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Vancouver Island foodie destinations you must try

07/18/2015 10:00 EDT | Updated 07/18/2016 05:59 EDT
There's no shortage of delicious, artisan and organic food available on Vancouver Island. 

If you're visiting for the first time, or otherwise having trouble narrowing it down, here are food columnist Anya Levykh's recommendations for every foodie out there. 

1. Tiger Lily Farm in Errington 

You'll find farm-raised turkey, chicken, duck, lamb, pork and eggs on site. Best of all, the animals are all naturally raised, meaning no animal by-product in the grain feed, no antibiotics and no growth hormones. 

This farm offers a full family experience, with pony rides for kids and oodles of baby chicks and turkeys you can pick up and pet.

They'll even teach you how to milk the goats, which need to be milked three times a day, and bottle-feed the baby ones.

2. Island SodaWorks

Situated literally just around the corner from the Tiger Lily Farm, Island SodaWorks sells naturally-fermented, low-sugar carbonated drinks that are made with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Flavours include salal ginger, rose, mixed berry and an old-fashioned tonic.

"These are actually good for you, amazingly," said Levykh.

The fizzy pops are made through the process of lacto-fermentation, where bacteria converts the starches and sugars in the fruits and vegetables into lactic acid, producing bubbles. 

"There's a whole slew of benefits to drinking this," since lacto-fermentation increases the vitamin content of food, aids digestion and adds healthy bacteria to the gut, said Levykh.

While there, you can also indulge in their gluten-free, GMO-free tacos. 

The tacos are made on site from local chicken, handmade sprouted corn tortillas, queso fresco and salsa. They're also known as "20-mile tacos," because that's as far away as the ingredients come from.

3. Little Qualicum Cheeseworks in Parksville 

Levykh recommends the Island Bries, a creamy cheese with mushroom notes, and the Fromage Frais, which spreads beautifully over a croissant in the morning.

All of the cheeses are made on-site, with milk from the Morningstar Farm, where the cheeseworks lives.

"It's beautiful cheese, and nowadays you can find it all over Vancouver as well, which is lovely," said Levykh, who recommends checking your local farmers market. 

You'll also find the Mooberry Winery on site, which makes fruit wines from raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, pears, apples and cranberries.

These are table wines, not dessert wines, and will pair well with anything from pork to seafood to a charred, spicy steak, Levykh said.

4. La Boulange Organic Breads in Qualicum Beach

This local bakery is renowned for its fresh cinnamon buns and frangipani, as well as seasonal galettes and pizza Fridays.

To hear the full interview with Anya Levykh, listen to the audio labelled: Vancouver Island foodie destinations.

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