Over the weekend, I hit the Kelowna farm trail with gusto – by bike. I had a couple of girlfriends in tow, and our goal was to get some fresh air, get our cardio going, and meet some interesting people who run some of the farms in our city. Oh, and stock up on the very greenest, leafiest, crunchiest spinach; ruby-red strawberries that drip intense strawberry juice when bitten into; and whatever other healthy treats tickled our fancy. We were armed with a Studio & Farm Tour brochure we picked up at our Visitor Centre (544 Harvey Ave), a sense of discovery, and empty saddlebags.
This self-guided map brochure maps out over 50 unique studio, farms, and wineries in the Kelowna area so that visitors can plan to check out more than one spot when driving (or in our case, cycling) to any given part of town. The objective is to allow businesses to cross-market with other agri-tourism businesses nearby and to showcase the sheer diversity of Kelowna’s artisan and farm community. Not only that, but this kind of piece brings out the explorer in people, and that’s what makes travel experiences special.
I met my sidekicks at the Hotel Eldorado, where they were staying for the weekend, and we wandered over to the entrance to the Manteo Resort on Cook Rd, where Monashee Adventure Tours has set up a bike rental station for the summer. A quick chat with the lively and spirited Ed Kruger of Monashee Adventure Tours as he outfitted us with bikes and helmets, and we were off! Our first stop was Old Meadows Farm on Gordon Dr. They will be open in 5 short days (June 30) but kindly opened their doors to give us a sneak peak! Here’s where we walked the fields with Lorena and Jim Wood, picked fresh spinach and strawberries all while learning about the couple’s vision for this certified organic farm, and quizzed them about which restaurants we can visit to find Old Meadows Farm veggies on menus (lots).
Loaded up with goodies, we continued along the Mission Creek Greenway to the Kelowna Farmers and Crafters Market (BC’s biggest farmers market!) and wandered the stands laden with everything from eggs to cheese to breads and fresh produce. It was a bustling and jovial atmosphere, and I introduced my cycling friends to many of the vendors that I know. By the time we left our social meter had ballooned substantially, as had our saddle bags!
We took the Mission Creek Greenway back to the KLO Rd entrance, and reconnected with Benvoulin for a short jaunt to the Pioneer Country Market. Here we sought out the shade of a tree and a picnic table, and enjoyed a fresh and hearty lunch. Okay, we had a “spudnut” or two (their specialty potato doughnuts that they only make on Saturdays), and didn’t feel one iota of guilt about it! We’re cycling, after all… Sperling Vineyards’ wineshop is located right there too, so we popped in for a wine tasting after lunch and got to meet Jill Richardson Branby, whose aunt is the winemaker! And yes, we had a spot left in the saddlebags for a bottle of wine.
We took the Mission Creek Greenway all the way back to the Hotel Eldorado. Mission accomplished and highly successful! Best way to shop for dinner. Ever.