Love local, win big: It’s the third annual We ♥ Local awards! – We Heart Local BC

Love local, win big: It’s the third annual We ♥ Local awards!

It’s a good life: we talk to farmer Greg Norton about the Environmental Farm Plan
July 16, 2015
Live Local: Meet the 2015 We Heart Local Awards Winners
September 22, 2015
It’s a good life: we talk to farmer Greg Norton about the Environmental Farm Plan
July 16, 2015
Live Local: Meet the 2015 We Heart Local Awards Winners
September 22, 2015

Get ready to show your favourites a little love: it’s time for the third annual We Local Awards! For the last three years, the people’s choice awards have highlighted the most popular food and agriculture businesses across the province. Your vote not only helps spread the word about locals doing great things, it shows producers how loved they are by their communities. “Being voted Favourite Local Farmers’ Market in 2014 was an honour that showed how valued our market is by our community, “ says Randall Stasiuk, President, Prince George Farmers’ Market. “Plus, being nominated helped us attract more shoppers to the market. We are so excited to see the list of nominees and winners this year!” Come August 17th, the We ♥ Local Awards will be open to all British Columbians to nominate their local BC favourites. To get you inspired, we asked our favourite local ambassadors to tell us who they’d nominate (and we’ve included their social info so that you can give them a little local love too!). Meet this year’s 15 awards categories and your local ambassadors below.

  • Favourite Local Farmers’ Market: Zach Berman (The Juice Truck) says, “My favourite farmers market is the Trout Lake Market.” Connect with Zach on Twitter.
  • Favourite Store to Buy Local: The Vancouver Sun’s award-winning Food, Science & Sustainability Reporter Randy Shore nominates “Urban Digs Farm – they sell meats, fruit, vegetables, preserves, eggs and there are pigs, goats and chickens on site. They also operate their own custom butcher shop in Marpole and do smokehouse items.” Follow Randy on Twitter.
  • Favourite Local Meat or Poultry Supplier: Mark Brand says, “My favorite local meat supplier is Two Rivers.” Ask Mark about it on Twitter.
  • Favourite Local Seafood Supplier: Ambassador Kevin Huang (Co-founder of  hua foundation) says, “The Fish Counter. Mike and Rob work directly with producers to provide the best local, sustainable, seafood to Vancouverites – and their fish & chips is something special.” Find out more from Kevin’s Instagram or follow hua foundation on Twitter.
  • Favourite Local Cheese Maker: Farmhouse Cheeses in Agassiz is my favourite by far.” proclaims 4 Seasons’ Chef Ned Bell. Connect with Ned Bell on Twitter.
  • Favourite Sweet Treat: Blogger Mijune Pak (Follow Me Foodie) says, “Thomas Haas.” (Click on him and you’ll see why!) Connect with Mijune on Instagram or Twitter.
  • Favourite Local Advocate: Lori Pike-Raffan from Township 7 Vineyards & Winery suggests “Debbra Mikaelsen, the editor of Edible Vancouver Magazine.” Follow Lori on Facebook.
  • Favourite Local Winery: Ambassador Andrea Potter (Founder of Rooted Nutrition, Certified Chef, Registered Holistic Nutritionist) says, “My favourite local winery is Summerhill Pyramid Winery. They use organic and bio-dynamic practices.” Find out more from Andrea  on Twitter.
  • Favourite Local Brewery: David Robertson (The Dirty Apron) says, “My favourite local brewery is 33 Acres.” Connect with David  on Instagram.
  • Favourite Local Food Truck: Sandra Oldfield (CEO/President of Tinhorn Creek Vineyards) says, “My favourite local food truck is Thai on the Fly.”  Connect with Sandra and follow Tinhorn on Twitter.
  • Favourite Local U-Pick: Food writer and author Jennifer Schell suggests “Meadow Vista Artisan Farm Winery in South East Kelowna!” Follow her on Facebook or Twitter, and find out more about her here.
  • Favourite Local Orchard: “I live in Abbotsford so my favourite orchard is Taves Family Farms.” says BC Chicken advocate Cheryl Davie. “Their u-pick apples are so fresh and delicious. There is so much family fun at Taves Family Farms, we make it a day outing!” Connect with Cheryl on Twitter.
  • Favourite Local Restaurant or Chef: Vancouver Farmers’ Markets Operations Manager Roberta Laquaglia says, “My favourite local chef is Rob Belcham of Campagnolo” Connect to Roberta on Twitter or Facebook.
  • Favourite Local Florist: Blogger Jennifer Pallian (aka Foodess) tells us, “My favourite local florist is The Flower Factory on Main!” Double tap with Jennifer on Instagram.
  • Favourite Local Greenhouse or Veggie Grower: Chef David Hawksworth says, “North Arm Farm from Pemberton.” Connect with Hawksworth on Twitter.

Ready to spread the local love? Here’s how the contest works: British Columbians can nominate their local favourites beginning on August 17 through to September 6. Then, voting is open from September 7th to September 14th, 2015. Anyone living in BC can vote for their favourite nominees in the 15 delicious categories listed above by visiting Everyone’s a potential winner: nominating and voting for your local BC favourites also enters you in a weekly draw for a chance to win one of four $100 gift cards to your local BC VQA store. Plus, you’ll be automatically entered in the Grand Prize draw for a luxurious three-night stay at Taku Resort and Marina, along with your choice of a cooking course for two, valued at $2,100. This prize includes a $300 gift card for BC Ferries to cover the cost of ferry transportation to Quadra Island. The Grand Prize winner will be drawn on September 15, 2015. Now, if you participated in the WHL awards last year, you’ll remember Taku Resort’s amazing family story. We caught up with Erin Rowsell Taku’s Cookery Manager, to find out what’s fresh this year. We Heart Local: What kinds of ingredients will Taku be featuring in their cooking courses this year? Erin Rowsell: We LOVE featuring local products from Quadra Island and the Comox Valley in our cooking courses.  When in season we always highlight our local seafoods – oysters, mussels, spot prawns, halibut, wild salmon, scallops and so so much more.  There is a beautiful farm – Granite Bay Farm –  that both helps us grow food on the property as well as supplying gorgeous farm eggs and luscious produce! We serve Island-roasted Aroma coffee and locally harvested Red Cedar teas! The Comox Valley has so much to offer including creamy cheeses, organic meats and beautiful, seasonal produce. WHL: Why is supporting a contest like WHL important to Taku? ER: We are teaming up with WHL because we love what you do.  We love promoting local farmers, fishers, hunters and growers in our own community and then of course love all the other BC producers as well.  We believe strongly in supporting sustainable food practices and voting with our forks, and what better way than to partner with other folks doing the same work, such as WHL! Ready to get in the running for this grand prize? Head to and help your favourite local producer shine through your nominations and votes. And just a reminder – We ♥ Local is supported by BC Agriculture Council and sustained by thousands of passionate local food enthusiasts – like you! Join us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or download our We Local mobile app and cheer on your favourite local loves while discovering new ones.