Happy Food At Fergie’s Cafe In Squamish
Contributor Dee Raffo journeyed south of Whistler to beautiful Squamish to chat to Hilary Pink owner of Fergie’s Cafe where she learned about Hilary and her husband’s stance on happy, healthy food from the heart. Address: 70002 Squamish Valley Road, Brackendale, BC
Tell us about being passionate about the food you cook.
I cook for the happiness it brings. I have always loved to cook for others primarily because I am a nurturer. It brings me pleasure making others happy by creating and providing delicious food. Good food is inherently imperative to a sound mind, body, and soul; you are what you eat. Disease, neurological imbalances, and addiction all stem from the lack of balanced nutrition and natural food sources. Supporting local, natural farming is probably the most important social responsibility we have as a society in these times.
I love cooking and eating way too much to not be pro-active. That’s why we need to support local farming. Not just local farming, but more importantly, edible landscaping. I bought my first home here in Squamish Nov 10, primarily because of the land: I have an apple tree, plum tree, cherry tree, raspberry and blueberry patch and rhubarb to get started, and the abundance was amazing this summer. I still have raspberries in my freezer. I have 1/3rd acre, and I intend on planting more apple trees, nut trees, herb garden and much more this spring as I work towards being as self-sustainable as possible. We need to take control of our future, take responsibility, and ensure that we have a future to look forward to.
I believe Squamish is the most beautiful place on earth. My husband and I were living in the city, and though he was a city boy, born and raised, I grew up in the country, surrounded by forests and mountains and outside living, and the city was suffocating me. We knew that we wanted to start a family, and that I wanted to have land to start becoming more self-sustainable, and the cost of buying in the city was out of the question. As was raising a family. We thought about all the jewels in BC, and once we realized we wanted to be close to the ocean, close to shreddable mountains, and avoid ferries, Squamish was the obvious answer.
Within one month on deciding Squamish was for us, we found the perfect home. Within a month of moving, I was introduced to Sunwolf, a year-round resort offering rafting and eagle floats, to start a cafe, and within a year of moving, I became pregnant. Squamish is a community re-birthing itself, attracting like-minded people who have all moved here recently for similar reasons, primarily to build a better life for themselves. Being so close to the city makes it feasible financially for many to move to a small town, with commuting a viable option until a job surfaces locally. Fergie’s is ideally placed at the summit of two fertile farm rich valleys, and last year showed what a gift our location is, with fresh produce driving out from the farms, passing our little cafe each day. For example, John from Fern Alley was amazing to us, providing incredibly delicious micro-greens, delivered twice a week, sometimes within 30 minutes of harvesting from his garden! How fresh is that?!
Tell us about how you incorporate local produce into the menu.
Once you have had fresh food, it’s hard to go back. The movement has just started to take root, and one day, greenhouses will replace importing from Mexico, and we will be able to eat local year round. For now, we do what we can. There are certain things the cafe needs in abundance, and I am glad to say that one of those items, eggs, are something that we are getting from just down the road. Tracy Robertson, at Stony Mountain Farms up Squamish Valley road, is delivering us eggs weekly that are fresh, hand picked and washed from free run, humanly treated and naturally raised birds, and they are delicious. She is also looking into handling turkeys this year, which would be a bonus for our fall/winter menu.
The organic greens from Fern Alley are packed with nutrients, abundant in flavour, and add the final level of unique, fresh perfection to our summer menu, whether it be in a salad, in a wrap or on our amazing hand made, hormone and gluten free burgers, they truly are the icing on the cake! We changed the menu in the fall, and salad didn’t make the list because our standard was set too high, and there really is no going back. I am proud to say that we were able to incorporate raspberries for salads, coulees and salad dressing from my garden, and amazing squash from my other chef Kate Mctavish aka Pixie’s garden later in the summer, and hope to infuse more from both our gardens this year – herbs and tomatoes all on the way.
One day the cafe itself will have abundant gardens, but baby steps. The local garlic from the Good Time Farming Guys was so flavourful, I could use one clove for the same effect from a whole generic bulb from the grocery store. The meat is harder to get from Squamish as of yet, but we are hoping to buy our pigs from Rojo Pez Ranch just down the road, and we endeavour to buy beef from either Pemberton or the mainland, from farms that treat their animals well, and will never buy any meat from outside of Canada, with the small exception of New Zealand Lamb. I would buy Saltspring lamb in a heartbeat, if it were a viable option, perhaps one day soon!
What do you want people to feel when they eat at Fergie’s?
Wowed by our flavours and unique menu, pleased that they got an amazing meal for their hard-earned dollar. Comfortable – I’ve had locals come in their Pj’s on a Sunday morning, and I love it! A place where people can bring their dogs and kids and let them run around and play in our field without worry, while being able to relax and enjoy their meals.
To bask in the beauty of our surroundings, whether it be lounging at our picnic tables outside in the summertime in the shade of our massive black walnut tree, or watching the majesty of the eagles soaring through the trees and snow capped mountains in our heated, open concept patio in the winter. I want everyone to feel comfortable and well taken care of coming to our little cafe, to enjoy our food and to share this very special space with us.