Schell: Okanagan Spot Prawn Festival coming

You may have heard some buzz about the Spot Prawn Festival that happens each year on the West Coast.

Steve Johanssen with a haul of B.C. spot prawns

Steve Johanssen with a haul of B.C. spot prawns

You may have heard some buzz about the Spot Prawn Festival that happens each year on the West Coast. A celebration of local cuisine, sustainability and the fishermen who delight us with these ocean gems, the festival has seen great success at its coastal venue.

What about us? We want to celebrate too.

Thankfully our local fishmonger, Jon Crofts of Codfather’s, felt the same way and a few months back he began a campaign to start our own Okanagan Spot Prawn Festival.

He has succeeded.

Jon says: “I first heard about the Spot Prawn Festival back in early November, when I was talking to Steve Johanssen, who is one of our suppliers and also a fisherman. I have been aware for a few years of the Vancouver Festival, and after we did our spot prawn Ocean to Okanagan the Same Day event last year, I mentioned (to the Chef’s Table, organizers of the Vancouver Festival) that we should do something on a larger scale next year, and they agreed.”

Jon’s persistence and support of local chefs paid off and by January the event was made official.

Wild B.C. spot prawns are a delicacy known around the world for their sweet, delicate flavour and firm texture. They are most recognizable for their reddish brown colour, which turns bright pink when cooked.

There are also defining white spots on their tail and white horizontal bars on the carapace.

Spot prawns are the largest of the seven commercial species of shrimp found on the west coast of Canada. Wild B.C. spot prawns are available live during the short harvest season, which usually starts in May and lasts anywhere from six to eight weeks.

Prawn fishermen spread baited traps along the rocky ocean floor at depths ranging from 40 to 100 metres. This method has minimal impact on ocean habitat and very low levels of catching other species.

On his suppliers, Crofts holds the highest respect. “The fishermen that I deal with all have one thing in common—they love fish, and fishing and they totally respect their environment. By nature, the guys who want to deal with smaller boutique suppliers like us tend to be less about the money and more about looking after the product and the fishery.”

Spot prawns are now available at Codfathers in Guisachan Village on Gordon.

The Pacific Prawn Fisherman’s Association, in conjunction with the Chefs’ Table Society, will host the Okanagan’s inaugural Wild B.C. Spot Prawn Festivals in Kelowna, Saturday June 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Manteo Resort and Sunday, June 5 at the Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos, again from 1 to 4 p.m. Entrance to the festivals is free.


The 5th annual KSS- Interior Savings Cancer Week Golf Tournament is next Thursday, May 26. Help KSS’s Leadership Class reach its goal by raising $10,000 for cancer research and awareness.

The tourney takes place at Gallagher’s Canyon, followed by a buffet dinner, entertainment, a silent auction and prizes.

Start time is 2:45 p.m.  for competitive players on the Gallagher’s Golf Course, and 4:45 p.m. for non-competitive players on the Pinnacle course.

Gallagher’s: Golf and dinner with cart—$120

Pinnacle: Golf and dinner—$60

Just dinner and the auction—$30.

“You don’t have to be a golfer to go, you can just come to dinner and support our cause,” students said.

Register by emailing or email: tsodaro@sd23.bc for more information.

Jennifer Schell is the editor of Food and Wine Trails magazine.



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