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Farm to Plate in Chilliwack with The Local Harvest Market
Jul 07, 2015
Pulling into the parking lot at The Local Harvest Market, you are likely to be transported with the smokey smell of the outdoor brick bread oven. Though not overwhelming, you won’t get this experience at your average grocery store or shopping mall but so much more awaits you inside.
Opened in 2013, this flourishing business began as one family’s dream to work together and provide quality food for the community they love, Chilliwack. Teaching themselves to farm, Dan and Helen Oostenbrink, along with their five children, are building a community food system that focuses on sustainable agriculture and symbiotic business relationships.
Anita’s Organic Mill moved under the same roof just after the market opened and Magpies Bakery joined late that year. Curly Kale Catering took over the cafe this past spring and all four businesses are bringing ‘farm to plate’ to reality with the shortest distance between the two.
Stepping into the Local Harvest Market, you realize that you’ve never seen a store quite like this before. Windows into the warehouse greet you and when the storage door is open, acres of farmland are in plain sight.
The market sits on 37 acres of no-spray fields that the Oostenbrinks tend. Almost all of the produce in the market is picked in those very same fields and travels no further than the family can carry them.
Dairy products, teas, and other whole foods not currently produced on the farm are sourced locally with a focus on sustainable businesses.
You’ll likely see Dan and Helen’s five children (aged 7-16) biking through the paths, learning how to carefully pick the vegetables or stealing a few berries for a snack. Their eldest helps out in the Curly Kale Cafe, where the chef, Mike, bases his menu on what is coming in fresh from the fields.
While we were visiting, Mike walked into Anita’s Organic Mill, owned by another local family, to grab some bulk ingredients for a cafe recipe. It’s hard not to be struck by how perfect and rare it is to witness a chef pick up his ingredients on foot. From field to market to delicious cafe plate, much of the food in The Local Harvest Market never even sees the back of a truck.
The market will soon be expanding, with construction of a new building set to begin later this summer and a few more local businesses joining the current crew.
On your Circle Farm Tour visit, we recommend you start with an amazing breakfast at the Curly Kale Cafe, pick up some groceries and fresh sourdough bread in the main market area and grab some organic flour or pancake mix at Anita’s Organic Mill. On the way out, chat with the knowledgable staff, stop by the blueberry u-pick around back or spend some time with the friendly animals in the petting zoo.
The Local Harvest Market’s website includes a self-guided map so you can explore the fields on your own: click for the map.
However you spend your time at The Local Harvest Market, you’ll leave feeling positive about the future of food in Chilliwack.
7697 Lickman Road
Phone: (604) 846-6006
Monday to Saturday
9 AM – 6 PM
Click for links:
Curly Kale Cafe Hours:
Breakfast: 7 AM – 11 AM
Lunch: 11 AM – 5 PM
There are 5 Circle Farm Tours to explore:
Tours are self-guided with road maps and detailed descriptions provided on the website and downloadable brochures.
We can't wait to see what you get up to!