Kelowna for Foodies
I have been vacationing in Kelowna for the past several years and have a few places I like to go to for food and food related shopping. Cooking vegetarian means I judge places by the selection and condition of their produce, not by what they stock on their shelves (canned and bottled products etc.). I’d like to share my list with you in case you are a newcomer to that lovely area and need some help finding the right sources. Several of these small vendors do not have a webpage so I am providing their address instead. The list is by no means conclusive. There are so many good places to buy quality produce and several small back yard farmers sell their produce during the summer as well. These are just the highlights:
Okanagan Grocery Artisan Breads Bakery
Located in Guisachan Village and now in a second location on Windsor Rd. that houses their bakery this bakery produces artisan breads from natural starters yielding absolutely delicious breads. Besides their baguettes, focaccia and a variety of other delicious loaves they make a Callebaut chocolate bread loaded with chocolate, a peanut butter and jam bread oozing with the stuff and the best potato or milk buns you can find here. One thing I always get is their cheese sticks. So addicting. They also sell Carmelis goat cheese products and frozen soups made by Streetfoods which are absolutely delicious. I am there every day and no, I don’t get commission to promote them. They are just that good. Go there, you’d do yourself a favour.
Markets and fruits and vegetables stands
Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market
In business for 17 seasons, this is the largest farmers market in the area. It is held on the corner of Dillworth and Springfield and is open April through October on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You need to go early as the hours are only from 8:00 am until 1:00 pm. Check the vendors list on their webpage but really, just going to the market and seeing the fabulous produce will make your head spin. Grab a coffee from Highland Mountain Coffee (the coffee guy) or tea from Cape of Hoops Tea while you do your preliminary walkthrough or have your breakfast waffle on a stick from Waffle Stick. I am there for sure once every week.
3443 Benvoulin Rd south of KLO
New owners bought this 35 years old vegetable and fruit stand that has been a landmark in Kelowna. Vegetables are still picked daily and this is a good place to start you food foray. In the summer wooden crates are set in the front full of corn, tomatoes, melons etc. In the fall they display hundreds of pumpkins and various winter squashes in the front yard. They carry a good selection of fruits and veggies, sell freshly made apple juice in large bottles and now even offer vegetables samosa made by the family who now owns the place.
Little church Organic Farms
With a stand at the farmers market as well as on 3609 Gordon Drive this place is great for just picked organic produce and fabulous fresh herbs. Green and yellow beans, new potatoes, field tomatoes, variety of squashes and much more. A worthwhile stop.
Alice Flowers and Produce
3735 gordon Dr. in the mission area
Another great stop for just picked produce and flowers on Gordon Dr. They grow their own corn, fresh herbs, excellent garlic and also sell fresh flowers from their gardens. I stop by there every week for flowers and their bouquets last a long time.
My Country Garden
1760 KLO Rd.
Situated on KLO just west of Benvoulin this market offers freshly picked fruits and vegetables as well as “cut your own flowers” from the rows of flowers in their yard. I found some zucchini with the flowers attached there this summer and the quality of produce is very good.
A great year round source for quality fruits and vegetables in Kelowna. Located at 1937 Harvey it is part of a chain of BC retailers of organic food supporting local growers and producers.
Another great all season source for beautiful produce is just around the corner from choices at 1889 Spall rd. You will find local and organic produce there in the summer and other products from different sources in the winter.
102, 2365 Gordon Drive
Located in Guisachan Village on Gordon and Guisachan Paul’s Produce is a good source for fruits and vegetables and is especially useful in the winter when the farmers markets are closed for the season. They also carry Blackwell Dairy farm products: the best thick cream to be found in the area.
With a location in both Kelowna and West Kelowna this is an organic grocery store with their own label of over 400 products.
3180 Lakeshore (South Pandosy)
Urban Fare needs no introduction if you are from Toronto or Vancouver. A new location at 3155 Lakeshore Rd (S. Pandosy) where Coopers used to be is a welcome addition to the neighborhood and 5 minute walk from my house (imagine that). They just open so I have to cut them some slack on the produce department but it will be a good source in the winter when farmers stands are closed. It is an excellent source anytime for quality prepared products and they carry a line of their own condiments etc. I loved their red pepper jelly with my cheese fritters this summer.
