Saturday, July 26th17.1°C
Ripe With Surprises

Joys of cherry season

Ladies and gentlemen, it is officially cherry season in Kelowna! Time to load up on the beautiful inky-red fruit and sit with a bowl full and a friend to share with – preferably somewhere shady or by the lake. Here are some of my top picks of places to find great, juicy cherries here in Kelowna.

Hillcrest Farm Market – tucked away at the “T” intersection of Highway 33 and Springfield Road, this family-owned and run orchard and farm market offers so much! Their cherries are big and bold-flavoured, and they are shipping them all over the world, but keeping a helping for us in town, too. They sell veggies and preserves from their farm market while their café offers a range of goodies from mouthwatering baked goods made by an in-house pastry chef to some seriously addicting Butter-Chicken Pizza. Just make sure that these temptations don’t distract you from the star of the day: Hillcrest’s cherries.

Sun City Cherries – On Lakeshore Road as you climb the hill toward the wineries, you’ll find Sun City Cherries on the left side of the road. I recently stopped in at this market to pick up a bag of plump, sweet Silvia cherries as I was heading to Bertram Beach to swim, and the market was already buzzing with patrons. It was a tough call, as I stood deciding which bag to get… they also have those delicious yellow cherries, and then there’s the ice cream!

Don-O-Ray Vegetables – I love visiting Don-O-Ray and seeing the cornucopia of veggies and fruit available at this market! And yes, my friends, they have cherries too! Stop in at this market on Benvoulin Road, just past KLO, and pick up some of these summer treats along with any of your other vegetable requirements for the week – you just can’t go wrong!


Arndt Orchards and Kempf Orchards – Tucked up in the scenic Belgo bench of Kelowna (Teasdale Road), Arndt Orchards has been growing cherries since 1946 and their neighbours, Kempf Orchards have been growing cherries since 1966. These orchards offers already-picked cherries or u-pick cherries. Make a morning or afternoon of the excursion, and then you get to really enjoy the fruits of your labour (pun intended) once you get back to your hammock.

Kelowna Farmers and Crafters Market – Our farmers market is in full swing and overflowing with all manner of fruit and veggie at this time of the year. With over 165 stands, it’s the biggest farmers market in the province, and you can be sure to find a whole variety of cherries at the various stands in this season.

And just because Everyone Loves Pie… here is a fabulous cherry pie recipe from Paynter’s Fruit Market in West Kelowna – another great place to find sun-kissed fruit picked by the dedicated hands of Jennay Oliver and her team of worker bees. And yes, of course – they have cherries! (And so many other wonderful fruit, including some of the best melon I have ever tasted, enormous peaches, and loads of other produce. Oh, and ice cream!)

There are many other great spots to find this tasty superfood here in Kelowna. To search for locations close to you, check out our Farm Markets and Fruit Stands page on Tourism Kelowna’s website.


Vineyard shows this summer

One of the great luxuries of our Kelowna summers must be going to see a show in the romantic setting of our verdant vineyards. This summer, a number of wineries in Kelowna have special events taking place on their magnificent grounds, spanning the disciplines of theatre, music, and art. Here are some ideas to fill your calendar with cultural happenings among the vines.


Shakespeare at the Villa:

The beautiful backdrop of the Okanagan Villa and Vibrant Vines winery are once again home to Shakespeare Kelowna as they launch their third season of Shakespeare at the Villa with performances of Much Ado About Nothing on the nights of July 16 to 20 and July 23 through 27, starting at 7 p.m. The East Kelowna winery’s stunning grounds and manicured gardens will set the stage for an evening of comedic courtship, Shakespeare-style. Plan to arrive early to check out the 3-D Vibrant Vines tasting room, taste their wines, and enjoy some Bellissimo Pizza, for sale in the wine shop, before the play starts.

Tickets for Shakespeare Kelowna’s production of “Much Ado About Nothing” presented by Castanet are on sale now for $25 at Tickets will also be available at the door on performance nights at Okanagan Villa Estate Winery located at 3240 Pooley Rd.


