Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Brrrr! Winter, is that you?

So last night, after our crazy monsoon/hailstorm (which I didn't actually witness due to being inside a windowless room at work at the time), the clouds cleared up and apparently... apparently, the first dusting of snow arrived on our local mountains.


Or not so great. Temperatures were a chilly 7 degrees Celsius yesterday evening. You know, where you want to snuggle up to the fireplace and wear a big comfy sweater, where you crave beef stew and things of that nature?

It's all very disorienting considering we were basking in summer up until a week ago.

But so it goes.

This morning at quarter to 7, half of Vancouver was encased in fog - the true sign of autumn in Vancouver, although my car thermometer read 6 degrees Celsius this morning. That's not autumn, that's winter!

So be it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Like tears in rain

And so the rainy season has begun. I'm sure it'll only last for a week and then it'll be gloriously sunny again for October, but you know the season's changing when you actually keep your sunroof closed on the drive home, and turn on the heat!

But it's not all bad of course. Downtown Vancouver gets all atmospheric and Blade Runner-like this time of year. And so appropriately, Blade Runner was playing on HDNet tonight. I love that movie so much.

Where did September go?

All things considered, September was a spectacular month. I have high hopes for October, although the immediate forecast is for gloomy, cold rain. Temperatures at 11 Celsius I can do without, but it sure makes a good excuse to wear my wool coats again.

Fall fashion FTW.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Autumn hits Vancouver

So we're a few days into autumn and while the weather's been gloriously sunny (and even hot - 28 degrees Celsius a few days ago), it has definitely cooled down to the 15 Celsius range, and the leaves are starting to change colour and drop from the trees. There's a cool wind blowing today, although it's still spectacular. I don't think it has rained since the Labour day weekend.

Just a quick update - work has been insane for me and I've been doing overtime, so I haven't been updating my blog as I typically would. I have, however, been updating my Twitter and Fourspace accounts.

Weekends have taken me back to the Richmond Night Market, to Section 3, the Elephant and Castle pub and the old Alibi Room out in Gastown. We even managed back on the second weekend of September to do a spontaneous picnic of Nando's chicken and beach fire at Spanish Banks - quite nice! Last weekend did a road trip out to La Conner, Bellingham's Fairhaven, Chuckanut Drive, Deception Pass State Park and Whidbey Island's Coupeville. Will have to post a proper post with photos in the near future, as Washington state's always a great day-trip destination from Vancouver.

And totally random, but today I had a bad craving for Lebanese food so wandered around the block to Nuba Cafe. It's definitely a local fav. Can highly recommend the lamb kofta pita - it's served with fresh mint, lettuce, pickled cabbage, but the lamb kofta is particularly nice and well-spiced. Have it with the hot sauce and you'll be sad you didn't order two!

So craving Lebanese food in Vancouver? Go to Nuba. The Nuba Cafe is on Seymour south of Davie near Yaletown. It's a small space but you can take it to go, which is what I've always done. Healthy, tasty, and a cool local business.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fresh local produce at Richmond Country Farms

I recently purchased a new car which means I can finally now drive on a whim out to the country. This is great timing because early September means that the local farmer's markets are full of local produce, especially fresh stonefruit from the Okanagan Valley. While there are countless farmer's markets in and around Vancouver, my favourite is possibly Richmond Country Farms.

Located on an acreage out at Hwy 99 and Steveston Hwy, Richmond Country Farms has been a childhood tradition of mine. They're not only an onsite farm (where they grow their own vegetables, like corn, cabbage, and squash), but they're also a great supporter of local farms in and around BC. Their store consists of a permanent indoor structure but most of their local produce is sold outside in gigantic wooden crates. And it's precisely right now when I like to visit, because they definitely have the best selection of Okanagan fruit that I've seen.

On Monday after work I quickly drove down Richmond's No 6. Road - a country road full of U-pick blueberry farms - and found myself down at Steveston Highway, and decided to pay Richmond Country Farms a visit.

They had 3 haywagons full of local corn - people digging through all the ears for the nicest pieces. The corn is often a bargain, usually several ears (3? 4? 5?) for $1. Not only that, but the corn is some of the sweetest you'll ever taste.

There were wooden crates of prune plums, crabapples, Macintosh apples, Walla Walla onions, red onions, Gala apples, golden plums, red plums, apricots, nectarines, white peaches, roma tomatoes - all from the Okanagan.

I then noticed these beautifully fragrant crates full of white (more like pale yellow) peppers, but also these deep purple peppers which were grown in Cache Creek. They were so beautiful, I picked some up to make stuffed peppers with.

There were local green beans, jalapenos, field cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, English peas, zucchinis, and some beautiful acorn squash that they grow right on site. An aside - after tasting those green beans with dinner later that day, I doubt I'll be able to buy them from regular grocery stores ever again!

But local cherries? Richmond blueberries? They had it. Eggplants, bittermelon, watermelon, okra, and tunips? Locally-grown herbs, green onions, garlic? They had that too. Not to mention mushrooms, and pearl onions, and crates of things you rarely see, like locally-grown turban squash!

I spent a good half hour browsing through the dozens of wooden crates and picked up 3 shopping bags worth of fruit and vegetables. After taxes it came to $10.80. Ten dollars! How can you go wrong with that? (You can't!) This is certainly a great feeling on the wallet, but knowing you're supporting local farmers and enjoying the best tasting produce in the region, that's possibly the best feeling of all.

Richmond Country Farms is located at 12900 Steveston Highway, immediately east when you get off the Steveston Hwy exit from Hwy 99 (just north of the Massey tunnel). It's open 7 days a week from 9am until 8:30pm from April until December 23.

For more information, visit