While travelling in Kenya, teatime became one of our favourite activities. Whether we were at our hotel in Nairobi on a cloudy day or watching hippos by the Mara River under the blazing hot sun, the locals always offered us a cup of tea. We have had our share of tea around the world, but there was something about Kenya's tea that made even the most loyal coffee drinker (Will) start drinking tea.

When we returned to Vancouver we searched everywhere for a tea that tasted like what we had in Kenya. After trying (what seemed like) a hundred different types of tea, we came across JusTea, a Vancouver owned company that prides itself on selling justly made Kenyan tea.  

JusTea started in 2012 when Vancouverite Grayson Bain travelled from Vancouver to Kenya in search of local entrepreneurs with businesses that were benefitting their immediate community. While in southwestern Kenya, he formed an instant connection with tea farmers in the Nandi Hills community. Grayson and his son Paul saw an opportunity to empower these tea farmers by creating a market to sell their tea leaves at a price that supported the needs of the community. Although Kenya is the world's largest exporter of tea, accounting for approximately 95% of the world's tea production, the farmers and pluckers working the tea fields and picking the leaves for buyers receive 20-30 cents a day. 

The Bains' partnered with Boaz Katah and his family from Nandi Hills. The Katah family was granted a 'Cottage Factory License' from the Tea Board of Kenya, allowing them to process their tea on site rather than selling the green tea leaves to a large corporation at unfair prices.  The 'cottage' nature of their processing plant means much of the work is done by hand or very simple machines in a small building. Unlike larger tea processing plants that cut and tear the tea leaves, the 'cottage' process maintains the whole leaf creating a richer and fuller flavour. JusTea currently employs 8 tea workers at the tea cottage, 30 people to hand-pluck leaves in the garden, and over 10 small-scale tea growers. They are committed to paying sustainable wages and investing in these rural communities.

Read and See more here


All week long we are collaborating with Fall For Local to feature 5 local businesses that will be participating at the Fall for Local event on October 22.  You can read a new post each day during this Week of Local on the Fall for Local blog.


Up until a few years ago, we might have convinced you that Vancouver was still bound by the principles that were put in place during the prohibition. The recent changes to liquor laws, however, have been slowly modernizing the province’s alcohol consumption. This has brought on the recent proliferation of microbreweries, which have been popping up all over Vancouver. More recently, micro-distilleries have been taking advantage of this growing interest in local, small-scale production.

Located in North Vancouver, the Sons of Vancouver is one such distillery, which is dedicated to making good quality, local spirits. Cofounders Richard Klaus and James Lester are originally from Northern British Columbia, where they started learning to brew their own beer in junior high. After a series of events that included early “retirement” and traveling through Mexico, they relocated to Vancouver and decided to open a distillery together. They interned at distilleries in Washington and Portland until they were confident they knew enough to open their own.

After taking over a North Vancouver space in March 2014, the pair started a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo to outfit their tasting room. They officially opened their doors in February 2015, with a fully outfitted tasting room where they offer samples of their three products: amaretto, vodka, and chili vodka.

Amaretto No. 82 is named after the 81 failed attempts that came before it, and is the first craft amaretto in North America (that they know of). The pair like the simplicity of old fashioned drinks (like the Old Fashioned), but thought it could be done a little differently. Their amaretto is sweetened with Demerera, BC blackberry honey simple syrup, and a combination of apricot kernels, Bourbon vanilla beans and orange peel. If your mouth isn’t already watering, it pairs so perfectly with ice cream that they teamed up with Earnest Ice Cream to create the Cherry Amaretto Sundae.

Their vodka is equally original, made with BC spring wheat, malted barley and fermented with champagne yeast. The result is a smooth vodka unlike any other you’ve previously tried at your local bar. Finally, if you’re really adventurous (or like to make really good Ceasars), try the Chili Vodka – it’s infused with Thai Dragon chilies and carries enough punch to really wake you up in the morning (or afternoon, or evening…).

