Groceries in Sooke town centre:
Farmer's Daughter, Village Food Markets, Western Foods, West Coast Natural Foods
As published in MapleLine Magazine: Feb. 3, 2010
by Pamela Portal
Update: In May 2010 the Farmer's Daughter business was offered for sale.
FARMER'S DAUGHTER FOOD MARKET. 5-6631 SOOKE ROAD. What do organic food, Nova Scotia, and Sooke have in common? The answer is 28-year-old Kate Naugler – a Nova Scotia farmer’s daughter and co-owner/manager of Sooke’s new organic grocery outlet: Farmer’s Daughter Food Market.
Opened in October 2009, The Farmer’s Daughter is the brain-child of Naugler and long-time friends and business partners Michael Vultier and Joshua Koile. It’s a farmer’s market-style operation, featuring fresh, organic, locally-produced goods provided by Sooke farmers and artisans. They partner with the Farmer’s Daughter, using its space, counters and even the kitchen, to provide their products directly to Sooke residents and visitors. The result is a relaxed and friendly market where consumers may sample and purchase local goods or just sit and relax over a healthy, locally-produced organic lunch in the adjoining seaview café.
Naugler and her partners opened their shop in response to the Sooke Region Community Health Initiative (known as “CHI”), which calls for the creation of a year-round farmer’s market featuring Sooke’s locally-produced goods and services. The plan is to nurture and promote a local, healthy food network. What Naugler and her partners have developed is that and more. For them, the Farmer’s Daughter is not just a place to sell local products, but a place where these products and Sooke residents come together in the promotion of a healthier, more holistic community.
Naugler developed her convictions about healthy lifestyles as a child growing up on a farm in rural Nova Scotia. Later, she travelled internationally as a university student to small villages where rural, more communal lifestyles dominated. It was there that Naugler witnessed how a meaningful connection to the land, locally-produced goods and close-knit community fostered healthy, personal growth. “Information feeds the brain,” she explains, “but healthy, local foods feed the body, spirit and community.”
Naugler’s vision was to bring this community-centric vision to Canada. On a chance visit to Vancouver Island a few years ago, she discovered Sooke and forged an instant bond with its simpler lifestyle and rugged landscape. Wrestling with traffic in Victoria from time to time, Naugler cherishes how “everything in Sooke slows down. I love the ocean, I love the trees, I love the people.” She even loves the horizontal winter rains!
In business now for three months, Naugler and partners say their experiences so far in Sooke have been “amazing”. Their food market and café features products and services from over 10 local producers, including four farmers, a chocolatier and a massage therapist. And they already have plans to expand. They recently featured a raw food and musical evening with talented, well-known local musicians – fiddler Tania Elizabeth and guitarist Adam Dobres.
“There are so many amazing artists, writers and food producers living here,” Naugler enthuses. “I want to offer them a place to present their talents to the community and foster ties to other Sooke artists and artisans.”
Naugler is unaware that perhaps she, too, is one of those artists. With a warm and engaging manner and a genuine interest in forging connections between the people and landscape of Sooke, she is a budding communal architect. Embracing every person and thing that enters her shop (including boisterous kids), she models the kind of holistic, people-oriented community and marketplace that the Sooke CHI contemplates.
At the Farmer’s Daughter there is local, natural replenishment – a little Sooke-made chocolate or the opportunity to relax a little by the picture window while sipping an organic raspberry smoothie. Settling in for lunch to munch away on some savoury baked kale chips and a hearty pulled pork Panini is a charm. You’ll be eating healthfully from local sources.
Naugler and her business partners may have come a long way from the hinterlands of Nova Scotia, but what they offer to Sooke at the Farmer’s Daughter is all good cosmic ch’i. MM
This article first appeared in print on pages 8 and 9 in the Winter-Spring 2010 issue of MapleLine Magazine (All rights reserved).
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