Support our community

The universe has been in my face this week, showing me signs that seem to be saying I need to get in the game, be a part of things.

I see things that make me sad, and the signs are telling me I will be even sadder if I don’t try and change those things. It all comes down to supporting our community.

The first sign was relatively subtle. Hubby and I were walking in downtown Kelowna and we went past a restaurant we had been to a few times over the years. The thing was, it wasn’t there.

The building looked empty.

“Ah, that’s a shame,” we said. “It was a fun place.”

We felt a bit better when we chose to eat at a place that had to close on the Westside due to troubles with vandalism.

The Thai Terrace is busy now in its location on Water Street and we had a lovely evening – delicious food and attentive service on the patio with a view of City Park.

We were happy to be supporting an independent local business.

The second sign was news I heard, about the fate of the early fruit harvests here in the Okanagan. The cherries have suffered with the rain that came so close to picking time, leaving a smaller amount for consumers and a deficit for farmers.

Can you imagine losing up to 60% of your salary?

Apricot farmers are even worse off due to our unusual winter weather.

Late warm days at the end of 2018 meant the trees were tricked into coming out of dormancy and buds started to form. The cold snap in February froze those buds and left the trees without the ability to form fruit for this season.

The odd apricot is out there, but certainly the international market will be without Okanagan apricots this summer.

Having apricot jam in our pantry makes us very fortunate. This morning, as I frugally spread some on my toast, I felt a bit like a pioneer, savouring the flavours preserved from another time.

I will be diligent in my canning this year.

The sign that really made me sit up and take notice was in the form of a tiny 99-year-old woman. That might sound like a fairy tale, but her stories were anything but that, although they did have a happy ending – she is still here.

I saw a Facebook post about an author speaking about stories from her life, and the book she wrote. Being a history buff on the Second World War, I was intrigued.

The third time the post showed up in my feed I decided I should attend the event.

I am so glad that Chabad Okanagan organized a visit by Marthe Cohn. This little spitfire of a woman talked for two hours, telling the packed conference room of tales of her time in the French Resistance, being a Jew in occupied France in the 1940s.

What struck me most was not what I thought would affect me from her stories. I had read of the atrocities perpetrated on the Jews in Europe during the war, and I have visited a concentration camp.

Her memories must have been so intense, and so numerous, but she didn’t speak of that.

Marthe Cohn spoke of her missions to gain information and help others trying to get away. What she stressed though, was how grateful she was for people who had helped her.

People in her community who had risked their safety, their lives and the lives of their families, to help her to make the world a better place. She was doing the same thing, but she wanted to be sure we knew how important their help was.

I left the room that night thinking that some of the reason this woman is still going strong at 99 years old must be her positive attitude, her will to do more and help others. She was gracious, and she had a wonderful smile.

All of us are not cut out to be spies, but we can all do something. Support our local small businesses – get out to a community restaurant or coffee shop (Starbucks and Boston Pizza will still survive even if they see us a bit less often).

Support our farmers and their workers. (We don’t need to buy our cherries at Walmart, even if we do stop there for other things.)

All these efforts support our community.

  • Look out for your neighbours.
  • Pick up a piece of garbage on the ground.
  • Donate to the Food Bank.

You never know; it might increase your life span.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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