Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest days of the year for buying fresh flowers. And being in the middle of February, at least up here in Canada, not many of us are plucking flowers from our own gardens or greenhouses.
This means our flowers are shipped from warmer climates, generally South America (in the UK, it seems to be Africa). Our batches of roses are produced by large flower farms, unfortunately with bad reputations when it comes to environmental responsibility and employee welfare. However, like coffee and chocolate, you can make the decision to buy flowers with certified by the Fairtrade Federation or Rainforest Alliance. Read more about Fairtrade and flowers at the Tyee.
Here in Vancouver, we are lucky to have the large distributor, Florimex, that has made a commitment to carry only Fairtrade flowers. I was still surprised how few florists in the city I could find that offered Fairtrade blooms. Both Whole Foods and Choices carry them, and the incredible Olla Flowers in Gastown also offers delivery. None of the big floral delivery companies had Fairtrade options.
In the UK, things are a little better on that front. Interflora has Fairtrade options, as well as Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
Or you can choose a different kind of bouquet for Valentine’s, local evergreen foliage in a beautiful vase, or as I suggested last year on VancouverMom.ca, local orchids grown in greenhouses in Abbotsford. There are also beautiful paper flowers available from West Elm, or Crate & Barrel.
So, let’s vote with our purchases this Valentine’s and choose Fair Trade.
I have this problem with ice cream: so much of it is full of crap. Thickeners, preservatives, artificial flavours. Blergh. The gelato place near our apartment is no better, unfortunately. At home, I’ve come to grips with making our own ice cream with a machine I bought off craigslist (it’s the land of ice cream makers) and David Lebovitz‘s incredible book, [amazon_link id=”158008219X” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Perfect Scoop[/amazon_link].
Some days, though, I don’t want to make my own. I just want someone to hand me a lovely scoop of ice cream. Earnest Ice Cream is a local company, best known for their cute bicycle ice cream carts. Now they have their own scoop shop on Fraser Street – I wrote about it for VancouverMom.ca.
I love that their menu is just ice cream and coffee. The coffee is from Matchstick Roasters down the road.
And you can pick up their pint jars as well.
I love food carts. I’m not sure why I find them so terrific, but there’s something amazing about being handed something incredible down from a vehicle. Maybe it’s the standing outside part? The way four of them in a row in any given place creates an instant festive feeling? I don’t know, but I’m keen.
When the Food Cart Fest announced its new location literally down the road from me, I was one part excited, one part dismayed. Last year I was very anxious to check out the Fest, but it was quickly apparent it was not at all built for families. Which is, you know, fine. I’m a-okay with not everything catering to my particular life-stage. But it seemed like they missed a trick, surely it would make sense to make it a bit more family friendly. This year, it was advertised as such, but after talking to friends and neighbours who had been, it seemed a little perfunctory. I’m happy they tried, and I have high hopes for next year. We collected advice and headed down there, and had a surprisingly good time. So I decided to pass on the collected wisdom in a Family Guide to the Food Cart Fest over on VancouverMom.ca. Enjoy and eat lots of food.