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

Colwood baker 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 just the beginning.

Dave and his wife, Cheryl, 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 to the bakery have seen the leaky old single-paned windows and poor insulation replaced with proper insulation and new double-paned windows. These investments will help keep the place warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Dave also upgraded the lighting in the bakery and he’s installed some very warm and comfortable-feeling LED lights that have actually improved the ambience of the space.

Royal Bay Bakery now has state-of-the-art ovens, ensuring less energy is being used in production and less heat is omitted into the bakery (making it cooler in the summer).

“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.”

One of the most interesting aspects of the bakery’s supply chain can be found just across the street in the edible landscaping permaculture food garden that Dave is building on his yard. 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 growing items 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 Cheryl 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 Cheryl’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.

Since the renovations, along with the amazing selection of breads and tasty baked goods, you can also find a nice assortment of hot meals that’ll make your mouth water. 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 more information on Vancouver Island Green Business Certification and a listing of other green businesses visit vigbc.ca.

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