Mitchell Morse is a busy man. He’s a farmer, brewer, baker and business owner, and that’s just the beginning.
Every day, Morse starts baking bread and pastries at 3 a.m. at his Fickle Fig Farm Market on the Saanich Peninsula, north of Victoria, British Columbia. His roadside bistro, market and bakery are a popular spot for drivers and cyclists, who stop to buy house-made products as well as items from area farmers and producers.
Morse, who is originally from rural New York, is a baker by trade. But he started farming five years ago at an off-site, five-acre plot and craved a deeper connection to the community surrounding him.
So he founded the market and bistro on a one-acre property in April 2015, and today it’s grown into quite the enterprise. In addition to baking scones, several types of bread, muffins, bagels and many other styles of pastry, Morse serves a menu of sandwiches, soups and pizzas, which can be eaten at a communal table or taken to-go. He also makes pasta fresh every day.
Sharing a space with an ordering counter and pastry case, Morse has built a small market with shelves of locally-made soap, local wool, several types of pickles and jams and local and free-range meat, all from Morse’s own farm as well as others in the area. Morse’s year-round market means the area’s farmers and artisans don’t have to wait out the off-season, when the area’s seasonal farmers markets are closed, without an income. Instead, they have a consistent source of income thanks to Fickle Fig.
Fickle Fig is a sort of farm in miniature, with several raised beds harboring vegetables and herbs Morse uses in his onsite cooking, a few fruit trees, a trio of adorable miniature goats, two cows, a talkative flock of chickens and – why not – a couple of experimental olive trees. Morse is also growing hops and is currently building out a small brewery at Fickle Fig, which will allow him to serve one dark and one light beer to complement his food.
One of Morse’s other goals with Fickle Fig was to create a community gathering spot, and he’s accomplished that with a big communal table that invites people to talk to each other while they eat, and events like cooking classes. And naturally, the space has so many repeat customers, that neighbors catch up as they order.