“FieldTrips” is either a day trip or a few days where I visit food areas of interest which may include farm visits, producers, wineries, restaurants and/or other places that people can visit. This is about offering Vancouver Foodster readers a chance to get out of town and take a “Field Trip” for the day or a few days to explore, learn, taste and experience.
Field Trip to Salt Spring Island with the Honda Clarity
After Honda Canada offered me a 2019 Honda Clarity to test drive, I chose to visit Salt Spring Island as it had been about 8 years since my last visit. This time around I learned the island had the highest number of electric vehicles per capita then anywhere in Canada.
Leaving Vancouver, driving Highway 99 South and then Highway 17 West to take BC Ferries over to the island from Tsawwassen. This sailing took 3 hours (this wasn’t a non-stop sailing as I was travelling in the shoulder season, it stopped at 3 other islands before arriving to Salt Spring Island (during the summer season you can reserve for a direct sailing which is 90 minutes travel time). There is a lot to do once on board the ferry. It is best to make a reservation far in advance if you need to make your way to the island on a specific the day you are planning to travel. During the summer season they offer more ferry sailings, see the BC Ferries schedule for details. Enjoyed a beautiful spring weekend getaway to Salt Spring Island, along with time walking and exploring the area.
Arrived to the beautiful Cottages on Salt Spring which was home for the next few days. Situated on Salt Spring Island, overlooking Bullock Lake, each cottage features two bedrooms, kitchenette, living room, dining room, and three bathrooms.
Our first stop after checking in was Salt Spring Wild Cider where they produce a wide range of different ciders from the original apple along with many more. The tasting room is open daily throughout the year where you can sample the various ciders and enjoy some delicious food which is all gluten-free off the tapas menu. I tried a flight of ciders, my favourites were the plum and wild berry.
From Chef Jordan Reigh’s menu, we tried a selection of dishes including the local Organic Meatballs with a delicious sauce, a Seasonal salad, the delicious Roasted figs stuffed with Brie; along with a couple of desserts, the delicious Rosemary grapefruit pound cake and the Country style rolled oats bar.
In the afternoon we drove over to Foxglove Farm for a tour with Author, Speaker, Farmer Michael Ableman who owns the 120 acre property. He grows all sorts of vegetables and fruits on the farm, as well he has an experimental crop of fruits and vegetables with many different cross breeds. His farm supplies 40 Vancouver and Victoria restaurants, he encourages chefs of restaurants they supply to visit the farm during the year and stay with them.
In the evening we had dinner at Twig & Buoy, where they celebrate the bounty of Salt Spring Island, Chef Roberta, Andy and Chef Matt, have created a wonderful eatery with delicious dishes where the menu changes almost nightly.
Loved the Halibut Fish Collar Wings in a delicious chimichurri sauce with housemade focaccia; along with the Red Wing Farm local Chicken Salad.
Cleverly named, the Winner,Winner Steelhead Dinner was served in a butter herb sauce with chefs vegetables and purple yam; another great dish was the High Cheek Bones Marrow Bone and tender juicy beef cheek.
Chef Roberta knows the pizza game ever so well as she learned from the ground up so to speak creating her own recipe for the crust. We enjoyed the Salt Spring Pizza topped with Red Farm Local lamb, goat cheese, and smoked pickled red onions this was outstanding.
For dessert, Andy torched the Creme Brûlée tableside making for a wonderful ending to a great meal.
The next morning Lawrence and I took a walk down to the dock on the lake to admire the beautiful scenery of the area.
We then headed into Ganges and parked at one of the free EV Charging Stations, plugged in the Honda Clarity and left if for a few hours while we then headed over to the Saturday Market and other activities of the morning. If you have an electric vehicle or just want to know more about what Salt Spring Island has to offer for EV Charging read here.
This is a great resource with the locations of EV Charging stations on Salt Spring island.
We then headed off to the Salt Spring Saturday Market in downtown Ganges to walk and browse the different vendor offerings, we saw Fox Glove Farm, Salt Spring kitchen co and many more.
Afterwards, we visited Mateada for a mid-morning tasting, enjoyed some of their delicious food which is mostly made up of ingredients grown on Salt Spring. Loved the Tomato Cauliflower Soup with cooked local vegetables; also enjoyed the Avocado and smoked salmon toast; and the Charcuterie Platter with salt spring island cheeses, olives, nuts, crackers, local preserves; along with a Yerba Mate latte.
We had Lunch at Barbs Bakery and Bistro which is very a popular eatery with the locals and tourists alike that has been part of the community for over 20 years. Here I had the tasty Fish Tacos salad while Lawrence had the Green Curry bowl; and Jessica had the Budda Bowl.
The Olive Farm which is Canada’s first and only olive farm Farm, it is located towards the Southern end of the island in a micro-climate region, we had tour of the farm with the owners. They have produced a limited supply of their olive oil over the past few years, currently only supplying a handful of the finest restaurants across Canada. They are hoping to be able to increase their production over the next year or two to be able to supply more restaurants.
Located across the way is Garry Oaks Vineyard where we took part in a wine tasting and had a chance to talk to Nalini about their winery and vineyard.
Just up the street is the other vineyard, and we then visited Salt Spring Vineyards talking to Heidi who guided us through a wine tasting. Visitors are encouraged to pick up the various foods sold in the shop along with the wines and are then welcome to picnic on the vineyards grounds.
In the evening we drove South and had dinner at Rock Salt Restaurant here we shared a selection of dishes that included the Baked salt spring island goat cheese, Lois lake salmon fillet with smashed potatoes, Tuk Tuk Bowl with tuna and the Flourless Chocolate Cake.
While I was driving the Honda Clarity over the weekend I learned about some of the unique features of the car. While driving I can enable the HV Mode, this feature charges the electric battery about half away – allowing for greater use of the electric battery. I also liked the outside led lights which are sharp and bright; this car operates with a very smooth drive. Love the lane watch camera system with a side view and rear view camera, both features are useful when changing lanes and reversing. There are 2 USB chargers on either side of the console in the front seat. I like the end result of the mileage I got on the car using the electric battery, and only having to charge it once during the weekend, saved on gas consumption.
Other unique features are the large 8 inch screen front display; as well as the spacious front seats which are comfortable; there is a spacious trunk; along with automatic sensored windshield wipers.
Met up with my friend Patricia who lives on the island for coffee and snacks at Tree House Cafe, a popular eatery in Ganges, here I had an Iced Americano and one of their Granola cookies; while Patricia enjoyed a Fruit & Granola bowl.
A great resource for those looking to buy things or find things on Salt Spring should check out the Salt Spring Exchange here.
Stay tuned for my next Field Trip outside of Vancouver.
By: Richard Wolak
Disclosure: Cottages on Salt Spring provided us with complimentary accommodation, Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce assisted with providing us with complimentary meals and such. Honda Canada provided me with the 2019 Honda Clarity for a week to test drive, and photograph. BC Ferries provided the ferry transportation. As always, all opinions and photos are my own.