03 Jun our commUNITY: Old Country Market
If you have ever driven up Vancouver Island on your way to the West Coast chances are you have driven past the Old Country Market at Coombs. What originally started as a road side fruit and hamburger stand in 1971 has grown to become a world-wide tourist attraction. This eclectic market has something for everyone, selling everything from produce, pizza and ice cream, to worldly gifts, surf boards, and imported foods.
The largest draw (and by far the most entertaining) are the employees that work on the roof of the Old Country Farm. Willie, Daniel, Nibbles, and Minion are goats that live on and eat the grass from the building’s sod roof. The original market and sod roof started when Kristian Graaten and his wife, emigrated to Canada from Norway (where sod roofs were a regular occurrence) and decided to build one overtop of the market. Legend has it that one night during the Coombs Fall fair they noticed the grass getting longer, a few glasses of wine later and they decided to put goats up there to eat it! They have been their ever since.
This roof not only acts as a source of food and habitat for the goats, it is also environmentally friendly. The sod works as an insulator in the winter time keeping heat in, while promoting evaporation, keeping the building cool in the summer.
Coombs is one of those places that is different every time you stop by, and this year is no different! Billy Gruff’s Creamery has just opened up and serves up some favourite warm weather treats and will soon be featuring their own homemade ice cream.
So the next time you find yourself in the Parksville area stop by and grab one of their famous OMC Burgers (on a fresh Portofino Bun) or an ice cream cone and let your senses run wild with the sights and sounds in Coombs at the Old Country Market.