Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News. She can be reached at and on Twitter @OkanaganTaste.

Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News. She can be reached at and on Twitter @OkanaganTaste.

MARKIN: Farm to table to fork to glass

Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News.

The phrase farm to table has perhaps become as common as, “pass the (local artisan) salt.”

As consumers, we are far more aware of what goes into our food, why we should check the ingredients, and avoid the stuff that is bad for us. Or at least be moderate about it. A small bag of Cheetos is fine.

Watching a documentary the other day about how and why we should eat real food — the stuff that doesn’t come with an ingredient list, and is typically on the outside aisles of the supermarket — I was reminded of the cornucopia of ways we can enjoy the bounty of the Okanagan.

Not just picking fresh fruits and veggies, or visiting a farmers’ market, but looking for locally made items.

Let’s start with chocolate, shall we?

Deep Roots Winery on the Naramata Bench has wine-filled chocolates. Their own Merlot wrapped in dark chocolate. Red wine and dark chocolate have both been touted as having health benefits.

I don’t know where Chef James Holmes of Craft Corner Kitchen in downtown Penticton gets his ideas, but he seems to make use of everything he can fetch within a short bike ride. Like hop-salted fries, with hops from Cannery Brewing.

Similarly, Wine Crush Market — have one of their tasty pizzas on the stunning patio at Bench 1775 — uses the by-products of the winemaking process to create amazing breads. Because why waste all of the good stuff that doesn’t end up in a wine bottle?

This Sunday, Okanagan Feast of Fields takes place at Off the Grid Organic Winery in West Kelowna. There may be a few tickets left, and this is your chance to spend three hours wandering from table to table to try some of the best bites from area chefs, all highlighting fresh, local ingredients, paired with wines, ciders, beer and more.

And for the whole package, spend a day at the Interior Provincial Exhibition, aka the Armstrong Fair, at the end of this month. You’ll see all aspects of farming, from the tractors, to the animals, to the zucchini competition.

Appreciate all of it, then enjoy a helping of perogy poutine.

Save the date

Aug. 14, Off the Grid Organic Winery: Okanagan Feast of Fields.

Aug. 20, Saxon Estate Winery, Summerland: SaxFest Saxon Winery in Summerland will be partnering with Adrian Empire to hold a medieval faire.

Aug. 20, join Wild Goose Winery for their Vineyard Stage Concert Series with Vancouver Blues icon Sherman “Tank” Doucette and his quartet. If you love boogie/blues and should do not miss this amazing night filled with blues harmonica, dancing, delicious barbecue buffet and their award-winning wines. Ticket ($99) includes a reserved table, entertainment, dinner buffet and a glass of wine.

Aug. 25, Desert Hills Estate Winery, Oliver:  BBQ and Blues Night.

Thursday evenings, Kaleden:  Flambé Catering hosts barbecue nights at 6 p.m., Thursdays, all summer. Buffet dinner, live music, drink specials at the 1912. Call or text 250-486-8939 to reserve.

Sept. 9, join the Penticton Lakeside Resort on their private beach for an evening of good old stomping entertainment for  the Great Grape Stomp from 6 to 9 p.m.  Live DJ, barbecue and beverages available. Teams (consisting of four people) receive dinner, glass of wine and stomping rights. Limited space for teams. Free entry for spectators. To register a team call 250-493-8221 ext. 266.

Sept. 18, Penticton:  Small, artisan wine producers gather in Penticton for Garagiste North. Sample wines that are hard to find, made by the small guys.

Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News. She can be reached at and on Twitter @OkanaganTaste.



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