Glorious Organics is a cooperatively owned and run, Certified Organic farming collective located on the Fraser Common Farm, where they grow their produce using a variety of methods conducive to happier soil, purer water, and a stronger ecosystem. That means when you eat their vegetables, not only are you eating clean, nourishing and lovingly grown food, but you are also supporting a community of (pretty rad) humans taking care of the land. Mark Cormier stands at the forefront of Glorious’ operations, and although Fraser Common Farm might be a little out of the way for most Vancouverites, many will recognize his flowing locks, tattoos, and trademark Thrasher Mag cap-and-band-tee combo from Glorious’s tent at the Trout Lake Farmer’s Market.
Say Hey Café & Deli in Chinatown is owned and operated by Lina Caschetto – a kind, enthusiastic, creative, and talented chef with a good sense of humour. If you’re looking for a run-of-the-mill ham and cheese on white bread, keep walking. At Say Hey, a sandwich is never average. Caschetto kills it with comfort food and the fancy stuff – and finds ways to bring elements of both into Say Hey’s hoagies daily. So what’s the connection between this Chinatown sandwich shop and Aldergrove farm, specifically? To start with: tomatoes.
Say Hey sources all of their heirloom tomatoes (they go through a heck of a lot of them) from Glorious; tomatoes are the star of their ‘Glorious BLT’ (along with naturally smoked bacon, green leaf lettuce, nori ranch dressing, and Hickory Stick furikake) and their ‘Gloria’ (burrata with arugula, caper basil, mayo, brown butter bread crumbs, and loads of tomatoes on garlic toast). This is not a sales pitch – these sandwiches are already making people go bananas, and Say Hey doesn’t need my help selling any more of them. This story is simply intended to provide a behind-the-scenes look at what you support when you buy real food made by real people…
The Say Hey team were so impressed by everything that farmer Mark Cormier and his farm crew put into growing them such stellar tomatoes, that they loaded up their truck and headed out to the farm themselves, on a mission to cook a meal for the farmers. In turn, the farm crew showed the sandwich-makers their fields and greenhouses, where they talked about the subtle differences in varieties of mints, picked blackberries, gathered tomatoes and pulled carrots together.
On the surface, the connection between the Chinatown sandwich shop and the Aldergrove farm is a transactional one of money for tomatoes, but it’s obviously more than that. For the combined teams, those tomatoes were worth pressing pause to share a meal together. Not every kitchen can take their crew for a farm tour and prepare a meal for farmers, but many do. Relationships like these – based on mutual respect – run between many farms and kitchens in the city, because the people who cook the best food honour the work that goes into growing it, and those who grow with care appreciate seeing their product cooked with care.
Thanks to Mark, Cassie, Dustin and Najai from Glorious Organics for the hospitality, and to Lina, Andrew, Sloane, Ben and Juliette for cooking such excellent food.
Tomato sandwiches are only available at Say Hey for the next week or so, so if you already haven’t had one yet and want to, you’d better hustle! Find Glorious Organics at the Trout Lake Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.