Standing over the sink this morning, pealing the skins off of some beautiful peaches I started thinking that it would be nice to have some kind of grower’s chart that would tell me when the local tree fruits and vegetables should be ripe so I could plan my canning and freezing schedule. Not that I do a great deal but it would be nice to know when I can buy my favourite fruits and vegetables from some of the local fruit stands, orchardists or from one of the many local farm fresh markets.
Then I thought of the thousands of visitors who come to this area for their summer vacations and wouldn’t it be nice if they could plan their arrivals around the time their favourite foods would be ready for them to take home.
My little piece of heaven is the beautiful South Okanagan which is home to Osoyoos, Oliver, Okanagan Falls, Penticton, Keremeos, Summerland, Peachland, West Kelowna, Kelowna, Lake Country and Vernon. I have recently moved to Oliver so am a bit prejudiced but I have bought fruits and vegetables all over the area and think they are the best in the country.
An approximate guidelines as to when Okanagan fruits and vegetables are ready is listed below:
July: Apricots, Blueberries, Cherries, Tomatoes, Nectarines, Zucchini, Green Onions, Radishes
August: Corn, Peppers, Green Beans, Peas, Nectarines, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Apples, Onions, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Cantaloupe, Lettuce
September: Peaches, Plums, Pears, Apples, Onions, Squash
October: Apples, Pumpkins, Squash
Each growing season is different depending upon Mother Nature and how she feels that year. The temperature, amount of rain and sunshine all factor into when the Okanagan farm fresh fruits and vegetables will be ready. So my list is approximate.
Where can I purchase Okanagan Fresh Fruit & Vegetables?
There are a number of Farmers Markets where you will find what you are looking for.
- Osoyoos Market on Main: “”Home Made – Home Grown” where there are arts & crafts, baking, fruits, vegetables, organics and pet items. You will find it in the Town Square every Saturday morning from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm.
- Oliver’s Country Market A’Fair: Arts & crafts, baking, honey, fruits and vegetables every Saturday morning from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm every at the north end of Lions Park.
- Penticton Farmers Market is every Saturday morning where you will find all types of fresh foods, crafts, ethnic foods, baking, flowers, meat/fish, pet items and a miscellaneous amount of fabulous items. There is quite often entertainment to be enjoyed. It’s open from 8:30 to noon in the 100 block of Main Street.
- Kelowna’s Farmers and Crafters Market shouldn’t be missed.
Their day markets are every Wednesday and Saturday morning from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm starting in April until the end of October at the corner of Dilworth and Springfield Road. This is a large market with arts and crafts, baking, candy & nuts, concession, dairy products, ethnic foods, cut flowers, fruits & vegetables, plants, meat/fish, and the list goes on…
They also have an afternoon and evening market from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm every Thursday starting in June and ends at the start of September. It’s at the waterfront parking lot at the Dolphins.
- Vernon’s Farmers’ Market is one of the oldest in the Okanagan and is said to be one of the very best. Starting in April they have their markets every Monday and Thursday between 8:00 am to 12:00pm. Arts & crafts, baking, candy & nuts, concession, dairy products, ethnic foods, cut flowers, fruits, vegetables, plans, meat/fish, organics and preserves. It is located at Westbild Centre parking lot at 3445 43rd Avenue.
As you drive along Highway 97 north between Osoyoos and Vernon there are many fruit stands along the road for you to stop to purchase what you need or want. If you are a bit more adventuresome there are orchardists who will let you “pick your own” sometimes for a lesser cost.
As you can tell it is impossible to not find what you are looking for during the growing season of the South Okanagan.
BC Association of Farmers’ Markets. http://www.bcfarmersmarket.org/index.htm
Oliver Country Market A’Fair: http://www.bcfarmersmarket.org/markets/marketdetails.asp?marketID=169
Penticton Farmers Market: http://www.bcfarmersmarket.org/markets/marketdetails.asp?marketID=102
Kelowna’s Farmers Market: http://www.kelownafarmersandcraftersmarket.com/index.html
Vernon Farmers Market: http://www.bcfarmersmarket.org/markets/marketdetails.asp?marketID=167