ISLAND PROFILE: THE OLD COUNTRY MARKET AT COOMBS

Mostly famously known for the family of goats on the roof, the Old Country Market in the small community of Coombs is well known and loved by tourists and locals alike. It used to be a place I insisted on visiting at least yearly, but lately it’s become an itinerary staple every time I visit Vancouver Island.

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Goats On The Roof
Photo: tempest_kat on Flickr

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Andrea and I stopped by en route back to the ferries this weekend to take in the sights, smells and sunshine.

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Grabbing a generous portion of Island Farms ice cream is a must, and the Old Country Market’s Ice Cream Shack houses the entire collection of flavours! That makes this island girl very happy – aside from mint chocolate chip, banana fudge is my favourite and it’s tough to find.

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While the ice cream is always a highlight, I can hardly ever get away without snagging a loaf or two of the Market’s rosemary and cheese bread. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have it for dinner tonight – toasted with fresh butter.

Rosemary & Cheese Bread
Photo: miss604 on Flickr

Nestled onto a very special spot just off Highway 4, the Old Country Market at Coombs is a short drive from Parksville and about 40 minutes north of Nanaimo.


Photo: The Old Country Market at Coombs

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Operating for over 30 years, the Market has always remained within one family and grows more and more each year. What started as essentially a roadside stand selling fresh and local produce, the Market now offer intriguing imports, local foods, international foods, souvenirs, an incredible selection of plants and flowers, handmade crafts from artists both local and abroad and nothing short of a few surprises.

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Aside from the Market, there’s an entire community of stores run by local proprietors selling more than you can imagine. I’m endlessly drawn to all the pottery and can’t wait to add more to my collection.

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Even after countless visits, there’s always something new to see, a new shop to explore or tantalizing foods to tempt your tongue with.

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That’s a whole lotta Island Farms dairy products. What I wouldn’t do to find just one downtown Vancouver grocery store that carries such a top-notch line of truly flavourful (and humanely-produced) moo juice.

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The Old Country Market at Coombs is also a fantastic place to stop before a trip to Englishman River Falls, Parksville Beach or even Tofino – it’s got everything you’d need for a unique picnic experience under one thatched roof. And yes, it’s open all year… even on blustery winter days.

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Coombs, BC
Photo: miss604 on Flickr

The Old Country Market is located at 2326 Alberni Highway in Coombs, British Columbia and is open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, you can call the Market at (250) 248-6272 or visit their website.

Jordy, Charley and myself are participating in this year’s BC-SPCA Paws For A Cause. Click here to read more about my personal fund-raising effort. If you would like to donate, hop on over to my personal campaign page. Many thanks for your generosity!

3 Comments on “ISLAND PROFILE: THE OLD COUNTRY MARKET AT COOMBS

  1. The highlight of island travel during the summer is that stop at Coombs for fresh bread and an ice cream (Caramel Explosion!) I could spend hours in the market itself exploring all the import foods and gifts let alone all the shops that surround the market. Next time we need to plan a longer stopover and hit the mystic, pottery and antique shops!

  2. Nice … makes me want to return like yesterday. A perfect day perfectly captured. Thanks to you and your mummy for an amazing day!

  3. ha! that was one of my first jobs! I worked in the restaurant there…. I bought my first horse from Andy Graaten, the owner, for $75 a month. I still have the typed up agreement we signed.

    That’s one of the few places I miss from the Island. :)

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