B.C. agriculture minister shares zest for Salmon Arm food hub

Rob Marshall with Community Futures Shuswap, Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison, Zest facility manager Tracy Edwards, Secwépemc knowledge-keeper Louis Thomas, B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham and SAEDS board members Chad Shipmaker and Bill Laird cut the ribbon for the official grand opening of the Zest Commercial Food Hub on Saturday, March 26, 2022. (Andrea Horton - Salmon Arm Observer)Rob Marshall with Community Futures Shuswap, Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison, Zest facility manager Tracy Edwards, Secwépemc knowledge-keeper Louis Thomas, B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham and SAEDS board members Chad Shipmaker and Bill Laird cut the ribbon for the official grand opening of the Zest Commercial Food Hub on Saturday, March 26, 2022. (Andrea Horton - Salmon Arm Observer)
Ross and Miles Stark and Iver Yates and other kids are captivated by the popcorn maker at Riley and Taylor Marsh’s King Corn popcorn table set up at Zestfest on Friday, March 25, 2022.Ross and Miles Stark and Iver Yates and other kids are captivated by the popcorn maker at Riley and Taylor Marsh’s King Corn popcorn table set up at Zestfest on Friday, March 25, 2022.
Shuswap Makerspace program co-ordinator Maria Otting explains how the mason bee houses work to customers Ron and Petra Donatelli during Zestfest on Friday, March 25, 2022. The bee houses were made by local students and sold as a fundraiser for the Makerspace. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)Shuswap Makerspace program co-ordinator Maria Otting explains how the mason bee houses work to customers Ron and Petra Donatelli during Zestfest on Friday, March 25, 2022. The bee houses were made by local students and sold as a fundraiser for the Makerspace. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Charles Ouyang cooks up food samples using his own stir-fry sauces produced at the Zest Commercial Food Hub during Zestfest on Friday, March 25, 2022. (Lachlan Labere - Salmon Arm Observer)Charles Ouyang cooks up food samples using his own stir-fry sauces produced at the Zest Commercial Food Hub during Zestfest on Friday, March 25, 2022. (Lachlan Labere - Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm’s food hub was a hub of activity over the weekend with the return of Zestfest and a much-anticipated official grand opening.

The Zest Commercial Food Hub hosted its Zestfest event Friday evening, March 25. The pop-up food and beverage garden was well attended and featured live music, activities and local vendors, including individuals who use the hub to develop and produce their goods such as Charles Ouyang of Will’s Food Inc. Ouyang was serving pan-fried food samples seasoned in his line of stir-fry sauces. Other food hub tenants participating in Zestfest included Carried Away, The Canadian Barley Tea Company, Earth Girl Granola, Kurt’s Sausages, Fable Acres Catering and Forest and Food Fixation.

The following day, Zest staff and Salmon Arm Economic Development Society (SAEDS) welcomed B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham for the food hub’s formal grand opening.

“It was such an honour to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening of the Zest Food Hub in Salmon Arm,” Popham said in a Facebook post. “I am so proud of the dedicated staff and community partners that made this facility a reality!

“Zest Commercial Food Hub is almost fully subscribed by some incredible food entrepreneurs and local businesses! This will reduce barriers for new business owners and drive economic development locally, regionally, provincially and nationally! I can’t wait to come back to Salmon Arm in a few months to see this facility in full function…and of course, to try some tasty treats!”

The Zest Commercial Food Hub opened in November 2021. With the catastrophic flooding that month impacting agricultural operations in the Lower Mainland, the grand opening was delayed until Popham could attend.

In 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture partnered with SAEDS, providing a $500,000 grant to develop the Salmon Arm food hub, a space where local businesses would have access to food and beverage processing equipment and other resources.

Located at 1140 4th Ave. SW (beside the ReStore), the food hub provides space for several full-time tenants and about a dozen rotating tenants to develop and produce food and beverage products. Zest offers a commercial kitchen and other amenities, including a classroom.

For more information, visit zestfoodhub.ca.

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