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thompson okanagan british columbia

There is an inner peace that comes with seeing where your food comes from. It is easy to take a perfectly ripe piece of fruit for granted when it is sitting atop a mound of 500 others at a grocery store. But, when you can stand in front of a vast fruit orchard and focus in on one delicate fruit beckoning to be picked, your appreciation grows.

Thompson okanagan British Columbia vinyard

I have to admit, when Justin proposed a 16 hour round-trip road trip with an 11 month old baby, I cringed. But struggles aside, I must say that our drive through the Oakanagan was the most scenic I have ever experienced. It was not just in the vistas overlooking crystal blue lakes, or even the perfectly spaced vineyards that sat above them; it was the stories. The stories of the orchards and the people who planted them. The stories of the vineyards and the families who passed them down, generation after generation. And as the highway slowed through one small town after another, I thought about the people who forgo the conveniences of urban life to make all the surrounding fruits possible.

fresh okanagan peaches

We stopped at a fruit stand outside of Osoyoos and I picked up some sweet Okanagan peaches.

Okanagan bing cherries

Our end destination was Silverstar, Canada, a mountain resort at the end of British Columbia’s lengthy Lake Oakanagan. We would be meeting friends there for a downhill mountain biking retreat. We left Redmond, WA and traveled north through the Snoqualmie Valley and met HWY 2 which led us east through Cascade Mountains, through the Bavarian Village of Leavenworth and finally to Wenatchee, “The Apple Capital of the World.” We then turned north and traveled HWY 97 which hugged the curves of the mighty Columbia River, the life source that makes the surrounding bounty possible. We traveled through orchard after orchard; apples, peaches, apricots and cherries, all lining the highway with their keepers homes situated in the distance.

roadtrip through the Okanagan

Our route and stops through the Okanagan

baby driving car

Sage, 11 months, was ever so happy to take his turn at the wheel.

Thompson okanagan British Columbia vinyard

A windmill in Leavenworth, WA

We crossed the border to Canada and spent the night in a comical little beach motel on the shores of Lake Osoyoos. We dined at the Watermark Wine Bar and watched sun set on the lake. After dinner, we walked the boardwalk, drank wine on the beach and played in the sand before bed.

Dinner

  • Truffled Rocket Salad | Arugula tossed with a truffle vinaigrette with vanilla poached pear, B.C. bleu cheese and candied walnuts

  • Baby Back ribs slow roasted with a zesty honey BBQ sauce

    The vineyards of Kelowna

    Day two we drove north to Kelowna, a vibrant lake town with miles a parks, marinas, over 100 wineries and culinary hub in British Columbia. I was sad to just miss the Canadian Culinary Championships, taking place in Kelowna next week. We stayed the night at the Lake Oakanagan Resort.

    Thompson okanagan British Columbia vinyard

    On day three we stopped in at the Grey Monk Estate Winery in Kelowna and enjoyed both a red and white tasting. We bought a bottle of their Kerner. It is a sweeter white than we normally like, but the strong grapefruit notes makes for a very refreshing wine on a hot day.

    Once at our mountain side cabin in Silverstar, Justin hit the bike trails with our friends and I took charge of a few meals to feed the hungry bikers:

    Breakfast

    • Sausage, goat cheese and leek fritatta

    • Mushroom, garlic and spinich Fritatta

      • Spiced Apple Coffee Cake

      Dinner

      • Arugula Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, candied hazelnuts, B.C. bleu cheese and bourbon poached Okanagan cherries

      • Baked Gnocchi with roasted Russian garlic,¬†marinara and fresh mozzarella

        I also picked up some bing cherries from the same stand and poached them in Bourbon for the salad.