One of the brochures we pick up at the Visitor Centre is called "Salt Spring Studio Tour." It's a description, together with a map, of 34 working studios on the island that welcome tourists. There are lots of pottery, jewelry, wood, and fabric studios. The two that snag our attention are the Salt Spring Island Bread Company, and Salt Spring Island Cheese. Both of them are near Ruckle Park, and so after one of our visits there, we tour first the bread studio, then the cheese place.
We follow the signs (the main roads have signs to each studio together with the numbers on the map—pretty well coordinated) and come to a long, picturesque driveway that leads to a quaint yard, and a path to the 'bakery.'
Our brochure describes the Salt Spring Island Bread Co. as "Organic artisan baking in a wood fired oven." (Salt Spring Island Bread Co. website.)
They are indeed baking bread in a brick oven, and there are rows and rows of loaves rising on the table waiting for their turn. There are also stacks of yummy-looking pizza-cheese breads already baked along with many other kinds. One of the workers even opens the oven for me so I can take a picture of the bread that's now baking!
Every bread type looks rustic and yummy. What to buy? We finally decide on a loaf of fruit and ginger bread. Later, we enjoy it slathered with butter and hunks of cheese, along with coffee—and I feel just like Heidi!
Our next stop is Salt Spring Island Cheese ("Handmade goat & sheep cheeses. Free tastings, tours—beautiful courtyard for picnics." - and we do eat our lunch in the courtyard after our tour.)
As we walk around the plant, we see information posters that describe the cheese-making process (and here is Cheese-making 101 as described on their website). There are also large windows perfect for viewing what's going on inside. The place looks very clean and wet. All the workers wear hair nets and gum boots. As we watch a woman sprays the floor with water. The inside of the windows are covered with droplets.
Here are some of the steps of cheese-making we observe. We notice that they are packaging cheese for Costco.
Our self-directed tour ends in the store, where there are crackers and spreads, along with every flavour of cheese to try. We end up buying a plain goat cheese, which it turns out neither of us is crazy about... something hot, like the chili or peppercorn would have been a better choice. As you can see, there are a lot of cheeses and spreads to choose from!