The Armstrong Food Initiative Society’s free Farm and Food tour on Sunday could be thought of as shopping for a very special dinner.
Start off at the Community Garden on Smith Avenue behind the red caboose to pick up your map. There are two workshops you might want to take in: Doug Gordon talks about bees at 10 a.m. and Ruth McDougall discusses composting at 1 p.m.
Consider a starter for the meal of a variety of cheeses from Village Cheese, where there will be plenty of samples for tasting. Cheese is not made on Sundays, but there will be a short video on how cheese is made. Village Cheese uses locally produced milk to make its artisan cheeses.
If your next course is soup you can buy whole organic grains from Fieldstone Organics and chicken or beef broth from Fresh Valley Farms. Fieldstone Organics is run by Tony vandenTillart and his manager Barb Munro. For eight years Tony has been specializing in providing certified organic grains to the community. His grains are used in local homes, bakeries, flour mills and spirit distilleries. Their products include ancient grains like einkorn wheat, emmer, korasan, white spelt, red fife as well as lentils, peas and corn.
Next is salad. Hartwood North Farm will have some greens for this and Chocoliro sells vomFass fruit vinegars and oils for the dressing. Hartwood North Farm is run by Malcolm Taylor and Wendy Armstrong-Taylor, who grow vegetables, garlic, fruit and grain. They also grow flowers, lots and lots of flowers, and this season, flowers will be available for sale at the farm gate every Friday.
For the entrée, Fresh Valley Farms has chicken, beef with many different cuts to choose from, or pork. All animals are pasture-raised and organic. Owned by Steve and Annelise Meggait, Fresh Valley raises beef, pork and poultry which are GMO-free. Come on out and hear Steve explain his new composting heating system while your kids watch the little piglets roughhouse around the yard.
You might want to pair this up with some local asparagus from the Armstrong Asparagus Farm on Knob Hill Road. Not only do Mark and Corinne Jeppesen grow the asparagus, but they will tell you all sorts of different ways to prepare it. Upon arrival you will be greeted by Corinne and given a tour of the farm where you will see how asparagus grows and is harvested.
The next course is dessert. You could go to Chocoliro in downtown Armstrong for some hand-crafted chocolates or you could go to Blue Hills Lavender Farm for some fresh-baked lavender cookies (as well as some lavender lemonade) or treat yourself and do both. At Blue Hills, you will see many varieties of lavender grown for different purposes. Enjoy the wonderful views of the Spallumcheen valley from the hillside rest areas and say hello to the donkey and goats who are very friendly.
Want to see an organized yard and farm? Visit Nick and Ida Kicey’s beautiful Eagle Rock Berry Farm. This farm is a joy to behold and Nick is a knowledgeable farmer, craftsman and inventor. The farm produces strawberries, cukes, dill, rhubarb, apples and raspberries but the main crops are corn, potatoes and garlic.
We have been fortunate enough to have had the Edge of the Earth Winery (formerly Hunting Hawk) in our community for 15 years. On Sunday, Russ and Marni Niles welcome you to their winery for a free tasting and tour of their facilities. Of special note, this is a vegan winery, with no animal products used in the production of this wine. As well, the winery uses neither herbicides nor fungicides. They make nine varieties of wine along with a very nice port wine. Their specialty wines are the Argus, Ortega and Foch wines.
Did you know that we have our own Splatsin winery called Lavina Estate Winery? Claude Monette and his wife Cindy Couch planted eight acres of grapes in 2009, adding 10,000 more plants in 2010. By 2015 they started selling their premier wine, Marachel Foch. Come on down and enjoy a tour and a free wine tasting.
The Armstrong Food Initiative Farm Tour runs Sunday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Come on down to the Community Garden, pick up your map and enter the draw for a gift basket donated by Rogers Foods. For more details, visit the Armstrong Food Initiative Society’s Facebook page.