squeezed lemonade and some local restaurants setting up booths to sample their food! My latest favourite, though, has to be the ice cream! Yes, locally made ice cream from Frozen Paddle Ice Creamery. What’s your favourite vendor?
East Line Market
Did you know there’s another community market within easy distance from Prince George? I didn’t until recently. A couple weeks ago, I visited the East Line Market in Willow River for the first time. This market runs on Sundays until October and showcases fresh baking, produce, farm fresh eggs, preserves (I bought some delicious wild strawberry rhubarb jam), locally made crackers (very good – from Willow River Cracker Company!), and more. We wandered around, enjoyed some music, and lunched on hamburgers on sale from the Willow River fire department. I highly recommend you visit this market – it’s quite a nice half hour drive, and you can even take a dip in the river or one of the lakes on the way!
Good Food Box
Want local food in your fridge without the shopping? For several years now, I’ve subscribed to our local Good Food Box program. For the very small fee of $15, I get to pick up two big bags of locally sourced produce once a month. The food is seasonal so it varies, and it’s like Christmas morning when I get my bags and take a peek to see what I’ve gotten! It’s a challenge to the amateur cook in me too, finding and trying new recipes to use the vegetables I otherwise might not have bought. Want to sign up for the Good Food Box? Visit my blog for more info.
Local options at PG restaurants
Over the last few years, I’ve noticed that more and more of our restaurants are also recognizing the importance of sourcing local food and adding those options to their menus. This is by no means a complete list, but some of my favourite restaurants regularly feature local ingredients, including Nancy O’s (specials such as steaks, burgers and sausage dishes, yum!); Twisted Cork (who have their very own rooftop herb garden!); Copper Pig BBQ (check out the Farm-to-Fork Platter); and Cimo (bread, bison and more).
How else do you source local food in Prince George? Keep the conversation going! Find me on Twitter at @jessicaleequinn!