Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Memorable Okanagan Day Trip - Penticton to Oliver and Back

On Saturday my son Dustin took me on a memorable Okanagan day trip for a belated birthday treat.  We started out for breakfast at The Bench Market on Vancouver hill, my favourite coffee haunt.  It was a Canadiano Misto and a veggie bennie for me. Yum! Then off to the Penticton Saturday Farmer's Market.  There were throngs of people as usual but more so because the new Penticton Challenge race was to happen the next day.  Dustin knew that I wanted a certain print of the Okanagan and this was to be my birthday present, so we didn't waste any time getting to the venue of artist  Bernadette McCormack.

"Okanagan Wine Valley"

The print entitled "Okanagan Wine Country" was the one I love because, to me, it truly captures the essence of our beautiful valley.
I also treated myself to a limited edition print of "The Safe Place". It is now hanging in my kitchen and makes me feel happy!!
"The Safe Place"
 After the Farmer's Market Dustin wanted to visit one of his favourite wineries down in Oliver so we left on a little journey south.  On the way we stopped off at the Vaseux Lake Wildlife Centre and did the picturesque little trek down the boardwalk.

View of Vaseux Lake from the Boardwalk
We took the back road to Oliver and weaved our way through lush and thriving vineyards until we arrived at the Silver Sage winery.
The wine was good and there was a particularly novel one to which they add a jalapeno pepper to give the wine a spicy zest.  After the wine tasting we did our share of buying some bottles and then continued on our way. 

We stopped at Aunty Ag's Seafood Cafe in Oliver for lunch. It is my favourite place in the valley for fish and chips.  No wonder they have won awards!  Currently they have a promotion underway to name their new mascot, which is a six foot tall British beefeater.  Fun!!! The contest ends September 30th so you still have time to drop in, taste some fantastic fish and chips and drop your entry into the fishbowl.  You may want to read the blog called A Day Trip to Aunty Ag's Seafood Café.

On the way home Dustin mentioned that he really wanted to pick some blackberries. My recollections of the same were picking them wild at the coast, so really didn't know if they existed in the Okanagan. We were somewhere in between Oliver and OK Falls and I saw a sign that said "Blackberries, You Pick"  I made a quick right turn and "voila", we were right in the middle of a blackberry farm.  Thornless no less!!!!!! I can only testify to the days when you couldn't tackle picking blackberries without coming away with a zillion scratches all over your legs and arms.

Allan Hogg, the owner gave us some containers and took us to one of the rows where the berries were plentiful.  I must say it was great not having to worry about thorns on the bushes, so we were able to pick the small amount we wanted without scratches, and quickly.
Afterwards we chatted to Allan for a while and he told us that the one acre farm was a family run operation started by his father Bruce 7 years ago.  I guess he previously had owned a farm called Greystone in Keremeos and decided to called the new venture Greystone Blackberries.

Allan Hogg under the sign
His Mom Nell was at the end of one of the rows picking for their many customers.  Allan told me that they supply Whole Foods in Penticton, several Okanagan restaurants, a number of fruit stands and truck drivers who haul the berries to Alberta and other locations. 
It is only $2.50 per lb. to pick your own and the berries are big and sweet. 

As we drove home along Skaha Lake on the eastside road I felt so grateful to be living in such a beautiful, plentiful valley.  No wonder the native settles called Penticton "A Place to Stay Forever"
Thank you Dustin for making my birthday such a special occasion!!

Sicamous Paddlewheeler Boat on Skaha Lake

No comments:

Post a Comment