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Vancouver Island farmer makes meal almost entirely from local sources

All but a few minor ingredients were produced in Sooke
Troy Dignam grows some of his produce on his farm in Sooke and raises chickens and alpacas. (Contributed - Troy Dignam)

A Sooke man has taken buying local to new lengths by preparing a three-course meal made (almost) entirely with ingredients from Sooke.

Troy Dignam has lived in Sooke for 11 years and runs the small Secluded Wood Farm from 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 whole meal locally. A few of his friends who grew produce were short of a few ingredients. Then he posted an appeal on a Facebook group for help.

“I do a lot of local cooking a lot of the year, but it’s harder to find stuff this time of year. I was surprised for this time of year, what people already had growing in their greenhouses or their gardens.”

Dignam swapped eggs from his chickens for the ingredients he needed and was soon able to craft 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 the ingredients were produced in Sooke or Shirley, apart from some sugar, oil and cornstarch.

Dignam said he could have prepared even more dishes if he’d had more time, adding that some people were offering up vegetables that he’d never even heard of.

The meal is something Dignam hopes to do more often in the future, noting the benefits for both his health and the environment.

“When you buy stuff locally, it was picked fresh, and it was picked ripe. Stuff from the grocery stores does not taste the same. It feels good in my soul to know that the animals or plants I’m eating were treated right.”

Dignam suggested that people who want to eat more local produce could try subscription boxes that some local farms use, sending fresh produce weekly if they don’t have their gardens to grow in.

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Troy Dignam’s meal was prepared with almost entirely Sooke-produced ingredients. (Contributed - Troy Dignam)