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Table Talk


Crepes clean up

By Marina Sacht

For  Dina Stuehler her love of  crepes came naturally. Owner and chef at the delightful Ironworks Cafe & Creperie she grew up eating them as part of her Dutch heritage. Every Sunday her mom would make crepes until Dina was old enough to make them for the family.

The restaurant, located in a heritage building on the Esplanade, offers savoury and sweet crepes as well as some of the best coffee around. The large dog-friendly outdoor patio has been spruced up with the addition of several tables and chairs to accompany the picnic tables. Bright table cloths and flower pots add a splash of colour

“It definitely runs deep in our family,” she says as she pours the batter out for a four berry crepe.

I’m having the Spinach & Brie stuffed with artichokes, and my companion is having the breakfast special. We end up sharing them, unable to decide which one we liked better.

What makes them so good is that they are not only made with love and pride but the best ingredients Dina can find.

“We have tweaked our menu items as far as where we are getting our product.” They now have a partnership with Page Point Farm, a fully organic small farm. “This summer they’re going to be giving us lots of fresh berries, and vegetables. We are also getting their organic free range eggs and we’ve noticed a massive difference which I love.”

A little while ago, they switched their flour to True Grain in Cowichan Bay. “All the grains are organic and from Vancouver Island which is wonderful.”

Sourcing local ingredients is important to Dina. “I can’t say I’m 100% local and 100 % organic but we do try to get those items wherever we can.”

Her commitment to local and organic also translates to her caring for the planet.

“When we first opened a year ago, we decided against using any kind of plastic. All of our cups are biodegradable and recyclable.  We recycle. We don’t use single use plastics. But I felt I just wasn’t doing enough.” So they partnered with the Surfrider Foundation, a grassroots non-profit environmental organization that works to protect and preserve the world’s oceans, waves and beaches.

They are in the process of being Surfrider Approved Ocean Friendly restaurant making them the first one located in mid Vancouver island. That means that paper, compostable or reusable straws used in place of plastic straws, tap water is used rather than bottled (still) water, take-away containers are compostable, and a business does not distribute single-use plastic bags to customers.

“But I still felt I wasn’t doing enough so we’re creating the “Green” crepe which is vegetable based.” For every purchase of the green crepe they are donating a percentage to Surfrider so they can continue their effort in cleaning up local beaches. “We are also pledging for every “green” crepe sold to pick up a pound of trash.

“I feel that more and more people realize we need to look after the beautiful nature we have here. We are so lucky.”

Dina and volunteers will meet once a month to honour that promise. And you can bet that cleanup will start with a delicious “green” crepe.

Community in Cider

Here’s something to drink to — the Cowichan Green Community (CGC) and the Valley Cider Company new collaboration is Community In-Cider alcoholic cider. To celebrate the release, CGC and the Valley Cider Company will be hosting a launch party at Small Block Brewery at #203-5301 Chaster Road on June 15th, 2019 from 2 – 8pm.

Community In-Cider stemmed from the efforts of CGC’s FruitSave program and the owner/operators of the Valley Cider Company. FruitSave relies on a community of volunteers to help ensure that fruit grown in Cowichan doesn’t end up rotting on the ground. In 2018, FruitSave volunteers gathered nearly 11,000 lbs. of potentially wasted local, fresh fruit from 47 different properties. A portion of this bounty was pressed into 1,000 litres of raw apple juice that formed the basis for the cider-fermentation process.

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