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The West's best places to live

Entrepreneur? Artist? Raising a family? Behold: the West's best spots to suit your lifestyle

Salt Spring Island, B.C.
Photo by José Mandojana; written by Mike Grudowski

Salt Spring Island, B.C.: Grow your own everything

Population: Approx. 10,000. Median single-family home price: $569,300 U.S.

Different veggies grown: 47

Take a trial run: Michael Ableman’s Foxglove Farm has two cottages and a log house. From $149 U.S.; foxglovefarmbc.ca

A is for apples—more than 350 kinds grow within Salt Spring’s 74 square miles, including such rarities as Duchess of Oldenburg. B is for bananas—the tropical fruit grows here too. This rugged isle, off Vancouver Island’s eastern shore, also has the rest of the alphabet covered (like C for carrots), thanks to a Mediterranean climate that serves as the perfect greenhouse.

“We can eat out of the garden 12 months a year,” says Dan Jason, whose company, Salt Spring Seeds, markets some 600 varieties of seeds.

“In a way, the island is returning to its agrarian roots,” says Michael Ableman, a Californian who now works the soil at Foxglove Farm, where he grows dozens of kinds of fruits and vegetables. “I’ve been here for 10 years, and I’m continually discovering things I had no idea were here.”

Runners-up: Humboldt County, CA; San Luis Obispo, CA; Willamette Valley, OR

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