Blazing a new trail full of flavour

Flavour Trails on the Saanich Peninsula are getting longer and longer

Flavour Trails on the Saanich Peninsula are getting longer and longer.

To reach their end, you may have to travel further afield — thanks to the efforts of the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable (CRFAIR). This organization has taken on the North Saanich Flavour Trail (NSFT) this year, with support from the District of North Saanich, which had run the event for years.

This year’s NSFT runs Aug. 23 to 25 with a new lineup of events and plenty of farm favourites.

Robert Thompson is the Flavour Trails co-ordinator and has 15 years of experience working with the local farming community, producing the Farm Fresh Guide and managing the Peninsula Country Market.He said he is overseeing the expansion of the Flavour Trail idea, while the NSFT is being run by CRFAIR, under Linda Geggie.

“The overall vision is to expand the Flavour Trail idea,” Thompson said. “We want to create a brand for food and agriculture on the Saanich Peninsula — a unified approach for it.”

Thompson said the challenge on the Peninsula is to focus on local food and local production, making sure sellers and agricultural groups are moving in a single direction.

“Overall, we are looking to pull things together and promote events that others are already doing, not to organize new events,” he explained.

New and existing events — such as a Wine and Words literary event, Chef survival Challenge and the Saanich Peninsula Harvest Feast —  are being caught up in a marketing net with the creation of Flavour Trails as a marketing hook.

What Thompson hopes this will do is help the people on local farms realize some added value to their work and maintain their operations throughout the year.

“This isn’t a new idea for the Peninsula,”Thompson said, “but it’s just never happened. Things are coming together more and more.”

Thompson gives credit to the District of North Saanich for being the ones to create a broader-based event, one that will be the anchor event each year. It remains as a single event and the foundation of more to come.

Over the long-term, Thompson said they hope other local governments, businesses and other organizations will get on board and lend their support.

“We’re working to promote and bridge the events with local agriculture and food in the larger Saanich Peninsula area.”

What people can expect along the North Saanich and future Flavour Trails, he continued, is a raised awareness of local food production and what people are doing on the land.

The North Saanich Flavour Trail offers a variety of specific events and a self-guided tour of farms and markets. Visit www.FlavourTrails.com for a full brochure and more information.