Local food (much of it organic and sustainably farmed) is readily available and surprisingly affordable at markets and restaurants, where the region’s mix of traditional family agriculture and high-tech farming (like Farmcrest Foods, Canada’s first verified non-GMO chicken farm, or the fully automated “robotic” Brandsma Dairy Farm) is the pride of the community.
By Charlene Rooke
FARM TO GLASS
The so-called “triang-ale trail” of Kamloops, the Shuswap and Vernon area has its own B.C. Ale Trail, with six microbreweries on tap. And there are now over half a dozen wineries, including award-winning Ovino and new Marionette Winery in Salmon Arm (download a route map to tour them at shuswapwineries.ca), developing B.C.’s next hot wine region.
The Salmon Arm Fall Fair happens September 6 to 8 and includes everything from horse shows to livestock. The annual Fungi Festival in Sicamous on September 27 to 29 has walks and talks led by a mushroom biologist, mushroom-themed food classes, crafts and art. Do yoga with goats or experience Family Daze in the Corn Maze in October at Vernon’s historic O’Keefe Ranch. Fintry Fall Fair on September 8, the Enderby Pumpkin Festival at Green Croft Gardens and Harvest Pumpkin Festival Family Fun Day in October are other harvest celebration dates in the area.
View some spectacularly shaggy beasts or buy meat at Turtle Valley Bison Ranch in Chase, taste more than 50 varities of apples and fresh apple juice at Hanna and Hanna Farm Market in Salmon Arm or take a Sweet Retreat at Sweetacre Apiaries in Tappen (September 12 to 14) to learn beekeeping.
In the Vernon area, farm markets like Burke’s, Swan Lake Nurseryland and Davison Orchards Country Village (next to Planet Bee apiary, which has farm animals, orchard tours and a kids’ play area) are places to find and taste fall’s bounty. Catch the last day of the cherries in early September at Peter’s UPick, order certified organic meat from Vale Farms and stock up on gouda made near Cherryville at Triple Island Cheese Farm.
It’s a unique form of entertainment: the Caravan Farm Theatre makes the most of its outdoor setting on an 80-acre farm northwest of Armstrong to stage thrilling classics, musicals and original productions. This fall, a mask-wearing cast of 100 guide you in the interactive Walk of Terror (“part Burning Man, part Nuit Blanche”) October 25 and 26 with a dance party to follow!
Cooking classes and wine tastings flow year-round for residents of the Predator Ridge community near Vernon, and fresh local produce, wine and charcuterie, chocolate, condiments, dairy and prepared meals make its Commonage Market a worthy harvest-season stop for everyone–the market even sells its own Commonage Lanata wines, in partnership with next-door Ex Nihilo Vineyards.