OKANAGABLOG #419: Once Upon The Best “Feast Of Fields”, Ever

August 26, 2009.

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With our kids just about to go back to school, my wife and I are trying to squeeze as much awesomeness as we can out of the last week of the summer. We’ve just come back from a couple of days spent in Naramata and Summerland, enjoying the hospitality of our good friends Heidi and Michael at JoieFarm and experiencing the region’s first ever Feast of Fields.

What is Feast of Fields?

Feast of Fields – a gourmet wandering harvest festival – is FarmFolk/CityFolk’s annual fundraising event. With a wine glass and linen napkin in hand, you can taste the very best of BC from chefs, vintners, brewers, farmers, and food artisans from across the province. Connections are made between producers and chefs, food producers and consumers, and farm folks and city folks. These connections provide an increased awareness of and appreciation for local food and agriculture. Feast of Fields is a gastronomic journey towards a sustainable, local food system.

Take a look…

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Looking west across the lake from Heidi & Michael's deck on JoieFarm...

It was a nastily long drive up as the old Westfalia isn’t so hot on the hills. Still, five hours after departing Vancouver we arrived in The People’s Republic of Naramata, just in time for a cold beer in the cool grass and a skate down the smooth snake run driveway between the house and the winery…

Carving down the snake run drive way...
Speed check carving down the snake run drive way at JoieFarm...
Heidi Noble. If she wasn't a chef, cookbook author and winemaker, she'd be a film star...
Heidi Noble - chef, cookbook author, winemaker, candlestick maker...
Karmen, at rest...
Karmen, at pre-dinner rest...
"Tableland" filmmaker (and Heidi's brother) Craig Noble readies supper...
"Tableland" filmmaker (and Heidi's brother) Craig Noble readies supper...
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Dinner saw pork butt and lamb leg served with fresh potatoes, beets, and very good bread...plus several bottles and various sleeves.

The Next Day

How sweet I roamed from field to field, and tasted all the summer’s pride.

William Blake

The following morning we piled into Westy and booted it around Penticton and up into Summerland to Valentine farm, a gorgeous piece of land between sloping hills and a steeply graded stone kopje that shone rough in the sun. It was a very, very pretty place.

Valentine Farm in Summerland, host of the 1st Okanagan Feast of Fields
Valentine Farm in Summerland, host of the 1st Okanagan Feast of Fields
Scout was a very proud sponsor of the first Okanagan Feast of Fields...
Scout was a very proud sponsor of the first Okanagan Feast of Fields...
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Rhys Pender, Event Organiser extraordinaire...
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Michael and Heidi pour their wares...
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The event was sold out, crowded and happy. 600 bellies were filled and just as many lips moistened.
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The local farmers, restaurateurs, artisans and chefs brought their best...
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Ice cream cones from Cabana...
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TDM interviews Miranda from Elephant Island Winery

I’ve been going to Feast of Fields all over southern BC for years now – from UBC Farm and Vancouver Island to Whistler and Pemberton’s North Arm Farm – and I think that this one was the most seamless, the most delicious, and the most stunning of them all. Hats off to the FarmFolk/CityFolk team and especially to Rhys Pender and the crew he organised. Honour is due.

The “After” Feast

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The after-feast...

After many hours and with the sun dipping, the sold out crowd dispersed, leaving the farm to the winemakers, artisans, chefs and Feast of Fields volunteers. A fantastic feast was had, with spit roasted pig, corn, juicy galettes, and an endless supply of cold beer.

Total babe...
Total babe...
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So many hands doing so many awesome things...
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Prepping corn for the after-feast...
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The end of the day...

Then followed that beautiful season… Summer….
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Day After

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At Cam and Dana's place...

After packing our things and bidding goodbye and thanks to our wonderful hosts, we paid a visit to our friends Cameron and Dana (of Joy Road Catering) up in the hills above Penticton and loaded up on granola and preserves.

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Dana and James organise eggs in the kitchen...
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On the road home...

Lunch at a diner in Keremeos...
Lunch at a diner in Keremeos...

If you missed this one, be sure to catch the others. Feast of Fields arrives at UBC Farm on Sunday, September 13th, and at Providence Farm just outside of Duncan on Sunday, September 20th. We hope to see you at both…

The Photos

Click the first and then browse (there are some real goodies within).

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