The Gulf Islands support a large, varied and thriving agricultural sector. The diversity of landscapes and the Mediterranean-like micro-climates enables a wide variety of agriculture to flourish here, from large wineries to small family farms producing such specialties as lavender and artisanal cheeses. Organic farming is an important, and growing, sector as well. Galiano Island's 100 acre Trincomali Farms has been a working farm for more than a century.
The Gulf Islands culture also creates fertile ground for offbeat and original ventures and events. At Salt Spring Island Cheese, guests can meet the farm animals and see how handmade cheese is created. Galiano Island has separate festivals dedicated to the mushroom (Fungus Among Us), nettles (Nettlefest) and wild blackberries (Galiano Blackberry Festival).
Many on the Islands sell direct from the farm gate, at roadside retailers and local farmers markets during the growing season. With the support of consumers and chefs who are dedicated to buying local ingredients whenever possible, farm-to-fork is more than a slogan: it's the way of doing business. Many restaurants serve locally raised produce, seafood and meats in their restaurants, educating diners and the public about the local food movement and the importance of sustainable agriculture.
Fed by growing support for local, sustainable food, the Gulf Islands' flourishing "foodie culture" is also helping to grow the popularity of farmers markets, and nurturing success of small-scale farmers who lovingly produce an astonishing variety of fresh, high quality food. Vegetable stands, cheesemakers and farmers markets all thrive in the area. Time your visit for a Saturday or a weekly market day and you can stock up on produce, crafts and specialty foods at the farmers market.