With most of BC is being asked to stick close this year, we have put together a group of great local suppliers to make your holiday season special. From indulgent dining to seasonal decor to having the freezer stocked and ready for anything. All three local suppliers have a common thread. All the business began as initiatives to make the community better.
When a Folia grazing box shows up at your door, the day just gets better. The elegant and delicious offerings of Lucy Ana Van Egmond are the perfect way to make a cozy night in all the more special.
“Grazing is a relaxed style of catering,” said Van Egmond. “There is a variety of meats and cheeses and other food on display and you can eat as you enjoy your evening.”
As a busy parent, Van Egmond started Folia with fellow Lynn Valley local Robin Shore [they have since gone their separate ways] after successful fundraising evenings for Upper Lynn Elementary. The business has grown and evolved to include Folia’s amazing grazing boxes and pop-up picnics.
“We have our grazing platters that can be for individuals or small family gatherings,” said Van Egmond. “Or I can come into a business and set up a grazing table. No longer can you have a big party, but we can help you celebrate in a more relaxed way over an afternoon or an evening where people pop in to get a few bites now and then.”
A full events company, Folia offers stunning picnics with everything from flowers to decor all displayed on low tables with warm rugs and comfy cushions. For the holidays, Van Egmond is offering her own family traditions.
“Every Christmas I would take my kids up to Seymour to play in the snow,” she said. “They loved the hot chocolate and fondue.”
That pop-up winter picnic will make this unusual covid holiday season a bit more special, she said. She will also be adding fondue options to her grazing offerings. In addition to the meat and cheese-based boxes, she has options for brunch, dessert as well as vegan and vegetarian boxes.
“I can accommodate any dietary needs,” said Van Egmond.
“I try to keep it as local as I can – we have some amazing local cheeses. I am a local business and I try to support local whenever I can. I have formed relationships with local bakeries and suppliers. I try to be as green as possible – most items are compostable and everything in the grazing boxes is edible – the flowers are edible. It is seasonal and done at the last minute so it is fresh and there is little food waste.
Folia is taking its holiday bookings now and Van Egmond recommends putting orders in as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. She has some offerings available on her website but Van Egmond is also open to unique requests.
When Lynn Valleys Racheal Klausen planted her garden this year the plan was to grow her own plants for floral arrangements. It kicked off a year of planning, learning and making people smile.
“I started with a self-serve flower cart,” said Klausen, whose business at the time was called Bird of Botanicals. “I saw this could be successful and it pushed me to expand.”
The growing season had a lot going on – for both the plants and Klausen – even with her background as a professional gardener.
“I have learned a lot. It’s a passion for me so I constantly am learning and reading up to expand my understanding,” she said. “I also had a lot of failures – plants I hoped would work didn’t have quite the right soil or didn’t have enough sunlight in my yard. It was a small start and a successful one.”
Now working as Local Flora she is expanding her contacts with other local cut flower growers and doubling down on her commitment to be sustainable.
“I only use flowers from BC,” she said. “There are no plastics in my arrangements, everything is compostable.”
She has even made use of the local community. This fall Klausen used local Facebook gardening groups to procure flowers and grasses for drying and evergreen items, offering completed arrangements in trade.
“For the winter season I am putting together some wreaths as well as mixed bunches of local evergreens with a frame so you can do a sort of DIY wreath if you want,” said Klausen. “I also do custom work, people can connect through my website to order garlands or centrepieces.”
Local Flora’s winter offerings will go live Nov. 12. Klausen works on a preorder system, offering pick up or delivery at the end of the week.
Born from a desire to help local schools and sports team’s Lynn Valley’s Sisodraker family started a business hoping to help Argyle Secondary’s girls’ soccer team score an international tournament. Selling samosas helped get the students to Hawaii – where they won! – and had the family permanently launch Samosa Fundraising Company.
“We said to ourselves ‘Hey, this serves a community need.’ We could help students get a reasonable return on their time selling and it was an easy program for schools and teams to organize,” said Vibha Sisodraker.
Since 2019 they have helped numerous local schools and teams.
“We know that students are so talented but sometimes parents can’t afford the extra fee,” said Sisodraker. “This program can help them do that.”
The family also realized that the fundraising program had created new customers who were interested in continuing to purchase their locally made food products.
“An organization isn’t going to run fundraisers one after another,” said Sisodraker. “We wanted people to be able to get our samosas and we wanted to continue to support the community. We wanted to support a charity we have used as a family. Our daughter Ria was born at Lion’s Gate Hospital and during covid, we want to support essential workers. Ordering through our site supports LGH.”
All of Samosa Fundraising Company’s products come frozen – the perfect pantry staple. The line of food products has recently expanded to include more diverse family favourites like chicken cordon blue and shrimp. The warming spices of Indian food are a partner to the holidays, said Sisodraker.
“This is the season of chai [tea],” added husband Dharmesh. “It’s a warm soothing type of drink.”
“Indian families always have samosa and chai,” said Sisodraker.
“Many cultures have a pastry with filling – a spring roll is basically a samosa, a Jamaican patty,” said Sisodraker. “Samosas are a great way to dip your toe into Indian comfort foods. Ours are ‘medium’ spicy – we think they are for just about everyone. My favourite is the potato and pea.”
For those new to Indian flavours but wanting to learn more, the family has put together baskets of spices – the perfect pairing with Sisodraker’s new cookbook: The Flavourful Indian – Recipes from My Kitchen. The basket with the book and spices would make a great local gift for any foodie.
Available through local groups and schools doing fundraisers or directly from the website, these local foods offer easy meals and a dash of community support.