Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Get out to the Farms!

As spring seems to have finally decided to show it's warmer side, we come out of hibernation and look forward to the arrival of those first fresh local culinary treasures and begin seeking them out. The best way to discover these delicious offerings is to head out to the country and visit the farmers and vintners that are producing them.

While agritourism may have it’s roots in Italy – British Columbia has wasted no time adopting the term and lifestyle, nowhere is this more apparent then in the farms and wineries across this beautiful province. Agritourism offerings are as diverse as the landscape they rest on; from corn mazes with your kids to barrel sampling with the vintners, the choices are truly endless.
Preserving Krause asparagus at Vista D'oro

Food and wine go hand in hand and culinary agritourism and wineries are a match made in heaven. Agritourism on wineries comes in many forms; from culinary classes and vineyard tours to fully gourmet-stocked tasting rooms and overnight stays amongst the vines, the wineries are taking the ‘experience’ to whole new level.

A trip to the Fraser Valley uncovers many of these experiential destinations.  With over ten wineries from Richmond to Chilliwack, and endless farms stops along the way, it’s easy to plan a full day out in the country and come home with edible delicacies and local wines to stock your pantry and cellar for months to come.

Farmhouse Cheese - always on the picnic menu!

At The Farmhouse Natural Cheese in Agassiz, view cheese makers turning fresh ‘from the cow’ milk into beautiful artisanal cheeses, then take a stroll around the farm to meet the cows and goats that make it all possible. Stop in at Krause Berry Farms to get the first crop of asparagus and pick your own ripe strawberries then head in and watch those same berries being made into fresh baked scones in their farm kitchen, melt in your mouth deliciousness!

Thomas Haas treats in the Farmgate Shop
Warning: Shameless plug about to begin… At our own farmgate shop and winery, Vista D’oro Farms in Langley, alongside our wines, we feature culinary products made on our farm using our orchard fruits as well as produce from other local farms. We also stock other great local products including artisanal cheeses, charcuterie as well as local chef produced delicacies such as Thomas Haas chocolates, Terra Breads baguettes and crackers, and Tequi-Lime Sauces from Chef Ann Kirsebom.

Picnic under the walnut tree with a view of the vineyard.
Vista D’oro also offers picnic-ing under the walnut trees or on our deck, produced in our commercial kitchen incorporating fresh local ingredients into our menus.  Using products grown or produced on our farm as well as many other local farms alongside a glass of Vista D’oro wine, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

The Fort Wine Company in Fort Langley offers delicious fruit wines and has another lovely spot for romantic picnics. They also offer tours of the farm and winery and a lovely bistro in the tasting room.

First blooms on the apple trees!

Take the time to meet with the people providing these experiences they are a passionate bunch who truly love what they do and only too happy to share it with you.
Come and hang out on the deck!
Be sure to check out www.circlefarmtour.com for more stops in the Fraser Valley!

With so many unique agritourism experiences to choose from your hardest task will be convincing yourselves to come back home. Careful, you may end up like us, never leaving the farm!