A Sooke man has taken buying local to new heights by preparing a three-course meal made (almost) entirely with Sooke ingredients.
Troy Dignam has lived in Sooke for 11 years and runs the small, secluded wooden farm on his property, where he raises alpacas and chickens and grows vegetables.
When Dignam bought a piece of beef from a friend, he decided to see if he could source a complete meal locally. Some of his friends who were growing agricultural products lacked some ingredients. Then he posted a plea for help on a Facebook group.
“I do a lot of local cooking a lot of the year, but it’s harder to find things at this time of year. I was surprised for this time of year, how much people already had growing in their greenhouses or gardens.
Dignam swapped his hens’ eggs for the ingredients he needed and was soon able to put together a three-course menu.
The meal consisted of a garden salad with homemade blueberry and blackberry vinaigrette, roast beef served with carrot chimichurri, broccoli and greens, locally brewed craft beer and herbal tea to drink and raspberry custard with honey meringues for dessert.
All ingredients were produced in Sooke or Shirley except for sugar, oil and cornstarch.
Dignam said he could have prepared even more dishes if he had had more time, adding that some people offered vegetables he had never even heard of.
The meal is something Dignam hopes to do more often in the future, noting the benefits to his health and the environment.
“When you buy local produce, it’s been picked fresh and ripe. Grocery products don’t taste the same. It does my soul good to know that the animals or plants I eat have been treated well.
Dignam suggested that people who want to eat more local produce could try the subscription boxes that some local farms use, sending in fresh produce each week if they don’t have their gardens to grow.