From The Culinary Trail – A Salt Spring Island Retreat

A Retrospective in Purple.

The story began over ten years ago, when our dear friend Sandy wanted to start a book club.  She recruited nine girlfriends with different backgrounds and interests.  The majority of the women didn’t know each other, but quickly discovered they had more in common than their love of literature and their connection with Sandy.  All the ladies also had an appetite for great food and wine.  Hence, it was only fitting that the first book was called Eating My Words (by Eve Johnson).  The name stuck as the theme for the book club which meets monthly for a social, home-cooked dinner, and book discussion.  Over 120 meals later, the group has gone through a range of love and lost, joy and sadness, laughter and disagreements, marriages and divorces, births and deaths, successes and disappointments, celebrations and farewells, also great and not so books. Through it all, genuine friendships and sisterly support prevailed.  It is a pleasure to be part of this cheerful circle of clever, courageous and caring women!

Each summer, the Club organizes a weekend retreat. This year, we escaped to Salt Spring Island, the largest and most well known of the Southern Gulf Islands in British Columbia. Our base was the beautiful waterfront cottage of fellow book club member, Nancy.  It was the perfect setting to relax, reflect, read, chat, cook, and drink gin/tonics!  At times, we tore ourselves away from Nancy’s sprawling deck of endless views to explore the island; this included kayaking, blackberry picking, wine and goat cheese tasting, lavender sampling and market shopping. Personally, I think Salt Spring Island is the most interesting of all the Gulf Islands. Like so many people, I’m drawn to it because of its laid back (some would say ‘hippy’) vibe and eclectic mix of markets, organic farms, artist studios, charming villages, wineries, B&Bs, and natural scenery.  If you’ve not visited or heard of this beautiful island, then I would like to give you a better appreciation through photos. For this post, from the culinary trail, I am happy to share a few vignettes of my visit to Salt Spring island.

A most peculiar thing happened when I reviewed my photos after our trip.  I noticed that much of them included objects with a shade of purple.  In my regular life, I do not gravitate to anything purple.  There’s no hint of purple in my home….I don’t even own purple socks!  So, imagine my surprise when purple topics or objects prevailed in my photos.  As one would do on Salt Spring Island, I am going with the flow and have created a mini photo retrospective in purple for you, with a splash of superfoods.  I recently learnt that purple superfoods contain some of the highest levels of antioxidants and polyphenols. Their power comes from the compounds – flavonoids, anthocyanins, and resveratrol.

Salt Spring Island 1 Kake2Kale

Photos above: Nancy showed us her secret lane for picking blackberries.  I think we collected 20 lbs for various dishes and consumed another 10 lbs of berries while picking: )  Mary, the most creative chef in the group, made a gorgeous and delicious pie.  The rest of the berries were artfully used in other ways, including a breakfast parfait. Blackberries are superfoods and high in vitamin C.  They have anti-inflammatory advantages and their polyphenols help to increase antioxidant levels enough to make them potentially beneficial for the cardiovascular system.

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Photos above: Salt Spring Island is a haven for artisan food producers and organic farmers.  One of the highlights of visiting Salt Spring Island, between April and October, is the Saturday outdoor market in Ganges.  It’s a lively event showcasing the best of the Island’s homespun products – from pottery, body care to food.  For me, it’s a dream spot for my photography and superfoods!  There are so many purple superfoods – cauliflower, corn, sweet potatoes, and carrots to name a few.  Pictured here are Dragon Tongue Beans, spring onions, eggplants and kale. Refer to our superfoods page to learn about their potential health benefits.

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Photos above: Chive flowers from Nancy’s garden. Giant barnacle on display at the cottage.  Enjoying the views from the deck. And, lavender from the Sacred Mountain Lavender Farm.

Until our next Eating My Words book club retreat or visit to Salt Spring Island, I leave you with some non-purple impressions (below) of the Saturday market and other experiences on this idyllic island.

Travel Far, Explore More! – {Kale}

P.S. The retreat book was Doris Lessing’s Golden Notebook, which was chosen (2005) by TIME magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels since 1923.  In 2007 Ms Lessing was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Salt Spring Island 5 Kake2KaleSalt Spring Island 4 Kake2Kale