Chef Mike Barillaro, an instructor with the culinary program at Okanagan College, talks with one of the many people who turned out for the ninth annual Okanagan Feast of Fields event in Kelowna Sunday.—Image credit: Alistair Waters

Ninth annual Okanagan Feast of Fields a hit

Outdoor event showcases foods and food preparation from throughout the valley.

Local food, food production and preparation were the stars of the show Sunday at the ninth annual Okanagan Feast of Fields event in Kelowna.

The annual local food and beverage showcase took place at Caldwell Heritage Farm in south-east Kelowna and hundreds turned out for the sold-out event, strolling through the farm grounds sampling culinary creations by some of the valley’s foremost cooks and chefs.

In addition to the foods, there was a healthy array of wines to sample, and, this year, a large number of cideries participated as well.

“Today is an incredible day, not only do we have beautiful weather, we have a beautiful location and we have over 60 presenters showcasing the best food and wine and beverages in the valley,” said coordinator Alison Love.

“We hit it out of the ballpark this year. We sold out and have more presenters than we have ever had.”

The event is a fundraiser for FarmFolk CityFolk, which promotes and educates about sustainable agriculture.

Feasts are also held in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island each year. The event is Canada’s largest and longest-running celebration of local foods.

Every dollar raised through the three events goes back into the system to help local farmers and promote sustainability.

“And that is very unique in terms of food events,” said FarmFolk CityFolk executive director Nicholas Scapillati.

Presenters are invited to participate in Feast of Fields and Love said the popularity and importance of the event has now prompted some in the industry to approach organizers seeking to be part of the annual showcase, as it is by invitation only when it comes to who is selected to present.

Love said each year organizers actively search out businesses that are working with local farmers and ask them to be part of Feast of Fields.

Both Love and Scapillati said it’s important to show the public the range of local foods produced here and the quality.

While healthy food and organic food is growing in popularity, it is still a small portion of the food market, said Scapillati and the aim of events like Feast of Fields is to increase that by showcasing what local farmers are growing, and what local restaurants, chefs and cooks are doing with what the farmers produce.

And, from the positive reaction from many on hand Sunday strolling though the farm sampling the presenters offerings, they are succeeding.