Vancouver Island’s Aunt Penny’s Antipasto has been delighting Island foodies for more than 30 years! Photo courtesy Country Grocer

It’s Island Good: Aunt Penny’s finds recipe for success

Fresh ingredients and a commitment to quality stand the test of time

When you have a recipe for success, why change it?

And so it is for the Island’s Aunt Penny’s Antipasto, which has been delighting Island foodies for more than 30 years!

During her previous work in the food industry, Sharon Ryper had forged a relationship with Penny Gordon, who had founded Aunt Penny’s back in 1985 with a single, classic recipe.

“It started out that Penny was making the antipasto for friends and they said it was so good, that she had to try selling it,” Sharon says.

Penny grew the line to three varieties shortly after launching, and later added a peach chutney. Together, they earned Penny’s a following among those looking for a tasty, locally crafted product perfect for entertaining, a great gift idea or to enjoy with favourite foods. She quickly added a vegetarian version that was recognized by the Canadian Association of Specialty Foods.

After close to 30 years, it was time for Penny to retire, but not before sharing her recipe with a new generation of “Penny’s,” Sharon and husband Dan Chaisson.

Today, the two continue to source all the ingredients themselves – locally whenever possible – and oversee production from start to finish. The antipasto is processed by another well-known Island name, Nanaimo’s St. Jean’s Cannery, and available in stores throughout Vancouver Island and as far as the Okanagan, where it’s a hot commodity in the wine shops, Sharon says.

It’s Island Good

Aunty Penny’s Antipasto is one of numerous Vancouver Island producers and growers participating in Island Good, an initiative with four Island grocers to increase consumer awareness of Island-made and Island-grown food products.

The Vancouver Island Economic Alliance pilot project, in all Island Quality Foods, Country Grocer (except for Salt Spring), Thrifty Foods, and 49th Parallel stores through August, aims to increase demand for products made and/or grown on the Island.

Shoppers can look for ‘Island Good’ stickers, posters and other signage highlighting these Island products in all store departments.

“We’ve been thrilled with the interest Vancouver Islanders have shown in the Island Good program since it launched and as we come into summer, those opportunities to shop local, source local and eat local will be even greater,” says VIEA President George Hanson. “Shoppers have shown us that identifying Island Good options is important to them and we know that will lead to increased production, more jobs and more production capacity.”

Look for the Island Good tags, enjoy local food and support our local economy: It’s Island Good!

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