Schell: Everything wonderful to do with a tomato at Covert Farms

This is an extremely exciting weekend for foodies in the Okanagan.  Saturday marks the return of the beloved Festival of the Tomato at the iconic, organic Covert Farms in Oliver, followed by the third annual Feast of Fields on Sunday.

Hosted by Van Westen Vineyards in Naramata this year, Feast of Fields has been described as a gourmet wandering harvest festival and is FarmFolk CityFolk’s annual fundraising event.

A celebration of local food and wine and “a gastronomic journey towards a sustainable, local food system” it is a glorious achievement.

Alas, this year’s event has been sold out for quite a while, but make sure to hop on some tickets for next year’s event.


There are still tickets available for The Festival of the Tomato. Sponsored by Sun FM and Easy Rock, this event is a full day (and night) extravaganza with amazing kid’s activities and crafts, food, wine, acoustic acts all afternoon, followed by two funk bands—Lobo Blanco and internationally renowned Five Alarm Funk to kick off the evening’s frolics.

Of course the entire day is in honour of the beloved tomato with activities focused around this precious orb.

I am not certain, but I believe there is also a tomato fight involved somehow, so those who have had food fight fantasies—here is your chance.

I am thrilled to be judging at their Iron Tomato Chef Competition in the afternoon, with three fabulous local chefs competing: Jeremy Luypen—executive chef and co-proprietor of Terrfina Restaurant, Chris Remington—executive chef of the Penticton Lakeside Resort, and Chris Van Hooydonk—executive chef of the Sonora Room Restaurant at Burrowing Owl Estate Winery.

The competition will be tight.  Each chef must showcase the tomato in his dish. He will have 30 minutes to prep in the outdoor kitchen and create eight dishes by the end of their presentation.

The dishes must also be paired with wines from Covert Farm’s on-site winery, Dunham & Froese.


Fun for spectators, the chefs will be presenting their dishes at 1 p.m. (Chef Luypen), 2 p.m. (Chef Remington) and 3 p.m. (Chef Van Hooydonk) with the winner announced at 4 p.m.


There will be tons of food available all day with barbecue, fresh organic fruit and veggies from the farm as well as roasted organic corn. I am serious when I say that my husband has announced that the Coverts grow the best corn in the world and I quite agree.

There will also be a wine and beer tasting from noon until 6 p.m. with the following participating wineries and breweries: Dunham & Froese, Desert Hills, Tinhorn Creek, River Stone, Gehringer Bros., Hester Creek, Silver Sage, Golden Hills, The Cannery, Barley Mill, and Tin Whistle. The profits from this event are going to The Okanagan Children’s Charity. The tickets are $35 for adults, $25 for seniors, and kids 15 and under are free with their parents. Tickets are available online and at the gate.

Camping overnight at the farm is also an option with reservations online only at

See you there.

Jennifer Schell is editor of B.C. Wine Trails Magazine.


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