I recently went on a road trip to the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. The best way to describe it for those not familiar is to think Napa Valley, but with a backdrop of the majestic BC mountains and Okanagan Lake as a perfect compliment. The biggest town in the Okanagan is Kelowna, but there are also some cute little towns nearby called Peachland and Summerland. The area is primarily known for its fruit orchards and vineyards. In fact, a map of the area’s vineyards is very overwhelming, with over 200 wineries within the Okanagan Valley!
But truth be told, I was especially excited about the Okanagan and specifically Kelowna because of the peaches and other treasures I was bound to discover. August is prime peach season and honestly, there is absolutely nothing like a freshly picked Okanagan peach with the juices running of your chin and having to slurp as you bite in to it to not lose a single drop!
For me, there were a couple of must-visit places in Kelowna. The city of Kelowna has created a fantastic program with local farmers and chefs called Farm to Table. It’s a perfect harmonious marriage for a community that can absolutely provide everything it needs from within to be a go-to dining destination for tourists.
I’ve been fascinated with goat cheese since visiting a goat dairy farm (with surfing goats!) in Maui a few years ago, so Carmelis Goat Cheese was definitely on the must-see list! My expectations were high since I had been able to feed the goats in Maui but was disappointed to find that I couldn’t do that. Apparently they’re not accustomed to people feeding them and I would’ve risked losing a finger, so that was an easy decision. Thankfully, the cheese more than made up for it! They had tons of samples and the winners for me were the Goatgonzola, Goat’s Feta and Chevry.
Another must see in Kelowna was Arlo’s Honey Farm. I know absolutely nothing about beekeeping, but I think it’s fascinating and I love honey. They do offer tours, but it’s by reservation-only. However, Arlo’s does offer a self-guided tour with all the necessities to leave you with some new bee and honey knowledge.
But for me, the big draw was that I had a feeling there would be a honey-tasting station and not only was I was right, there were about 20 to try! And yes, I tried them all! My favourite was a black honey that was on the verge of molasses that I’d never seen before. It was rich and sweet and of course I left with a jar of that too.
Although there are many roadside fruit stands in Kelowna, I decided to continue and support the Farm to Table train I was on, so I hit up Don-O-Ray Vegetables which has been part of the Kelowna community for 35 years. Their prices and the quality of their produce were some of the best I had come across in Kelowna. They had peaches and cherries galore which of course I loaded up on. I can only imagine the bounty they must have during the the Fall months!
With a trunk full of goodies from my trip that accompanied me back with me to Vancouver, I happily headed home. I have all sorts of memories and jars to keep me satisfied until my next visit to Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley!