Are you one of the Delta residents that has yet to discover the St. Jean’s Cannery & Smokehouse Market, situated in the Tilbury Industrial Park along the Fraser River?
First opened in 2017, St. Jean’s Market is the modern shopping space attached to the front portion of the company’s shipping warehouse. It features floor-to-ceiling windows, steel beams and cedar, and fully stocked shelves with unique seafood products.
Since Tilbury is a high growth area with some 300 businesses and 8,000 employees, the need for more lunch options during the workweek is very real. St. Jean’s is filling the gap with its new lunch program, which addresses feeding folks, along with the popular seafood options in their store.
If you haven’t visited St. Jean’s Market yet, here are five reasons you need to visit next time you’re in the neighbourhood:
1. First Nations owned, with a Canadian back-story
St. Jean’s founder, Armand St. Jean was born in 1913 in Quebec, became a pro-wrestler, made his way West, married, then settled his family on Vancouver Island in the 1950s. So impressed by the bounty of fresh seafood on the West Coast, he started his own small business by cooking oysters in his home kitchen, smoking them in a shed he built behind his garage, and selling them in bars across Nanaimo.
Armand eventually built the cannery that still runs as the last operating tuna cannery in Canada, one of the last salmon canneries and is truly something to celebrate and support here in B.C. Armand’s son Gerard kept the business growing and is well known by most of the fishermen in Ladner. In 2015, majority ownership was transferred to the Nuu-chah-nulth, five Indigenous nations who play a huge part in B.C.’s sustainable seafood economy.
2. New grab ‘n go lunches
“Locals in the Tilbury area are hungry!” laughs Raincoast Trading brand manager Kim Stockburn.
Referring to the fact that take-out lunch options are few in this busy industrial park, Stockburn tells us about a brand-new partnership with Mr. Mom’s World Catering, the in-house catering company at East Delta Hall. A new menu of meals has been curated for the market, all of which can be heated by microwave or toaster oven at the customer’s workplace or home. Dishes include tuna casserole, mac and cheese with salmon, a charcuterie box, salmon potpie, and mouth-watering fish tacos.
3. The seafood market
“Many people don’t realize we have a massive retail space here,” says Stockburn. The market is fully stocked with shelves and coolers of all the super high-quality seafood products St. Jean’s is known for. Nods to the history of this Canadian cannery and the brand itself are mixed into the décor of the retail space, creating a real sense of place while you shop.
“Everyone loves the canned salmon and albacore tuna varieties of course, but we have a ton of frozen seafood like smoked salmon lox, candied salmon strips, fish filets for BBQ, and spot prawns when in season.”
Pantry essentials like jarred antipasto with albacore tuna, tins of hardwood smoked Salt Spring Island mussels, butter clams, superfoods like sardines (try the dill and parsley flavour), and specialty items like black cod lox, and albacore tuna lox that will elevate your bagel to a whole new level.
The impressive range of cookbooks and ready-to-go baskets make for great food-lover gifts and “a whole line of pet food, all done in our cannery, is available. And yes, pets are welcome in our store!” says Stockburn.
4. Sustainable, Ocean Wise products
All St. Jean’s seafood is 100% sustainable and endorsed by the much-respected Ocean Wise™ conservation program, meaning it is an environmentally-friendly seafood choice you can feel good about buying.
5. Sport fishing processing
Fun (and little known) fact: the retail market in Tilbury has a warehouse in the back that provides a drop and pickup location for their custom sport fishing processing.
Stockburn says, “people go fishing, catch something, and need a facility to process it. Maybe you don’t want the whole fish to be just sides to BBQ, maybe you’d like some of it smoked or canned. So, people drop it off here to us, then we ship to Nanaimo, they process your fish, then ship it back here to pick up, or directly to you.”
For more information, visit stjeans.com or call (604) 270-3384. The store is open Monday to Friday 10-4 p.m.