Inaugural BC Veggie Day highlights greenhousesCompeting greenhouse growers in British Columbia joined forces to promote locally grown vegetables at BC Veggie Day.

More than 1,000 people turned out for the activities March 20 in Vancouver, said Pamela Groberman, spokeswoman for the British Columbia Greenhouse Growers Association. The provincial Ministry of Agriculture co-sponsored the event, providing $100,000, she said.

“The plan is to make this an annual event,” Groberman said March 21. She said 14 area greenhouses sent representatives to the event.

There are 42 greenhouse growers in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, according to the Surrey-based association. Among them is Delta-based Village Farms, which is carrying the locally grown message beyond the one-day event with special “BC Greenhouse Grown” seals on tomato packaging bound for retailers in the province.

“There is no doubt BC consumers want to support locally grown products as well as BC farmers,” Dirk de Jong, Village Farms vice president and regional facility manager, said in a news release.

Greenhouses in the region primarily grow tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, with some also cultivating lettuce and smaller crops of eggplant and other commodities, according to the association’s website. Veggie Day featured samples of those vegetables in a variety of recipes.

The Vancouver-based restaurant chain Earls Kitchen + Bar also participated in the first BC Veggie Day with recipes based on the local produce. All tomatoes in Earls’ sandwiches and burgers are from Windset Farms greenhouses in Delta, according to a news release from the association.