Author Archives: Coreen

Persian Dream Cuisine Dinner March 23: Reserve Now!



Chefs Tyler Sparks and Kate Archibald will prepare an exquisite and exotic 3-course
Persian meal that will be served family-style.

To make reservations, visit us in the store by Wednesday, March 22nd.
See the menu and all details below.

5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
$30/person and $18/kids

Mastva Khiar: fresh grated cucumber in thick yogurt with dates and walnuts
Anar Bademjan: grilled eggplant with pomegranate seeds
Nan-e-sangak: leavened flat bread baked on hot pebble
Kuku’ye Sabzi: spring greens frittata/omelet 

Fesenjan – roasted chicken browned and stewed with walnuts,
pomegranate juice and cardmom
Chelou – Fluffy saffron rice

Served with a bubbly Sharbat, made with fresh fruits and assorted mild
and medium spicy pickles on the side.

Pistachio, Honey and Rose Halvah


Tyler Sparks: Mom taught me to cook, then I cooked into my mid-20s. I worked at several youth camps, restaurants, cafes and then also sailed to Singapore on a tall ship as a cook. I have moved onto other work, but I still love cooking, especially trying to bring to life the original spirit of people’s relationship to the food, that is the Old Story behind certain dishes. Last year I discovered this tiny Persian cookbook and fell in love with the Polous and Koreshes among many others. I am no expert, but I love this food.

Kate Archibald: I began learning the cuisines of far-off lands as a teenager working at a very busy little bakery and deli in Port Coquitlam, staffed by a team of Portuguese, Polish, Slovakian, Scottish, Angolan, Spanish and Gujarati bakers and food lovers. I haven’t ever stopped learning, devoting most the last 20 years to the service and profession of feeding people across Canada, internationally and out at sea.

Member Feedback: Co-op Cafe Liquor License



We want your feedback about this topic. Please read the information on this page and
find the member feedback form at the bottom. Comments must be submitted by March 24.
Thank you!

The Co-op Cafe is considering the acquisition of a Food Primary Liquor License; this license is for restaurants where the service of food (instead of liquor) is the primary focus of the business.  In order to comply with the requirements of this license, a full range of food options must be available while liquor is available.  We intend to make only beer, cider, and wine available ― no hard liquor and only beverages with a low alcohol content.  We envision that we will provide a limited number of alcoholic beverages available by the bottle (or can) while the cafe is open during the day.

We also envision that a liquor license will make our music events more successful.  Recently, we’re finding that pairing a musical event with a special food ― and then advertising them together ― draws a substantially bigger crowd.  We expect that alcohol and food together will not only significantly increase the attendance at current events but also draw more musical acts to the island. 

Alcohol makes other kinds of events possible as well.  For example, we currently cannot serve alcohol at the Dream Cuisine Dinner Series, but we know that beer and wine would make the dinners much more appealing and popular.  Other events could include showing various sporting events with beer and pizza, poetry readings with a few shared bottles of wine, or an opening for an art show followed by a wine tasting.

Again, there is no intention for the Cafe to become a bar or anything like one.  Food will remain the primary focus, and alcohol will simply become an addition to the menu.  We will only serve beer, cider, and wine to accompany the fine food we’re going to make anyway.

The Co-op Cafe is ready for the next step in its evolution.  The vision has always been for the cafe space to serve as the place for locals to come together, hang out, and enjoy each other’s company.  There’s no question that if the Co-op Cafe has a plan that includes serving liquor and creating evening events specifically designed to bring the community together we will be successful ― not just in terms of sales but, more importantly, in terms of community service.

Frequently Asked Questions

What about extra insurance?  We would have to add an endorsement to our existing commercial policy.  It is a simple endorsement that states the full coverage applies unless our license is not in effect (e.g., it expired) or unless we don’t follow the law or license rules.

What about liability?  Our commercial policy provides $2M coverage for property damage and bodily injury (deductible is $1,000).  The liquor endorsement costs another $24 per month ($283 per year).

What about minors in the cafe?  Because this is a food-primary license, there are no restrictions on minors.

What about selling liquor in the store?  This license only applies to the cafe (a food establishment).  We could only sell liquor in the cafe; people could not take their drinks into the store. 

