Okanagan Feast of Fields 2014: Lovely in the lavender

Okanagan Feast of Fields 2014: Lovely in the lavender

At the peak of the growing season, FarmFolkCityFolk presents its annual fundraising event, Okanagan Feast of Fields, a wandering harvest festival. And I, along with hundreds of other eager participants, look forward to it annually as an amazing opportunity to check out what’s new in the food and beverage world.

guests pour in for the annual feast

It’s a given that with linen napkin and wine glass in hand, you get to taste the best of BC from chefs, farmers, fishers, ranchers, food artisans, vintners, brewers, distillers and other beverage producers from across the province. The surprise element comes from what venue has been selected as host, what new suppliers will be on board, and how your tried-and-true favourites will dazzle you this year.

While every year it is staged in a remarkable farm or orchard setting, for me this year was the best ever venue as it was lovely in the lavender with acres of space to roam, graze, sip and find shade. Gazing at Okanagan Lake off in the distance was also cooling in the summer heat. Amid the lavender, even the live music seemed to lilt more melodically. The Okanagan Lavender and Herb Farm situated on Takla Road in Kelowna offers sweeping views through its gardens, local farmlands, orchards, and vineyards to the lake. Your eyes feast on this glorious view as the fragrant aromas of herbs, lavender and other flowers delight your nostrils.

Take that amazing formula and add the most exquisite cuisine and beverages and you’ll understand why I’m already anticipating next year’s Feast. Imagine an armada of appetizers prepared as delicately as the chefs’ amuse-bouche such as refreshing spoons of gazpacho from The Patio at Nk’Mip Cellars or Sunset Bistro at Summerhill Pyramid Winery’s delicate apricot tidbits. For those feeling a bit more peckish, larger options such as the delectable salmon tacos thanks to a partnership between Codfathers Seafood Market and the Delta Grand Okanagan or the olive-adorned meatball sliders from Sysco Kelowna. The sweet tooth wasn’t forgotten with treats such as Sandrine Pastry’s Nougat De Provence. And for the hot and spicy, the longest line of the day persisted for Poppadom’s Indian-spiced crostini paired with Gindian Mule. Creativity abounds such as the collaboration of Chef Matt Batey with Meadow Vista Wines on honey-cured smoked scallop lollipops. How about RauDZ Chef Rod Butters’ Cache Creek beef tartare served on roasted marrow or Chef Brock Bowes and his pork and chicken rillette on a chicken foot!

How wonderful it is to check out new vintages and brews from established wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries as well as sample others new to the valley. It gave me a sneak preview to KRAFTY kitchen and bar soon to open in Kelowna and Bistro Fandango, Blu Saffron Bistro at Volcanic Hills Estate Winery and smoke & oak bistro at Wild Goose Vineyards which have been on my list since the beginning of the summer.

Among the goals of Feast of Field is to highlight the “connections between farmer and chef, field and table, and farm folks and city folks” and to provide a “gastronomic journey towards a sustainable, local food system”. The Okanagan Chefs Association and the culinary team from Okanagan College were on hand as support, to “walk the talk” and share information on such programs as Growing Chefs. For those in the industry, it’s a rare setting in which to check out your competitors, see what’s trending, discuss collaborations and even get your knives sharpened by Knifewear Kelowna.

For the uninitiated, the ticket price at $95 plus fees may seem high, however, the cost/benefit analysis is extremely positive. Where else can you try that many fine creations of food, wine and other beverages over so many hours prepared by the finest of purveyors and learn about fresh and local? Thanks to the attention to detail, I knew where each taste was grown and produced. I wish I could mention them all!

Next season, I’ll explore the annual Feast of Fields held in Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island, too!

By Roslyne Buchanan

Photo journal by Tarynn Liv Parker below :)

begin with a handmade wooden plate…

 

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Blanc De Noirs 2008 20/20 hindsight says this delicious bubbly is how I would have started…

 

 

great to see Chef Jason Leizert of Salted Brick outstanding in The Field...

 

…with a bite of in-season peach to go with his prosciutto and mustard seed

 

Sage Hills Organic Winery of Summerland pouring favourites including their Syrah Rose

 

expect a silent auction to purchase local wines and artisanal products

 

Chef Sean Delta Grand Okanagan Hotel serves an excellent Codfather's salmon taco paired with Sage Hills Winery

 

Okanagan Fruit Tree Project, a non profit, serves up wild apple juice from abandoned orchards

 

Chef Chris Stewart of Mission Hill Winery pairs a cherries and berries with the Mission Hill Rose

 

 

Roslyne Buchanan fetches the…

 

Chef Brock Bowes of Burrowing Owl's Sonora Room Pork and Chicken Terrine on a Chicken Foot!

 

Summerhill Pyramid Winery continues to expand it's product line of self made organic and wild crafted products with this honey

 

The Harvest Golf Club Dining Room Chef Michael Miller impresses with Duck Confit Gaufrette, Chocolate Cherry Tart

 

Upper Bench Winery and Cheesery self pairing with their luscious naramata bench cheeses and wines

 

Raudz Regional serves a tartare of Cache Creek beef and roasted marrow on bone shard

 

 

Krafty Kitchen + Bar shows us what they've got, well done…  opening in Kelowna this weekend (Aug 22)

 

kadhai spiced tomato sauce, tandoor veg, crumbly paneer on crostini paired with the Gindian Mule cocktail from Poppadoms was a spicy fav

 

Naramata Heritage Inn does elk carpaccio with radish roots and crushed farro

 

run in with Chef Donnie Ungaro of Culinary Ink who is about to launch his bike powered food trucks!

 

Chef Matt Batey (formerly Mission Hill Winery Exec. Chef now at The Nash and OFFCUT Bar in Calgary) is in town helping out at Meadow Vista Honey Wines

 

What goes in to the Mead - Honey Wine -  of Meadow Vista Honey Wines

 

Streaming Cafe brings fresh brewed Phil & Sebastian Coffee, Calgary's best craft roastery

 

Mom, Barb Murtland my date for the afternoon, finds a nice shady patch by the mint field to take it all in

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