In the shadows of the Cascade Mountains lies the Similkameen Valley where the stunning scenery gives way to the plentiful orchards and farms that provide British Columbia, Canada with fresh, organic produce picked daily and flavorful wines aged yearly.
The Similkameen Valley is on the edge of the Okanagan region and stretches for roughly 200 km along the Similkameen River. While exploring the area, you absolutely must visit the Similkameen wineries and organic food farms and markets.
The Similkameen Valley: The Organic Farming Capital of Canada
The region boasts rugged terrain, varied wildlife and an organic lifestyle. Labeled the Organic Farming Capital of Canada and known for its array of award-winning wineries, Similkameen Valley makes simple and healthy living easy to come by.
With freshly harvested fruits and vegetables for sale at fruit stands and farmers’ markets throughout the valley, the Similkameen Valley boasts an unspoiled, fully discoverable region to all. Stopping in the many family-run fruit stands all along BC Highway 3, displays the sustainable life the valley is leading.
Forty percent of the regions farming is certified organic and, growing just about every fruit and vegetable including some fruit local to the region, there is no need to shop any further for freshness than the Similkameen Valley. From apple orchards to purple potatoes, this valley is preserving the simple life and helping to bring organic food directly to the table whether it be consumers’ or restaurants’.
The region also boasts many natural wonders and is a haven for the adventurous and independent-minded traveler with various recreational activities in the mountains, lakes and river as well as many regional and seasonal events taking place throughout. The Similkameen Valley is a food, wine and recreational adventure waiting to be discovered.
Insider’s Tip: Here are two places not to miss while touring the Similkameen Valley.
As fifth generation farmers, Harker’s Organics, located along BC Highway 3 in Cawston—a small rustic town in the Similkameen Valley—has built its brand. It is comprised of about 18 acres of fruit orchards and 8 acres of ground crops along with a greenhouse located on the property. Harker’s Organics grows anything from Gala apples to 30 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes. The open-air retail shop on the property, which started out as a small fruit stand decades ago, sells the farm’s seasonal organic fruits and vegetables as well as other local organic grocery items. It is a great place to take a break and grab a healthy snack while touring the region.
Harker’s Organics also has a wine tasting room on the property under the entity, Rustic Roots Winery, where they offer a taste of their homemade fruit wine. Instead of growing grapes, Rustic Roots Winery uses the food that is already growing on their land to create a unique wine experience and increase sustainability.
Seven Stones Winery
This Similkameen winery grows a variety of grapes on 20 acres of bench land in the Similkameen Valley. The winery’s tasting room is located on BC Highway 3 in Cawston. While Seven Stones Winery is new to the wine scene—grape planting began in 2000 and 2001—they already have a great reputation and a unique wine style. They specialize in French style wines ranging from Chardonnay to a bold Cabernet Franc. When visiting Seven Stones Winery, be sure to go on the cave tours and see where the wine is housed.