Over the Labour Day long weekend I took a quick visit to British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, a quick 40 minute ferry ride from Vancouver. Located only 5 minutes away from the Langdale ferry terminal in Gibsons is Persephone Brewing Company. All craft breweries I have visited in the past were urban in nature, primarily located in industrial buildings. Persephone is a farm-based brewery located on a scenic 11-acres of land where they grow their own hops on site (farm-to-barrel). The brewery and tasting room are located in what seems to be a refurbished barn. Yes I know, very cool!
As with many Culinary Oriented Developments, Persephone acts as a community hub. When I visited on a sunny Saturday evening, the on-site pizza oven was blasting, dogs were running around the grass fields, young children were feeding chickens, older kids were playing board games, and the adults were of course drinking delicious micro-brewed craft beer and cider.
Just to amp up the case of Persephone Brewing Company being British Columbia’s first craft beer-based Culinary Oriented Development, they also have a stand that sells local produce called “Farmgate 2 Tailgate”. Here you can purchase whatever local BC farmers have in season, from heirloom tomatoes and garlic to peaches and plums. As a sum, Persephone is a farm (hops, chickens), a restaurant (pizza), a local produce store, and of course a micro-brewery. It is no wonder that the community uses it as a gathering space.
Persephone integrates 5 important goals/areas into their practices as stated on their website.
PBC’s Integrated Farm Plan identifies five key areas within its operations that demonstrate our commitment to developing a multi-functional farm that will contribute to rural development and the local economy. These five areas are:
- Production of hops: currently 1 acre in production with another 5 acres in development and plans to partner with other hops growers through shared access to equipment, resources and markets.
- Contract farming & marketing options to maximize agricultural potential: 1 acre and 2 greenhouses leased to Backyard Bounty for production of organic field vegetables. These veggies will go directly into our food served onsite!
- Community partnerships:
Sunshine Coast Association for Community Living, will provide delivery services for our Beer Box program, provides the lion’s share of the labour on our farm and helps operate our wood-fired oven.
- Sustainably managing waste outputs: we currently compost all spent grain, hops and yeast from the brewery and are developing systems to reclaim brewery runoff for crop irrigation and energy consumed in the brewing process.
- Culinary and agricultural tourism opportunities: We partner with Farm to Feast to host long-table dinner events featuring locally grown and foraged foods paired with our amazing beers. We are installing a wood fired outdoor oven for preparation of locally made breads, pizzas, and other beer-enhancing delights featuring ingredients grown on site. We are applying for a Special Event Area endorsement encompassing the entire property to allow integration between the farm site and social activities and events.
If you are located in British Columbia, I would highly advocate to check out Persephone Brewing Company yourself, to see the future of culinary advancements in semi-rural and small town areas.