Food Vancouver Select Guide: EAT! Fraser Valley Food + Cooking Festival
This time the FoodVancouver.com Select Guide will highlight the EAT! Fraser Valley Food + Cooking Festival, coming soon to the Fraser Valley! Food Vancouver talks with Allison Longshore of Tourism Abbotsford to learn more about the festivities and a little about what the region has to offer.
[Food Vancouver]FV- What would people be surprised to learn about the Fraser Valley?
[Tourism Abbotsford]TA - The quality and diversity of agri-tourism products available in the Fraser Valley. You can take any of the Circle Farm Tours and buy your entire dinner for that evening from the farm and related-businesses on the tour or you could end the day of touring at one of the restaurants that uses local produce and product.
FV - What, in your opinion is the best part of living in the Fraser Valley?
TA - The Fraser Valley has all the amenities of a big city but the countryside is never more than a few minutes away from anywhere in the Valley. It’s great too that I can drop by my local grower and buy my fresh fruit and vegetables and then stop by Wal-Mart to pick up my household items.
FV - Describe for those who do not know what the Circle Farm Tour is all about?
TA - A Circle Farm Tour is basically a self-guided tour which includes an easy-to-follow road map that takes you through the back country and directs you to a variety of specialty farm-gate vendors, artisans, open air markets, charming eateries, heritage sites, fairs, and other special events. Some farm partners have accommodation to encourage an overnight stay. The hotel industry supports the Circle Farm Tours so there are many options for a great weekend getaway.
There are six communities that offer Circle Farm Tours (Abbotsford, Agassiz/Harrison Mills, Chilliwack, Langley, Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows and Mission) and a total 61 farms and related-businesses participating in the program.
For more detailed information on Circle Farm Tours including downloadable brochures, recipes, press releases and more, visit the Circle Farm Tour website
FV- If readers are looking for a great meal in the Fraser Valley, what could you suggest?
TA - Restaurant 62 and BluStone Restaurant in Abbotsford, Bravo Restaurant & Lounge in Chilliwack and Mission Springs Brewery and Blu Restaurant in Mission.
FV - What types of products might one find in the Fraser Valley that they might not be able to find in Greater Vancouver?
TA - Fraser Valley Wineries – some wines are sold to downtown restaurants but many can only be purchased at the wineries themselves. Direct from the Farm produce, dairy products, meats, and honey. Canadian Hazelnuts - they grow, process and sell a variety of hazelnut products including fresh, roasted, candied, chocolate bark, Certified Organic nuts, flour, protein powder, and cold pressed hazelnut oil.There’s self-guided orchard tours and U-pick during October & November. The Farm House Natural Cheeses - offer a large range of handmade artisan cheeses all produced from the rich, fresh milk of our own dairy cows and goats. You can watch the cheese-making process through the viewing window, and enjoy some gelati ice cream and other local specialties. Limbert Mountain Farm Simply Fine Foods - Their Heritage (1902) farm provides food for your senses! Experience the tranquil hillside gardens, sensual herbs and local cuisine! In season there’s heirloom tomatoes, garlic, herbs, chestnuts, salad blends and vegetables. The “Simply Fine Foods Kitchen” creates products such as garlic nectar, herbal chocolate and amazing Italian pesto! Join guest Chefs for a gourmet cooking & dining experience or attend a class on nutritious food preparation, herbs or organic gardening.
The store for home & garden décor and our Tea Room & outdoor patio for culinary delights featuring homegrown and locally sourced foods.Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery - Offers self-guided and guided tours, educational programming, birthday parties, fishing instruction & summer camps all related to BC's freshwater at this fascinating facility dedicated to BC’s fresh water creatures. Happy Days Dairies Ltd. - Heavenly Cheese - Is a goat-milk & cheese processing plant with a cheese store attached. They supply fluid goat milk & cheese to all of the western provinces. The cheese store carries a variety of goat cheeses complemented by other cheeses from all over the world. Anita's Certified Organic Grain & Flour Mill - provides the highest quality, certified organic, kosher grains & fresh stone-ground flours at fair prices. Their stone-mills utilize the latest in flow-through technology while maintaining the old-world tradition of fresh, stone-ground quality. Sterling Farms - specializes in raising animals with fine fleeces - llamas, suri & huacaya alpacas & cashmere producing goats. The Suri is very rare and forms less than 1% of the world’s alpaca population. Fleece, yarn & some finished garments are for sale from all the fibre animals.
FV - The organic farming industry seems to continue to grow in the Fraser Valley. To what might you attribute this growth?
TA - Consumers are becoming more cautious about where their food comes from and how it is grown. Certified organic farms have to follow stringent rules which make the consumer feel at ease when buying it. And over 257,000 people call the Fraser Valley their home and over 2.1 million live in the GVRD – that’s a lot of people that could be potential buyers.
FV - Are you excited about having the EAT! Fraser Valley Food + Cooking Festival for the first time?
TA – Absolutely. EAT! Fraser Valley Food + Cooking Festival will draw visitors from all over the Lower Mainland and will give the Fraser Valley agri-tourism industry a chance to showcase the spectacular locally grown products and produce.
FV - Why should people visit the EAT! Fraser Valley Food + Cooking Festival? What can people expect to see?
TA- According to the EAT! Fraser Valley Food + Cooking Festival organizers: The show will bring the magic of food and cooking to the Fraser Valley. The event will feature Food Network celebrity chefs alongside our own very talented chefs from the Valley demonstrating their skills on the cooking stage, while the Dairy Farmers of Canada will be conducting cheese appreciation seminars. The Bite of The Valley restaurant pavilion will feature the best local Fraser Valley restaurants serving up appetizer portions of their signature recipes. Many of the Fraser Valley’s wineries, food and beverage manufacturers, retailers, food artisans, and many other merchants and producers from regions far and wide will be on hand for a three day public showing at the Tradex Exhibition Centre. Visitors will enjoy sampling and shopping in the marketplace [with] over 150 exhibit booths - everything for a balanced lifestyle. Beer, wine and spirits from the Valley and beyond will be well represented in the Tasting Pavilion where visitors can sip and taste hundreds of different beverages while the Grapes and Hops Stage will feature presentations and tastings by local and regional beer and wine experts.
The EAT! Fraser Valley Food + Cooking Festival will be, in the words of the producers: “A celebration of 150 years of Fraser Valley’s bountiful harvests and food processing.”
For more information, please visit the EAT! Fraser Valley Food + Cooking Festival website
by Dana Mahon
Photos provided by Tourism Abbotsford
Edited by: Sheila G. LoGuisto
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