Encounters with Iceland at Mission Hill:

This spectacular West Kelowna winery is a hub of culture this summer, with sold-out performances by the Gypsy Kings and the iconic Tony Bennett throughout August, as well as an intriguing sculpture exhibit all around the winery’s grounds on now through October. I went to the opening of this sculpture exhibit, and it really is an incredible addition to the winery’s cultural offerings. Works by the Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir are placed in well-considered spots around the winery, each one offering visitors a sense of surprise akin to a scavenger hunt. The sculptures use a variety of materials, from aluminum to clay to bronze, each chosen to convey a specific relationship with the natural environment of Iceland, and yet each one also working in perfect stride with the pieces’ new home at Mission Hill winery. To see the full exhibit, be sure to book a tour at Mission Hill next time you go since there are some pieces placed in the winery’s cellar that you won’t want to miss.


Wines and Tunes:

For those of us who love live music, the summer offers a special treat in that a number of wineries will bring the concerts outdoors among the vines. You’ll find all kinds of music in vineyard settings, from jazz or rock (like the weekend concerts at Vibrant Vines winery or CedarCreek’s sold out Chantal Kreviatzuk concert on July 17, and their sold-out Barenaked Ladies concert on September 5) to classical as I’ll explain next.


At Quails’ Gate Estate Winery on August 15, 16, and 17, audiences will be treated to a momentous production of The Lake opera. There will be only three performances of this historically significant opera, and tickets are still available through Quails’ Gate’s website, so be sure to secure your tickets. The significance of this performance is that 60 years after its debut, Barbara Pentland’s historic opera is “going home” to its actual setting, the 1873 home of British settlers Susan and John Allisons, “Sunnyside Ranch,” now Quails’ Gate Winery in West Kelowna. It promises to be an unforgettable evening of aural history based on the true life story of pioneer Susan Allison’s sighting of the creature of the lake and the vibrant contemporary culture of the Westbank First Nation set in the vineyards of Quails’ Gate Winery. The evening will feature soprano Heather Pawsey as Susan Allison and Turning Point Ensemble.

Tickets are $45 for adults, $25 for students, or a packaged reception & performance ticket for $90. There are also dinner and performance tickets available for Friday (August 15) and Saturday (August 16) evenings starting at 6 p.m. with the show time at 8 p.m. for $135. And on Sunday (August 17), a packaged ticket for brunch and the performance (starting at noon, and the show time is at 2 p.m.) for $135. Additionally, there is a Wine Dinner & Show option for $175 at which audience members can enjoy a sophisticated 3-course dinner with wine pairings at Quails Gate’s Old Vines Restaurant, which includes access to the original 1873 Allison House and VIP show seating. 


Leafy Ohmmmms:

Every Sunday morning (9 a.m. -- 11:30 a.m.) through August 31 at CedarCreek Estate Winery, come out and enjoy an hour long yoga class from an instructor of Oranj Fitness, followed by brunch in their Vineyard Pavilion. For more information, please visit CedarCreek’s website or call the winery.

A new museum comes to town

It was a thrill to enter the brand new Westbank First Nation Sncəwips Heritage Museum last Saturday, when the ribbon was cut and doors first opened onto what will surely become a keystone museum for the Central Okanagan. The museum houses the art and artefact collection of the Westbank First Nation’s heritage repository, and marks the shift of this repository into a fully recognized museum, now named Sncəwips (pronounced sen-ch-wee-ps) Heritage Museum. The space focuses on the heritage of WFN and the stories of the Okanagan Nation, and First Nations people across Canada and abroad. It is a true celebration of the heritage, language, and natural history of the syilx/ Okanagan people.

On opening day, the public was invited into the new museum, located at Estates Square in West Kelowna to celebrate the creation of the museum and beauty of the art and artefacts inside it. I was excited to immerse myself and learn about the history here, and I lingered at every interpretive plaque to read about the pictographs, uses of natural materials to create beautiful and utilitarian baskets and tools, traditional foods, and the legends that offer glimpses into this culture, rooted as it is in our unique geography. I will have to go back many times to fully appreciate the collection and stories found at this museum.

