Dave Grove of Colwood’s Royal Bay Bakery stands in his garden at his home. He grows herbs

Colwood baker is the king of green

Royal Bay Bakery has efficient building, focuses on local ingredients

Dave Grove is a baker with a green twist. Like most people in his trade, he works and lives on a different schedule than most. He’s usually up before daylight. While he’s often crafting his tasty treats near dawn, it doesn’t mean he isn’t taking advantage of the daylight. In fact, you’ll find 16 solar panels upon the roof of Royal Bay Bakery on Metchosin Road, and that’s not all.

Dave and his wife, Gwen Snyder, have taken a top-down approach to making their business as efficient as possible. The solar panels feed electric vehicle charging stations and also add power for an on-demand hot water heating system.

Recent renovations have seen the leaky old single-paned windows and poor insulation replaced with proper insulation and new double-paned windows. These investments will help retain warmth in winter and keep it cool in the summer. Dave also upgraded the lighting in the bakery with some warm and comfortable-feeling LED lights that have actually improved ambience in the space.

Royal Bay Bakery now has state-of-the-art ovens, ensuring less energy is used in production and less heat is omitted into the bakery.

“Since the renovations a year ago, we have actually seen a dramatic upswing in business,” Dave says. “We were a little worried during the renovations, having made considerable investments into the space and equipment, but we have been busier than ever in the past several months. Plus, the energy savings for our business in the long run will be significant.”

A key aspect of the bakery’s supply chain is across the street in the edible landscaping permaculture food garden that Dave is building. What looks like an ordinary front yard from the street, is actually a food producing landscape that provides the bakery with fresh herbs, spices and berries in summer.

The long list of items being grown includes figs, elderberries, mulberry, kale, peas, vetch, goumi, grapes, goji, peach, asparagus, cordon apples, Mediterranean herbs, oca, tulips, daffodils, josta berries, blueberries, currants and more.

Dave and Gwen source and process the best ingredients they can get their hands on. This includes free-range poultry; grass-fed, non-medicated beef and pork; free-range eggs; organic flour and unsalted butter. When in season, they also source fresh local produce and fruit. This includes herbs, vegetables, and berries from their garden and honey from their very own bees.

Recently, Royal Bay Bakery was certified at the highest level, “Green,” by the Vancouver Island Green Business Certification. The bakery is a nearly zero-waste business. While many restaurants have to pay to have their food scraps removed, the staff at Royal Bay simply have to walk across the street to Dave and Gwen’s garden to empty the food scraps into the onsite composting area. The scraps then compost down and are used on the crops grown in the permaculture garden. Talk about closing the food security loop.

Stop in for a sandwich, salad, soup or maybe just a donut. You’ll be glad you did!  Plus, you can feel good knowing that you are supporting one of the greenest operations in town.

For information on Vancouver Island Green Business Certification and a listing of other green businesses, visit vigbc.ca.

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