Friday, 18 March 2016

February Fox Fair

After attending the last craft fair in December, enjoying Christmas and welcoming a new year, one finds February rolls in.  I like February in Victoria, it may be chilly and raining, yet there is the promise of Spring when I see all the snowdrops preparing to bloom.  Plus February is the month that my parents celebrated their birthdays, one at the beginning of the month and one at the end of the month. 

February also heralds the first craft sale of  the year.  One that comes after Christmas with enough time to save a bit of money to attend.  On February 13th I was joined by a friend to introduce her to this wonderful fair in the Fernwood Community Centre. 

The first booth we went to was for SaltSpring Kitchen Co. Melanie makes artisan jams and preserves in both sweet and savory offerings. As the name implies, this company is located on beautiful Salt Spring Island, one of the gulf islands of British Columbia.  Like many Salt Spring Island companies, Melanie started selling her products in the Salt Spring Island Market, a wonderful Saturday market well worth the ferry ride from Victoria to attend.  The jams are available in retail outlets around the island, including the Root Cellar and Salt Spring Island Cheese in the Victoria Public Market. 

Melanie was more than happy to allow us to test each flavour.  It was very hard to make a selection.  The Raspberry Habanero Jam had a kick to it at the end, and started to warm my tongue.  This jam is well paired with cream cheeses and is a great replacement to the spicy red pepper jelly I normally pair with cream cheese.  I was leaning towards the sweet jams, trying the Pink Grapefruit & Rhubarb Jam-a-lade, Sour Cherry, Rhubarb & Rosemary Jam and the Blueberry & Basil Jam.  All three jams were delicious, making a choice extremely difficult.  Luckily, Melanie had small jars in groupings of three, one savory grouping and one sweet grouping.  I bought the sweet grouping, which had the
Sour Cherry, Rhubarb & Rosemary Jam, the Blueberry & Basil Jam and the limited edition Winter Wonderjam (it is wonderjam!!!) consisting of strawberries, cranberries, oranges, bourbon and spices.  This jam made the most amazing homemade cashew butter and jam sandwich I've ever had.  Regret that I didn't buy a bigger jar.  I've eaten the other two jams with pancakes, the blueberry basil on a chicken sandwich with baby greens and sprouts and both on crackers with cream cheese.  The jams are not overly sweet and I found I could taste the fruit used rather than the sugar. 

SaltSpring Kitchen Co. has a website for online ordering, what products are available, a list of retailers and a helpful pairings suggestion tab.  Saltspring Kitchen Co.

Moving from the small gathering of vendors upstairs, we went into the main fair area downstairs in the community centre. I met several craft fair goers I've met at other fairs, and it was nice to see familiar faces and people who like me have a passion for supporting artists and buying local. 

I purchased a box of toasted coconut marshmallows from tout de sweet  and a bag of the caramel candy popcorn as a Valentine's Day treat for my man.  I met Jeanette Miller at the Craft Cartel when I purchased marshmallows and popcorn for Christmas stockings.  These sweet treats are gluten free, corn syrup free, nut free and made in a natural old-fashioned way.  The marshmallows are dairy free and I used them to make s'mores with gluten free graham crackers and vegan dark chocolate. These marshmallows make a delicious s'more and a decadent hot chocolate.

I had visits with the talented ladies who design and sew the latest additions to my closet.  Trapper Jane, Toy and Ming, Floating Gold Iceberg.  Angelica had new cowls at Floating Gold Iceberg and I couldn't resist purchasing this gorgeous deep blue cowl.  It looks stunning with the deep royal blue dress I purchased from Trapper Jane.  Floating Gold Iceberg carries comfortable creative clothing, tea towels, wrist warmers, cards and whatever Angelica happens to be creating, in addition to the cowls.   I like the cowls based on the different ways to wear it, from a scarf to a shawl.  I've been wearing this cowl, and the other one I purchased previously, as scarves.  Looking forward to summer and wearing them as shawls over t-shirts and summer dresses.  To shop for the beautiful cowls, and the rest of Angelica's creations, visit her website at Floating Gold Iceberg

I visited Joanne Thompson of Toy and Ming to see what clothing items she has been working on since seeing her at the Craft Cartel.  I have two of Toy and Ming's infinity scarves, a blue plaid and a Japanese fabric two-sided one.  This gives me three infinity scarves to wear with outfits in my closet.  Scarves are an addition to one's closet that complete an outfit, worn with or without a necklace. I didn't find anything to purchase unfortunately.  I did leave with a bouquet of feathered sticks instead, which now sit in a vase on my mantel adding to the outdoor items I continuously bring into our home.  To view Joanne's creative creations visit Ming and Toy

We are very fortunate to have such talented people sharing their creativity.  If you've never been to the February Fox Fair, I recommend marking your calendar for next year.  Usually around the middle of February, Valentine's Day. The event is found on Facebook, like their page for an update on 2017's fair.