Food writer Jennifer Cockrall-King has split her time between Edmonton and the Okanagan for 10 years running. As a result, she’s had a keen vantage from which to observe the growth of the wine country’s food scene, a topic which is the subject of her new book, Food Artisans of the Okanagan.
“I’ve noticed such a surge of amazing quality products and chefs moving there, to really make the food scene blossom,” says Cockrall-King of her decision to pen a celebration of those who grow, brew, bake, and cook in the region. “There’s a guy who hand-makes the most amazing beef jerky and pepperoni, with his own spice mix and brine, and smokes batches fresh to order. People line up the minute he opens. Then there are niche farms like Fieldstone Organic Granary, who specialize in ancient wheats like kamut and Khorasan—which aren’t things people even think about.” A clutch of distilleries and cider-brewers made Cockrall-King’s cut for inclusion in the book, evidencing that there is more going on in the region that just wine, libation-wise (though there is certainly wine—and world-class vineyards at that).
The region’s oft-surreal natural beauty gets its due recognition as well; “I tell people, ‘You won’t believe you’re in Canada.’ The geography is unlike anything, the climate is scorching,” says Cockrall-King. “You don’t have to cross a border or convert your money, but you’re in a totally different place.” One that just so happens to sound like foodie heaven.
Photos by Jennifer Cockrall-King.