Arugula, bison, corn, duck, endive, fennel, grapes, hops, ice cream, kale, leeks, mushrooms, nuts, onions, peppers, quince, raspberry, sausage, tomato, watercress, zucchini. Just a few examples from a to z (well almost) that show the variety of locally grown or produced foods available in Chilliwack.
Agriculture plays an important role in Chilliwack’s history. Blessed with a moderate climate, fertile alluvial soil and a steady supply of water, Chilliwack’s early pioneers quickly discovered the valley offered more than just a route to the 1850’s Gold Rush. With the excellent growing conditions offered in the valley, many of these settlers stayed on to farm.
Over the next one hundred years farming and food production continued to grow in Chilliwack as transportation routes to Vancouver expanded and farmers were able to move their products to the coast – first by paddle wheelers then in 1910 by train, when rail service from New Westminster to Chilliwack was established by the B.C. Electric Railway.
In the last ten years we have witnessed a huge growth in the local food movement. The “one hundred mile diet” made us scratch our heads and really start thinking about where our food was coming from – that plastic covered head of lettuce – how far did it travel before it hit the produce aisle of the grocery store? How is this affecting our climate and what can we do to change our way of shopping and eating? Consumers have become more informed and therefore more savvy when food shopping. And so the concept of buying and eating locally was born – or shall we say, simply re-awakened.
What are the benefits of shopping and eating local?
• Fresher food
• Increased food security – you know where you food came from
• Keeps money in the community
• Supports local farmers and helps protect farmland
• Creates employment
• Reduction in greenhouse gases generated by transporting food long distances
• Deeper connection to farmers and producers
And according to the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture 61,000 people are employed in the agri-food industry and in addition this sector’s revenue was valued at $11.7 billion in 2012.
Although by no means a complete list, a visit to Chilliwack would not be complete without indulging your foodie senses at:
• Canadian Hazelnuts
• Chilliwack River Valley Natural Honey firstname.lastname@example.org
• Farm House Natural Cheese email@example.com
• Happy Days Goat Dairy www.goatcheese.ca
• Honeyview Farms firstname.lastname@example.org
• Magpie Bakery www.magpiebakery.ca
• Smits & Co. Cheese email@example.com
• Valley Sausage
• Verard Pork Farms Ltd. firstname.lastname@example.org
Come for the food – stay for the warm hospitality at the historic Royal Hotel. We are happy to provide information and insight on all things Chilliwack.