The Old Farm Market at Estevan and Cadboro Bay roads had its soft opening in Oak Bay this month and already, the daily fresh meat pies are flying off the shelf.
Earlier this year Lorne Campbell bought the store, turn-key, from former owners Bill and Sharon Tam who ran it for 37 years as the Food Forum. Campbell opened this one as he’s been running his original Old Farm Market in Duncan to great success.
The Oak Bay store is modelled after the Duncan store, though that one serves locals as well as highway commuters. This one has its own corner of the Oak Bay market and is almost as far from a highway as you can get in Greater Victoria.
Have you been to the new Old Farm Market where the old Food Forum is? It opened this past weekend. pic.twitter.com/9EBdMfGHqY
— Oak Bay News (@OakBayNews) December 12, 2019
READ MORE: Oak Bay’s Food Forum closes after 37 years
“I can’t believe how many people have come in commenting that they’ve been to my other store,” Campbell said. “The reception has been great. People are thrilled.”
The renovated space is decorated with barn wood - some used, some new - and boasts an antique wood-burning kitchen stove (it hosts the condiments for ready-served food).
The idea is to provide a variety of well-priced produce, including local when available, with a deli bar that boasts 200 types of cheese and a sandwich-by-order bar. There’s also hot meat pies, hot soups, Shepherd’s pie and more, all made daily.
There is a plan to expand the pre-made food options for locals in their rush for a hot meal, including dinner.
“The meat pies are very popular and don’t make it past noon so we might need to add more [each day],” Campbell said. “We have rotisserie chicken to go, and we plan to have ribs and wings to go as well.”
About 1,000 of the store’s 6,000 square feet are outside under the covered section along Cadboro Bay Road.
To run the store Campbell hired an entire new staff of 45 people. Store manager Chris Steel worked 14 years at Thrifty Foods and more with Tru Valu Foods on Quadra Island.
Employees range from full-time to part-time Oak Bay teenagers, which continues the tradition set by the Tams at the Food Forum.
“We’re still looking to hire. If people are interested, stop by and inquire,” Campbell said.