No matter the nationality, the one common language humanity has is food. 

Food encompasses who we are. Tastes and smells can make us think of our childhood or of home. How and what we eat have a lot to do with who we are. Food is much more than nourishment; it is the vehicle through which we communicate, express our creativity and create memories.

Vancouver Islanders are foodies at heart. There’s something about the cinematic beauty of this island that brings people together around delicious meals crafted by the hard working farmers nestled in the Pacific.

Vancouver Island

To embrace this connectivity, Arbutus is launching a new blog series! Each month we will chat with a Canadian foodie/ food writer. We’ll get their thoughts on nutrition, each province’s unique passion for food, and the importance of eating local. These values are important to us here at Arbutus and the reason we make ready-to-eat dishes with local, non-gmo, and organic products.

To start us off, we spoke to Holly Brooke, Contributor at Eat Magazine. This BC gal has spent time gardening in the Kootenays, and now resides in Victoria working as a substitute teacher.

Holly Brooke Eat Magazine

What makes you passionate about food?

HB: Food is universal. It connects everyone. Food, ultimately, should be a joyous experience. I find talking about it like talking about art. You create something from nothing and it nourishes you in so many ways that it’s exciting to share that passion with people. There’s lot’s of different hands involved in growing, creating, and presenting food.

Do you think people on Vancouver Island are more passionate about food and the products used?

HB: BC residents spend a lot of time outdoors. Health is a big thing in our province. There are a lot of people that like to grow their own food and like to know where their food came from. We have more access to be connected to the growers. Now, people don’t want to only know what they’re eating — they want to know the backstory. People are looking for a connection and they really seem to value knowing who has had a part in creating that particular part.

Why do you think there’s been a shift towards more fresh, local ingredients that are non-gmo, and have no artificial additives or preservatives?

HB: We’ve shifted back towards that. Eating local is just fun! It’s like a little treasure hunt. You can go around knowing — I know where this came from and this and this and this.

It’s really comforting. I feel like I can trust my products. When we hear what people put on labels we take that for face value. When you see the farm and know the area it comes from it feels even more nourishing. I feel like I can taste the difference between products that have been mass-produced with chemicals compared to something that’s organic and local.

Do you think this food trend will continue?

HB: “Yes, it’s sort of an instinct. People want that full experience. When you eat something and you don’t know who grew it or where it came from there’s something missing. People feel a bit empty.”

And a fun one to wrap it up Holly! What is your favourite comfort dish?

HB: Soup! There’s a running joke in my family that I can make soup out of anything. I should seriously write a cookbook, not to toot my own horn but I can make a mean pot of soup — and even vegetarian soup! I put a lot of them on Instagram. For me, that’s comfort food.

french onion soup

Stay tuned for next month’s blog post! If you are interested in being our guest for an upcoming blog send us a message or comment on Facebook or Twitter!