All last week, Tourism Kelowna was sharing tweets and Facebook posts in appreciation of farmers. The occasion was the September 8 through 15 Farmer Appreciation Week, a time for us to reflect on the vital work and contribution to our community that farmers undertake.
Although today is the final day of the official appreciation week, it’s essential to keep the spirit of the week alive throughout the rest of the year. There are several ways to do this in Kelowna. One of the best ways to appreciate the work and care that goes into farming is to take the time to visit a local farm that is open to the public. There are several in Kelowna, which accounts for the popular Farm to Table brochure offered by Tourism Kelowna. The brochure is available both in print and online, as well as a detailed description of the participating businesses on our Farm to Table webpage. Part of the experience is to see local farm ingredients incorporated into the beautiful dishes at local restaurants. Several restaurants participate in Tourism Kelowna’s Farm to Table program. Just check out the webpage or online brochure to find out which ones, and then show your support for local farmers by supporting the restaurants who work with them.
Another great way to connect with our local farmers is to visit the Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market on Wednesday and Saturday mornings at the corner of Springfield and Dilworth, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. At this time of the year you’ll find over 150 stands teaming with late summer/early fall vegetables and fruit. If you love cooking with local produce or preserving the intense flavours of summer in jars to enjoy later in the year, you’ll love a visit to our farmers’ market. Of the 125+ farmers’ markets in BC, you’ll be proud to know that Kelowna’s is one of the largest.
You can also buy produce directly from a local farm. Did you know that BC has almost 20,000 farm operations, and that 98% of them are family farms (Statistics Canada, 2011)? Just last week, our staff at Tourism Kelowna picked up 200 lbs of local pears from Gambell Farms. We spent 2 delightful evenings canning the pears and will get to enjoy the flavours in the colder months, when we can all use a little reminder of the tastes of summer.
No matter how or when you choose to mark Farmer Appreciation Week, the important thing is that you take a moment to appreciate the abundance of where we live, and the care that goes into the amazing produce we have access to. It’s in our backyard to celebrate – let’s make sure to mark the occasion.
There’s something special about sculpture exhibits. The ability to walk around a piece of art work and to admire it from each perspective adds a dimension to exhibits, a personal note. This has been the prevailing mood at Mission Hill Family Estate the last few times I’ve been there, with the current sculpture exhibit throughout the winery’s grounds. Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir’s life-size sculptures are on display at Mission Hill until this October. They are placed in thoughtful areas throughout the winery’s grounds, both indoors and outdoors, beginning with 2 “wall climbers” positioned on the external wall of the winery as you enter through the gates, signaling that there are further life-size surprises inside.
I’ve been there several times this summer, and on each visit I’ve seen winery guests posing with the sculptures: kneeling with the two above the amphitheater, sitting by the one gazing into the water fountain, or in the barrel cellar, sitting with one in the shadows on the landing. In each case the sculptures have intrigued guests to interact in some way. They are earthy and ethereal, ghostly and visceral.
In celebration of this exhibit, Mission Hill is partnering with Icelandair for a social media photo contest. From August 21 to September 30, 2014 guests visiting Mission Hill can capture the beauty of the ‘Encounters with Iceland’ exhibit by sharing their photos of the sculptures of Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir through Facebook for a chance to win two complimentary round-trip tickets to Iceland courtesy of Icelandair. For complete contest details, visit the Mission Hill website at www.missionhillwinery.com.
With more than 40 of Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir's exhibited at Mission Hill through to October 2014, the photo opportunities are endless. Guests are encouraged to select images that depict the sculptures surrounded by the dynamic architecture of the winery and the beauty of the natural surroundings.
Don’t miss this chance to enjoy the beautiful sculptures on display at Mission Hill until October, to taste the portfolio of Mission Hill’s wines, and to browse in their bustling gift shop. It’s a must-visit exhibit this summer, punctuated by a sense of discovery and surprise when you find another sculpture around each corner. Who knows, maybe your beautifully composed photograph will win you a pair of tickets to Iceland… where no doubt there will be many more wonderful surprises to be discovered around each corner!
Late summer is the perfect time to take a breather from the bustle of our downtown and our beaches, and find tranquility out on the trails around Kelowna. Since I’ve written about mountain biking and hiking in previous columns, I thought I’d focus on a different way to get out on our local trails, by horseback.
Those of you who ride horses will know about the peace and in-the-moment clarity that possesses you when you take your horse out on a trail. It is an exquisite sense of “now” in which you must surrender your undivided attention to the trail and the horse, no “multi-tasking” allowed. You find yourself moving to the rhythm of the animal, your awareness piqued and yet your mind is still.
From this vantage point, the trail ahead is full of beauty and awe. You may see wildlife, you may be more sensitive to the colours and textures of nature, or the way that the light plays through the trees. And the wide valley we live in here in Kelowna lends itself to majestic views when you come upon the clearings.
Whether you know what you’re doing on horseback or are new to the experience, you can treat yourself to a ride in the Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park when you saddle-up up for a trail ride at the Kelowna Stables at Myra Canyon Ranch. They offer a range of trail rides, from customized rides to classic tried-and-true excursions, to kids’ rides. Explore their website for all the information and check out their social media channels to see some beautiful photos of the trails you can explore on horseback. There is a wealth of information on this website.
If you are from out of town and enjoy travelling with your own horse, you’ll be pleased to hear that you can board your horse at this B&B, the Myra Canyon Ranch. Information on boarding is also available on their website.
If exploring our trails by foot is more your speed, be sure to visit our Hiking Information page for a listing of the trails in the Kelowna area.
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.
Read more Ripe with Surprises articles
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- A new museum comes to town Jun 23
- Run a half-marathon? Yes, you can! Jun 9
- Food & wine writers pour into Kelowna May 26
- Biking bliss in Kelowna May 12
- Golf golf golf! Apr 14
- Reflections on tourism Mar 31
- Sweet song of Spring Mar 3
- Local businesses see CCC action Feb 17
- National chefs to compete in Kelowna Feb 3
- Wine and Dine comes to Kelowna Jan 20
- A guide for all seasons Jan 6
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