The Elk Valley’s first year-round locally grown produce shop officially came to life this Tuesday, Dec. 15.
With ‘shop local’ being a buzz word of particular salience throughout the pandemic, the Local Store boasts a range of products from roughly 20 local vendors.
“It’s really challenging to find local food outside the farmers market season,” said Dawn Deydey, Local Store team member.
“Surveys show that people don’t know how to connect with farmers or get in contact with the people who are making the food, so by providing this access point we support the local farmers and producers, and connect them with our community who is so passionate about local produce.”
Striving to remain as local as possible, the shop prioritizes products based on proximity of the producer, with most items coming from in and around the Kootenays.
Products currently available include vinegar and micro greens from Fernie, pretzels from Sparwood, veggies from Creston, eggs from Cranbrook, meat from Jaffray, gluten free pie and pizza crusts from Alberta and more.
While various products will be coming and going depending on the growing season, Local Store coordinator Robyn Peel said that the shop will continue carrying a variety of locally grown products like potatoes, apples and carrots throughout the winter.
According to Deydey, the shop will always be expanding, continually sourcing local products and hoping to add to their list of vendors and suppliers as the enterprise takes off.
“We are looking forward to the community coming to check it out and see all the amazing local products that are available, but also we’re interested to hear from the community about what local products they’re looking for and they’re interested in seeing in the store,” said Deydey.
Peel thanked the volunteers who worked tirelessly to help the space come together in a matter of days.
“Everyone has just come together and supported us, that’s another key part is that this is volunteer run, and it is volunteers who have been able to bring this to life,” said Peel
Located in Fernie’s downtown, the Local Store – which is overseen by Wildsight Elk Valley – is currently open Tuesday to Friday from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For more information about the Local Store, head to Wildsight Elk Valley website.