Venice has its San Marco and St. Geneviève watches over Paris and the Okanagan also has its own patron saint known as Father Pandosy, (1824-1891) a Marseilles born missionary sent to North America at the age of 23. Pandosy, during the mid to late 1800’s, planted the first fruit trees and established the first white settlement in the area suited with a church. The contemporary Okanagan food and wine culture owes its origins to Father Pandosy who created an Eden fitted with orchards. Today this Eden has boomed to become a prosperous wine country and has created a food culture that takes farm to table more seriously than just a trend in the food industry – it is a way of life that the Okanagan has been living since Pandosy planted the first seeds and the First Nations Syilx peoples have called the Okanagan home.
To celebrate local talents of chefs, vintners and farmers FarmFolk CityFolk, a not for profit organization, held their annual Okanagan Feast of Fields event at Little Church Organics on August 18th which was a sold out event. Little Church Organics is an urban farm in between the city and rural land of Kelowna where Pandosy lived much of his life in Canada and was eventually buried on site along with 51 other missionaries. The miniature church on the property is a replica of what stood there before.
FarmFolk CityFolk’s holds the Feast of Fields event each year in a different location and hosts events in Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island if you don’t find yourself in the Okanagan next year. Their goal is to help create community-based sustainable food systems that promote the interaction, appreciation and support between city folks and farm folks helping farms big and small stay protected. The Feast of Fields event is an intermingling of the two folks where city dwellers can meet the local farmers who provide their food, wine, beer and spirits.
With 30 restaurants, bakeries, fish and cheesemongers paired with 30 wineries, breweries, tea growers and spirit producers attendees meander around the farm property from tent to tent with a wine glass and a napkin in hand sampling as much as they can in 4 hours (if you can last that long!).
The afternoon ended up developing the perfect amount of cloud cover to help prevent me from keeling over from dehydration and heat stroke in between sips of wine and small shots of liqueurs. I thank goodness for a locally made rosemary lime sparkling water from Sip Natural Craft Soda.
When the sun emerged for short bursts of sweat inducing heat refuge could be found beneath the surrounding apple trees or even the miniature church for a few people warding away the sun like an evil omen. Chilled white wine was our holy water and there was no shortage of delicious locally made food to nourish us.
If you’re looking to attend this event next year I highly recommend bringing a picnic blanket or chairs and set your picnic area up near the live music stations and enjoy the event at a slower pace.
Be sure to check out FarmFolkCityFolk.ca for more information on BC farm and seed projects, education, and events.