On the corner of Pandosy and KLO in the Mission
An institution in the neighborhood this grocery store has been here serving the Mission residents for more than 30 years and has loyal followers.
4600 Lakeshore Rd.
This store has been around for a long time. Located at 4600 Lakeshore Rd. in the south Mission it’s a destination for locals and foddies alike. I love their apple strudel and other baked items, made for them by a local seller.
The place to go for all things Italian. Authentic selection of cheeses, good olives, pasta and imported products from Italy. Imported olive oils, vinegars and canned San Marzano tomatoes as well as a very good Valaroso brand of canned tomatoes. Rice and risotto rice, truffles and various flours for pizza are all available there. Sip a cappuccino at the counter in the morning while munching on one of their pastries and make your list of must have groceries for the day.
Zia Italian Fine Foods
The new kid on the block, the recently opened Zia Italian market offers a selection of Italian products from pasta and sauces, oils and vinegars and imported Italian specialties to cheese, risotto and Italian sweets. You must try the outstanding gelato they sell in the store or for take out in containers. Absolutely delish.
Kitchen and Table Top Stores
Known as Kelowna’s kitchen store Chef’s Edge is the store for serious cooks. They carry an extensive selections of cooking equipment from pots and pans to knives to bakeware and kitchen gadgets. Check out their cast iron selection of cookware as well as Mauviel Copper Cookware, Le Creuset, all clad and more. A must visit for serious foodies.
The Lakehouse Home Store
A fabulous store with everything from cookware, bakeware, small appliances (Panini makers, Espresso Machines) to kitchen gear and home décor. I never leave empty handed. The staff is so friendly, interested and knowledgeable. A must stop while visiting Kelowna.
A great store on Bernard for gorgeous tableware, glassware, beautiful table linens and gorgeous accessories. Friendly staff that know their products and are interested in helping you make good choices. A must stop for shoppers while visiting Kelowna.
Mission Hill Winery Store
In addition to wines this gorgeous winery has his amazing store on-site with to-die-for items from Europe and around the world. It’s one of the first places I go to when I arrive and love everything I bought from there. Very unique.
Goat Cheese Farm
Carmelis Goat Cheese Artisan Inc.
You will find Carmelis goat cheese in all of the best local restaurants and specialty stores. Carmelis is owned by an Israeli family producing cheese on their farm up in the hills above Cedar Creek Winery and their farm and store are open for visitors. It’s a fun drive along lakeshore road and up into the hills (I even know people who bike there). The cheeses are made pure, without additives or preservatives and are ripened and aged in optimum conditions for the type. All cheese is made with milk from their own goats that are fed natural food free of hormones and artificial elements.
Local Food Blogs
It’s fun to look at local blogs when you arrive at a new place. There is always something to learn and food blogs are a great source of information. Many bloggers would be happy to answer your questions about the area’s resources if you contact them through their blog. Here are my two local favourite blogs in Kelowna, both by women foodies worth their salt:
More Than Burnt Toast
Val runs this very successful blog, has appeared in a number of publications, presented at bloggers conferences and won several awards. She also gives back to the community through BloggerAid. A great blog with a lot of good information and wonderful recipes.
An Uneducated Palate
Calling herself an “aspiring culinarian” Laura is living a culinary dream by going all over the world attending cooking classes. She has been everywhere, from the Cordon Bleu and The Ritz Escoffier School of French Gastronomy in Paris to Mission Hill Winery cooking classes right here at home and many more. Check out her site for review of cooking classes. You’d want to hop on the next plane and go to Paris or you can take in one of the local classes she recommends. And great recipes too.
Mission Hill Winery Culinary Workshops
Mission Hill Winery’s expert culinary team headed by Chef Mathew Batey lets you in on their secrets in a series of fabulous culinary workshops in the beautiful winery. You can also get your sommelier certificate there, more on that later.
Wine & Thyme Cooking School
Run by Sylvia out of her lovely home overlooking the Okanagan lake, this is a hands-on cooking school where you actually make the food you eat. Sylvia is a Cordon Bleu trained (Ottawa), knows her food and the recipes are fool-proof and delicious. You cook everything under her watchful eye and supervision in a professionally equipped kitchen with a cookware storage room that’s every cook’s dream. I learned a lot in the class I attended.
More to come. Stay tuned.
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