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AUGUST 2019 • COUNTRY LIFE IN BC


Shuswap tour showcases local producers Annual event completes its third year with record participation


by JACKIE PEARASE SHUSWAP—Fifteen farms


from Gleneden to Enderby opened their barn doors July 13 to take part in Open Farm Day.


The Shuswap Food Action


Society hosted the third annual Shuswap farm tours as part of its ongoing effort to foster a strong, local food economy. Farm tour organizer


Melanie Bennett said for a $30 fee, farms on the tour gain a lot of exposure while giving the public a first-hand farm experience. “We have the same goal: to educate the public about where their food comes from and give them a chance to meet the farmers directly,” says Bennett. “They get to see the effort that goes into growing food and develop an appreciation of all the food that is around our area.” Farms, wineries and even


an artisan bakery took part in this year’s event.


The tour included clusters of farms in the Enderby- Grindrod area, northeast Salmon Arm and southwest Salmon Arm so people could choose what area they wanted to visit. Farms farther from Salmon Arm tend to get


“Even if they only get 20 visitors, those are 20 new people who never visited their farm before.” The Farmer’s Pantry owner Kathy DeMille says a


majority of her customers are walk-in tourists so she joined the tour for the second year to entice


Gabriele Wesle with 5,000 Napa cabbage seedlings almost ready to go into the ground at Green Croft Gardens in Grindrod to add to its stock of winter produce. JACKIE PEARASE PHOTO


fewer visitors but the tour still holds value for those involved. “Most farms think it is worth it,” says Bennett.


more locals into her shop. “Most local people don’t even know we exist,” she notes. “If we can only educate them on where to shop local.” Green Croft Gardens owner Gabriele Wesle says she also has difficulty making people aware of the abundance of organically grown produce she has to offer after 31 years of farming in Grindrod. “The tour is a good way to educate people on


where their food could come from,” she says. Little Red Hen operator Janice Cannon says the event gives her the opportunity to let people see


how her brick oven works and people get to enjoy a pizza lunch. “It’s a great way to meet


your customers and it’s good exposure,” adds Cannon. Salmon Arm residents Doug and Corrie Alexander enhanced their love of local, fresh produce by visiting seven farms on the tour. Originally from Alberta, the pair is impressed by how much is available in the Shuswap and marvel at the effort farmers dedicate to growing food. “You can see how much people have poured their heart and soul into what they are doing,” says Doug. “It’s a fun day. It’s a time to get out and see the farms and see exactly where our food is coming from,” adds Corrie.


Bennett says she would


love to see the tour evolve in the future so the farms are more concentrated in specific communities. She organized the tour with help from co-worker Laurie Shannon and Kyle Dearing, acting manager for


Shuswap Economic Development and Shuswap Tourism. Shuswap Economic Development and Shuswap Tourism also provided funding for the event.


The tour included Blue Eden Farm, The Farmer’s


Pantry, Grass Roots Dairy, Downtown Farmers’ Market, Tasty Acres, Little Red Hen, Marionette Winery, Elderberry Grove, Harpur Family Farm, Enderberry Farm, La Grange Market Gardens, Fre Da Ro Organics, Farmer John’s Market, Baccata Ridge Winery and Green Croft Gardens.


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