#696 Okanagan Valley, food-lover’s paradise

Jar of honey from Arlo's Honey Farm

Pure sweetness from Arlo’s Honey Farm

“This cookbook is a love letter to all those who have created, grown and nurtured our special valley on this earth.” ~ Jennifer Schell

A new book has been popping up in Kelowna’s restaurants, wine shops, coffee shops, book stores, and just about anywhere else where people who appreciate food can be expected to congregate. The author, Jennifer Schell, is Editor-in-Chief of British Columbia Food & Wine Trails and writes a weekly food column for the Kelowna Capital News. This apple truly did not fall far from the tree, as Schell grew up on an apple orchard in Kelowna.

With her passion for local growers and the people who turn their products into wine, cheese, bread, and restaurant fare, Schell is the right person to bring the Okanagan Valley’s abundance to a cookbook-loving audience.

And she is sharing the news of that abundance widely. Robin and I had the chance to be part of the audience when three of the people featured in the book spoke about their work. We were familiar with Jon Alcock of Sunshine Farm and Helen Kennedy of Arlo’s Honey Farm because of our regular forays to the farmers’ market. I knew of Sarah Harker of Harker Organics because of my years of work in food security. (She and her husband Troy are British Columbia’s 2013 Outstanding Young Farmers.)

Schell’s cookbook is arranged by courses, but there the resemblance to any other cookbook ends. Every recipe is surrounded by photographs of and introductions to the people who grow, raise, catch or prepare the food. Those who live in the valley and glory in its amazing offerings will recognize Milan Djordjevich (the Tomato Man of Stoney Paradise Farm), Wolfgang Wesle (Green Croft Gardens), Monika Walker (Okanagan Grocery Artisan Breads), Curtis Stone (Green City Acres) and many of the other chefs, winemakers and growers in the book. Schell features many more and serves up a taste for the bounty of the Okanagan.

The wonderful secret is that the book’s plentiful selection of the valley’s favourite food providers represents only a fraction of all who work so hard to feed us so well in this beautiful region. We are incredibly blessed in the Okanagan Valley, and that gives me hope.

You can order The Butcher, the Baker, & the Wine & Cheese Maker online and follow it on Twitter and Facebook.

Watch David McIlvride’s video introduction to the cookbook:

An Okanagan Cookbook from David McIlvride on Vimeo.

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