Blessed with long summers, mild winters and 2,000 hours of sunshine a year, Kelowna is a hotbed of artisan farms, family run orchards and neighbourhood gardens. And the resulting abundance of fresh, locally produced ingredients has drawn in talented chefs from near and far.
In addition to taking advantage of the local wineries, golf courses and thriving cultural district, you’re going to want to spend most of your visit eating. But here’s a tip: you’ll discover an even deeper appreciation of every meal you taste if you visit some of the warm, welcoming places that supply the raw ingredients.
Here are some of the best spots to see, all within a bikeable radius of this Okanagan culinary hotbed. And, keep reading for a list of some of the best farm-to-table restaurants in Kelowna that source locally produced ingredients for their dishes.
With more than 165 vendors in the summer, this is the largest farmers’ market in B.C. Stroll among the rows of produce and chat with local vendors selling wares that range from eco-friendly soaps and handmade jewelry to freshly picked veggies, homemade preserves and gourmet coffee. Open Saturdays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Book ahead to tour this 14-acre farm and you’ll get almost as close to a working hive (the farm has 150 hives with 60,000 bees apiece) as any apiarist. Meet beekeeper Helen Kennedy, dressed in her hooded suit, who will dazzle you with honey making facts and bee behaviour. Afterward, visit the gift gallery for a honey tasting.
Just a short buzz away from Arlo’s is the Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm where Kennedy’s bees pollinate more than 60 types of aromatic lavender. Take a self-guided tour of the gardens, gather a bouquet from the U-pick area and browse the shop for made-in-house products, including lavender jelly and essential oil, which many local chefs use in their dishes.
It’s hard to say what’s more fun at this hilltop farm: sampling the rich, additive-free goat cheeses and gelatos or watching the 30-plus resident goats goof around. Visit the shop any time, but book ahead for a tour of the milking area (where the goats always line up in the same order) and the chilly aging room where massive rounds of pungent cheese wait to see the light of day.
Offering a little bit of everything, this family-run business serves an extensive menu using seasonal produce and locally sourced goods. Some of the features to look out for on its menu are the homemade back bacon and sausage, bagels, organic bread and irresistible strawberry jam.
Boasting both farm-to-table and grape-to-glass dining options, former Top Chef Canada contestant Chef Christ Shaften creates a casual, fine dining experience. If you’re interested in learning more about locally produced ingredients, Shaften leads Free Range Tours that include intimate private tastings at wineries in and around Kelowna.
With 16 years in business, RauDZ has been able to refine its farm-to-table menu so that 92 per cent of the food and ingredients used come from local suppliers. If you fall in love with the dish you have, you can buy Chef Rod Butter’s cookbook The Okanagan Table: The Art of Everyday Home Cooking and try to recreate it at home. The wine list at RauDZ is 100 per cent Okanagan with reds and whites from wineries from throughout the valley.
This is the restaurant of chef and sommelier Mark Filatow, which means it offers a perfect pairing of local food and local wine. Ingredients are sourced from nearby suppliers and producers, including fresh seafood from Codfathers, honey from Arlo’s Honey Farm and cream from Blackwell Dairy. The wine menu has hundreds of options (both local and international) and the cocktail menu also takes advantage of nearby fruit and herbs.