Local support – from both retailers and consumers – is crucial to the continued viability of Vancouver Island growers and producers. In fact, it’s a key reason why the Saanich Peninsula is home to Canada’s last commercial rose grower.
Eurosa Farms was founded 39 years ago by Hans and Debbie Bulk. Hans’s father had been growing roses in Holland for more than 35 years. Emigrating from Holland, Hans settled first in Ontario before he and Debbie moved west to the Peninsula. Brother Paul soon followed and Eurosa Farms was born.
Building on their success growing roses, greenhouse expansion through the 1990s brought Alstoemerias and Gerberas, in addition to 18 varieties of roses, and today, five acres of greenhouses supply local retailers with cut flowers and beautiful bouquets. Three generations currently work on the farm, including Hans and Debbie’s daughter Nicole and her husband Ryan Worsfold, whose son and daughter have also joined the Eurosa team, Worsfold says.
“We get a lot of support from Island people and that is huge for us. I think a lot of people on Vancouver Island understand they have to support local farmers if they want local farms,” he reflects.
Worsfold also credits the efforts of the local business community and retailers for drawing consumers’ attention to local growers and producers. “If we don’t promote local, people won’t know.”
In turn, Eurosa makes it a priority to support various community groups and nonprofit organizations, including Rotary, United Way, the Canadian Cancer Society and Saanich Peninsula Hospital.
It’s Island Good
Eurosa Farms is one of numerous Vancouver Island producers and growers participating in Island Good, an initiative with four Island grocers to increase consumer awareness of Island-made and Island-grown food products.
The Vancouver Island Economic Alliance pilot project, in all Island Quality Foods, Country Grocer (except for Salt Spring), Thrifty Foods and 49th Parallel grocery stores through August, aims to increase demand for products made and/or grown on the Island.
Shoppers can look for ‘Island Good’ stickers, posters and other signage highlighting these Island products in all store departments.
“We’ve been thrilled with the interest Vancouver Islanders have shown in the Island Good program since it launched and as we come into summer, those opportunities to shop local, source local and eat local will be even greater,” says VIEA President George Hanson. “Shoppers have shown us that identifying Island Good options is important to them and we know that will lead to increased production, more jobs and more production capacity.”
Look for the Island Good tags, enjoy local food and support our local economy: It’s Island Good!