The Sons of Vancouver Tasting Room is open Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 7:00pm. If you’re not looking to cross the bridge though, their products are available all over the city – check out their website for locations. 

We’re excited to let you know that we are collaborating with Fall for Local to feature five local businesses that will be part of the Fall for Local event on October 22nd. Starting today, the Fall for Local blog will post a different featured write up each day this week. Head over to fallinlovewithlocal.com/blog to see who we’ve been talking to.

Fall for Local was started by Kelly Turner in Ottawa in 2012 to promote local businesses and encourage collaboration between them. Kelly moved to Vancouver in 2012 and noticed that, despite all the local initiatives in the city, there was no promotion of knowledge sharing and cross collaboration. She teamed up with Pound & Grain, a local digital creative agency, and reached out to local businesses to participate in the city’s inaugural event. It has since grown from an evening soirée into a one-day networking and collaboration event.

This year’s event starts at noon on October 22nd at Heritage Hall (3102 Main Street) with a knowledge sharing “conference” that will feature a panel discussion, a hands-on workshop session, locally sourced snacks and goodies, prizes, an interactive photobooth, and more. A ticket also gets you access to the Pop Up Soirée, a showcase of some of Vancouver’s new and established shops and entrepreneurs. Tickets are $75 before October 8th ($95 after) and are available at fallinlovewithlocal.com


At nearly 10 million square kilometres in size, most people don't get the chance to visit the country from coast to coast. Unfortunately, it also means most people miss out on all the distinct foods that are available within the five regions that span this great country.

Unless you visit Edible Canada, a self-described culinary tourism and locavore retail company.

Edible Canada on Granville Island selects the very best from Canadian farmers, butchers, foragers and brewers to create a local dining experience. In addition to the Bistro which serves brunch, lunch, dinner, and cocktails, Edible Canada also hosts tours and events throughout the year. And if you want to bite off a slice of BC to take home with you, the retail store sells a curated assortment of edibles made in the province.  

You really can't go wrong here, but we are particularly fond of anything with hollandaise sauce for brunch, with a tall glass of Mike Weir (a Canadian take on the Arnold Palmer). And if it's sunny, a seat on the patio makes for great people watching.

read more here


Vancouverites are unapologetically proud of their city and display their affection at every opportunity in any way possible, from sports paraphernalia to Van City t-shirts to bottles of 'I Love Van' water. The Vancouver Candle Company (VCC) has developed a completely different (and arguably much more sophisticated) way of displaying their love - through candles.

The company started in 2014 as an alternative to the chemical-infused candles that could be found in stores. Instead of paraffin, lead, and chemicals to create their candles, the Vancouver Candle Company uses soy-based wax and 100% cotton wicks. They use perfume-grade fragrance oils to create their scents, and look for locally-sourced materials as much as possible. Even after all this, their candles still stack up to the alternatives - VCC's candles burn for 60 hours and won't force you into debt.

Each candle is carefully handcrafted by Nick Rabuchin in their 150 square foot studio in Mount Pleasant. Nick produces the candles in batches of 50, numbering and signing each box (which he also folds). It truly is a labour of love!

To date, Vancouver Candle Company has six scents: Gastown (also known as the 'mandle' for its musky leather and tobacco scent), Mount Pleasant, Fairview, Strathcona, Point Grey, and Kitsilano. The company chose to name the candles after some of their favourite neighbourhoods to set themselves apart from the candle-naming trend of flowery names. The boxes are also beautifully designed with geometric patterns in bright colours, allowing them to stand out from the traditional white and ivory packaging. 

The candles are available in stores in Gastown, South Granville, Kitsilano and may other neighbourhoods across the Lower Mainland. Vancouver Candle Company also sell their candles from their website making it easy to have your house to smell like Vancouver, even if you live somewhere else. They make a great gift (for someone else or for yourself) and every sale supports the local artisan community.