To me, it was also very much representative of the vitality and aliveness of syilx culture today, and into the future. The museum is involved in community events – for instance, it was open for National Aboriginal Day (June 21), and will also be open on Canada Day between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The museum is also involved in the Westside Culture Days on September 26, 27, and 28, where the goal is to connect local artists and local businesses in West Kelowna.

In general, the museum is open to the public Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on select holidays. I highly recommend taking in this museum and appreciating all it has to offer. There is so much to discover here, and it offers a beautiful glimpse into a worldview that is very much a result of this unique geography, climate, and ecosystem. This museum is truly a gift from the Westbank First Nation back to the whole community throughout the Central Okanagan and indeed the broader valley. And I can’t think of a better way to thank someone for their gift than by showing them respect for it and incorporating it into our lives as much as we can.


Run a half-marathon? Yes, you can!

September 6th may seem like a long way away, but if running a half marathon has been something you’ve thought about, now is the time to start planning and training. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or not, this is an achievable goal and a gift to your strength and stamina. Just ask my colleague Jenny: at one time she joked that she would only run if she was being chased. But once she learned about the Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon coming in September, she got inspired. She signed up for a running clinic. This year will be her second run at the Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon, and with Fresh Air’s upcoming Half Marathon Clinic (starting on June 10 and culminating with the September 6 race), you can set this goal for yourself, too.

So what’s this Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon all about? It’s the only Canadian Destination Races Wine Country Half-Marathon, and is part of a series of other similar half-marathon races in the United States. All seven races are organized by professional race planners, Destination Races, whose motto is “Cool Races in Beautiful Places.” The run will begin at Vibrant Vine Vineyards in East Kelowna, and the course takes runners through the beautiful vineyard and orchard-lined back roads of Kelowna, stopping in at Tantalus Vineyards (for a tasting, no less!) before descending to lake-level and finishing at Waterfront Park with a Wine Festival at the finish line. For any health-minded, wine-loving, exploration-oriented runner, this will be a race not to be missed.

Last year, Kelowna vied for the prestigious event against other Canadian wine country locations, and we are proud that the organizers felt an affinity with our scenic and recreation-loving city to award the event to our city for the first time last September. It will be a three-day long festival to celebrate running, wine, and healthy lifestyle. Do you have a fitness-fiend family member or friend who likes to visit you in Kelowna? Sign up together and show them this part of the Kelowna lifestyle – it always helps to have a partner in a challenge like this.

As for you, fellow fair-weather runner, here’s how to do it: Fresh Air’s Half Marathon Clinic is set for Tuesdays and Saturdays throughout the summer (group runs), and will plot out the healthy and maintainable path to a half-marathon for you so that by the time September 6 comes around, you’ll be ready and capable to meet the task. Cost for the clinic is $99 for the 13-week clinic or $189 for both the clinic and the race (since the race entry cost for an individual is $100, there’s a savings to be had with this combo). Fresh Air is also throwing in a T-shirt, training manual, weekly instructional talks, and $20 Fresh Air gift card. As far as gifts to yourself go, this one pretty much tops the charts.

See what I mean? Totally achievable. And totally motivational. Now all we need to seal the deal is this registration form and a nice glass of Riesling.

Read more Ripe with Surprises articles


About the Author

Catherine is the Media Relations Manager for Tourism Kelowna and is dedicated to building Kelowna's intrigue as a travel destination through her work with the travel media. In her role she is fortunate to find out about Kelowna's many secret gems attractions, activities, and interesting people that are a surprise for travel media, tourists, and even for residents. This column gives her the chance to share with you the many things that make Kelowna unique and unforgettable so that you can glean ideas of places to visit or take guests when they come to town.

For more information visit Tourism Kelowna's blog at
[email protected]

or, on Twitter at:  @TKCatherine and @Tourism_Kelowna

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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