WHERE EGGS COME NATURALLY
It’s with 80-acres of lush farmland and views of Mount Baker in the distance that Bill and Helinda Vanderkooi welcomes Highstreet and friends, to the Bakerview EcoDairy. Having both grown up farming in Abbotsford—Helinda on a hobby farm and Bill on a dairy farm—the husband and wife team decided very early on to infuse the values of generational farm life with their thoroughly modern approach to sustainable farming, food production and education.
The result is one of the first EcoDairy’s of its kind that offers not just an escape from city life but an interactive learning centre and theatre, animal exhibit and a chance to see the eco milking process in action (the cows milk themselves!). These values are what also led Bill and Helinda to create Vitala Foods, a fully sustainable dairy foods company that aims to share their vision of consuming healthy, nutritional-rich food, to the world.
A quick tour and it was easy to see this theme—traditional with a modern twist—infused throughout the whole farm as we soon discovered cows that sleep on comfy mattresses and goats scaling the roof!
In June, they will be welcoming Science World onsite where they will create an interactive learning centre for kids and kids-at-heart. “With myself a teacher and Bill the science guy, it seemed like a good fit for both of us to collaborate on. We’re thrilled about the Science World partnership and can’t wait to share it with everyone.”
Science and education were exactly what we came for as the Vanderkoois guide us through two Do-It-Yourself treats for Easter: Natural Easter Egg Dyes and an Eggshell Terrarium—see, it’s always traditional with a twist.
“I like to be resourceful when it comes to crafting. These Eggshell Terrariums are great because they can go directly in the garden,” says Helinda. Adding with a laugh, “I was always known as the teacher who didn’t waste anything!”
DIY: NATURAL EASTER EGG DYES
• White eggs
• White vinegar
• Selection of vegetables, fruits, and spices
• Boiling water
• Glass jars
• Ladles and spoons
• Parchment paper
• Wire rack
• Raspberries = pink
• Red cabbage and blueberries = blue
• Tumeric = yellow
• Carrots and Onions = orange
• Coffee = taupe
• Paprika = warm taupe
• Experiment with amounts of fruits, vegetables, and spices. Cut them, smash them and add hot water and let them sit, and sit, and sit, 30 minutes to a few hours.
• Discard raw materials and add your vinegar. Approximately 1 tbsp. per cup of liquid.
• Immerse your eggs and let them sit, and sit, and sit – overnight or more in the fridge.
• The longer they sit, the more the color intensity will change.
• Remove, let dry on a wire rack with parchment paper below.
• Feel good that you and your family are making natural dyes.
DIY: EGGSHELL TERRARIUM
• Egg cartons
• Little plants that are easy to break apart with the dirt
• Little spoons for filling and patting
• Little ribbons should you desire
• Crack open eggs.
• Discard insides (but keep for a yummy scramble).
• Fill each half with soil and plants.
• Add your own variety of ribbon and décor.
• Put on display as a single inside an eggcup or together in an egg carton.
• Enjoy and plant in the garden, right in the shells (those are good for the garden too!).
The EcoDairy is located at 1356 Sumas Way in Abbotsford. Be on the lookout for Science World, launching this summer and ready for summer visits.