White-linen Farms

For years, chefs have been getting closer to their ingredients: shopping Saturday markets, having farmers visit their restaurants, and even planting their own kitchen gardens. But chef Brock Windsor inched even closer to the farm when he bought acreage and an inn at Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley. He and his wife started tilling the soil and raising chickens, turkeys, and sheep, as well as serving four-star meals to guests at his Stone Soup Inn. Previously chef at the acclaimed Sooke Harbour House on Vancouver Island, Brock says the reward for him — and diners–is getting to grow specialty ingredients not found everywhere else, like King Edward spinach, wild onions and foraged berries, fresh wasabi, and real heritage carrots. “There’s a story behind every vegetable,” says Brock. Like these: Asparagus harvested same -day is much sweeter, and oxeye daisies, an edible weed, taste like a mix of sorrel and spinach.