Can we buy from Doug’s Good Libations?  No, we cannot.  We can only buy liquor through our assigned BC liquor store; however, the selection of liquor we sell is completely up to us based on availability from the BC liquor store.

What about the application process?  We expect the process to take about 3 or 4 months in total, and the total cost is less than $1,000 for the first year.

What about other changes?  We will have to assess the physical security of the building and make improvements as necessary.  We will also have to establish new policies and procedures.

All comments will be compiled and submitted to the Board of Directors and General Manager while they are considering the acquisition of the liquor license.

If you have any specific questions, please contact Eric (General Manager ― eric[at]cortescoop[dot]ca) or Suzanne (Board Chair ― suzfletcher70[at]hotmail[dot]com).

Boxes with an asterisk must be filled out. Thank you for your participation!

Comments re: Cortes Co-op Liquor License

Postponed! Vietnamese Dream Cuisine Dinner


Seatings at 5:30 and 7:30

Limited Space. Visit the Co-op to book.
Reservations must be made by Tuesday, February 14th.

Chef Xuan Ly-Betz will prepare an exquisite 3-course traditional Vietnamese meal.
The entire menu is gluten free.

Chả Giò: Deep-fried spring roll served with nước mắm dipping sauce.
On the side is an herb mint cabbage salad.

Phở: Traditional beef noodle soup.
A long and slow simmered beef bone broth served with flat rice noodles and
topped with two cuts of beef. Made with locally sourced Linnaea beef!

Chè Ba Màu: Three-coloured bean drink.
A refreshing cold traditional dessert.

Xuan learned to cook from the very best—her mother.
She strives to make her dishes as authentic as possible (or at least as she remembers
the food from her childhood) and always uses the finest quality ingredients.

$30/person, $18/kids

January’s Dream Cuisine Dinners


The Co-op Cafe brings you excellent 3-course dinners from around the world in January!

Amy Bockner will prepare Italian on January 12th; Lucy Robinson will prepare Mexican
on January 26th. Two seatings per evening: 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Reservations required
$30 per person + tax
Reserve at the Co-op store.

January 12th Italian Menu



Crostini Trio ~ Pear & Chèvre, Olive Tapanade, Prosciutto & Basil


Salmon & Pesto Fettuccini with lemon, capers, and parmigiano; Balsamic Arugula Salad


Chocolate amaretti cake with maple gelato


January 26th Mexican, Gluten-Free Menu



Fresh made salsa with Abuelo’s Vancouver-Island-made corn chips


Two local salmon tacos (veg option available, bean and cheese taco) with homemade corn tortillas,
guacamole, mango salsa, chipotle & tangy sour cream, topped with purple cabbage and cilantro;
Mexican seasoned potato and yam pan fries; green salad with citrus vinaigrette


coconut flan (gluten free/dairy free)

Dream Cuisine Dinners – Reserve Now!



― all-inclusive 3-course dinners from around the world ―

Every other Thursday starting January 12
Seatings at 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm

Italian January 12th
Mexican January 26th
Vietnamese February 9th
West Coast Artisan February 23rd

$30 + tax for each meal/person

Reservations Required. Visit the Co-op to book.
Limited space available

Holiday Hours


Here are our hohoholiday-hours!


Saturday, Dec. 24:  9 am – 3 pm
Sunday, Dec. 25:  Closed
Monday, Dec. 26:  12 PM – 6 pm
Tuesday Dec. 27:  9 am – 7 pm
Wednesday, Dec. 28:  9 am – 7 pm
Thursday, Dec. 29:  9 am – 7 pm
Friday, Dec. 30:  9 am – 7 pm
Saturday, Dec. 31:  9 am – 3 pm
Sunday, Jan. 1:  Closed


Wednesday, Dec. 21:  9 am– 3 pm
Friday, Dec. 23:  9 am– 3 pm

 Wednesday, Dec. 28:  9 am – 3 pm
Friday, Dec. 30:  9 am– 3 pm

Wednesdays & Fridays
9 am– 3 pm


CIBATA Learning Lunch: Great Food and Great Conversations!


On Thursday Dec 8th, from 12 – 1:30 pm, the Cortes Island Business and Tourism Association will host its new bi-monthly Learning Lunch at the Co-op Café.

The lunch series is designed to bring together Cortes Island citizens who are interested in building a healthy, sustainable economy and improved quality of life on the island through local networking and shared learning.

On December 8th, the presenter is Shannon Baikie, Regional Manager, Community and Labour Market Services North Island Employment Foundations Society (NIEFS). Shannon will be giving a short presentation on the current and future employment environment of the North Island region, and the many resources available for individuals and businesses on Cortes through NIEFS support.

Learn More!


Raffle for Ninja Blender


Sponsored by Nuts To You!


Nuts To You, a Canadian-owned company, is sponsoring a raffle at the Co-op!  Submit your name to win a Ninja Professional Blender.  Put your name in the box by November 30th (only one entry per membership, please). The draw will take place on Thursday, December 1st. 

ninjaDuring our November specials (November 9th – 22nd), Nuts To You Peanut Pecan Butter and Rainforest Nut Butter is on sale.  The Pecan Peanut Butter is an original blend of peanuts from Argentina and pecans from the USA, and Rainforest Nut Butter is a blend of Brazil nuts, cashews and whole coconut.  No salt, sugar or flavouring are added.  Both are non-GMO and gluten-free.

Nuts To You is currently sponsoring community events throughout Canada, and we appreciate their support of our Co-op!  Look for more deals on Nuts To You nut butters throughout the winter, and remember that you’re not only getting the best taste, and quality but you’re also supporting a network of local businesses and other co-ops.


It’s Co-op Week!



Let’s Celebrate Co-op Week!

Being a member of a cooperative means being a part of something larger. The Cortes Natural Food Co-op is celebrating National Co-op Week along with the nearly 50,000 other cooperative businesses serving more than 135 million people across North America.  Co-op Week takes place from October 16th to 22nd in Canada and October is Co-op Month in the United States.

“Cooperatives Build” is the theme this year.  There are so many ways that cooperatives help to build stronger communities and stronger local economies.  Our cooperative had nearly $1.7M in sales last year, with all of those dollars being reinvested in the co-op.  On average, for every dollar spent at a local food co-op, another $1.60 is generated in the local economy.

Consider these ways that co-ops build:

Cooperatives Build Trust

Most co-ops strive to adhere to the seven cooperative principles, which combine to help build trust between the co-op, its members and the community.  For example, the first principle is Voluntary and Open Membership, which means that we are a voluntary organization open to all people to use our services and willing to accept the responsibility of membership. The second principle, Democratic Member Control, gives members a voice in the cooperative’s policies and decisions. Through the fifth principle, Education, Training and Information, co-ops enable their members to contribute to the organization’s development.  At CNFC, we look for educational opportunities whenever possible.  For example, we are participating in Non-GMO month this October through articles and in-store information.  Along with the installation of our new waste-water system, we used grant money for a series of educational panels about clean water, septic systems, and the recent water problems in Hague and Gunflint Lakes.


Cooperatives Build Community

The seventh cooperative principle is Concern for Community. Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through employee involvement in local organizations, through charitable contributions to community efforts and through support for schools.  At CNFC, we consider the whole community in our decision-making processes.  For example, during the land purchase process, we had a number of member visioning session and we relied on volunteers – both as individuals and in committees – throughout the process.  The fund-raising effort depended on all of our members, and we now hold the land in stewardship for the community.  Any future development of the property will certainly involve similar community-based and member-driven processes.


Cooperatives Build Jobs

Cooperatives generate jobs in their communities and keep profits local. Some cooperatives take part in community improvement programs, ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to benefit from the cooperative experience.  At CNFC, we’ve greatly increased employment opportunities over the past five years.  We’ve gone from a schedule of 200 hours per week (5 full-time equivalents) to nearly 320 hours per week (8 full-time equivalents) – and that’s just the winter schedule!  Last summer, we had 37 people on our payroll for a total of 500+ hours per week.  During our last fiscal year, we paid out nearly $320,000 in wages.


Cooperatives Build a Better World

Through all of the above ways, cooperatives build a better world!  For more stories about how co-ops around the world make it a better place through the seven co-operative principles, watch for an upcoming PBS Series documentary. This one-hour documentary follows the work of the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International, celebrating 100 years of cooperatives that build a better world through seven stories featuring members in Washington, Massachusetts, and Mississippi and international projects in Mozambique and East Timor.