Without hesitation, chef Michael Buffett of Start Fresh Kitchen declares his pasta-making classes the most popular.
After all, you can’t go wrong making tender noodles from scratch with nona’s recipe and smothering it in a sauce made of tomatoes, herbs and garlic grown at Start Fresh’s own Wise Earth Farm.
Paired with an uber-fresh green salad, assembled, of course, from vegetables and herbs grown at Wise Earth, and a glass of wine from East Kelowna’s Kitsch Winery, it’s the ultimate farm-to-table meal.
Start Fresh and Wise Earth have amped up the concept by partnering with Giro Okanagan for the consummate Farm-to-Table by Bike tour of Kelowna.
“We have foraging tours that can be booked any time where we cycle from farm to farm, enjoy the scenery along the way and eat a catered lunch at Spierhead Winery,” said Giro owner Gord Hotchkiss.
“But it’s ultra-special when we combine it with a cooking class at Fresh Start. We forage at all the farms and show up with the ingredients for the meal.”
There are some hills on the bike ride, but lots of breaks at beautiful orchards, Arlo’s Honey Farm, Tantalus Winery, Caldwell Heritage Farm, Soma Craft Cidery and Dendy Orchards for award-winning cherries.
Don’t forget the pedal-halting stops to drink in the views.
Hotchkiss’s favourite is on Hart Road, where the vista spans from Harvest Golf Club, orchards and farms to the city, Okanagan Lake and mountains.
“The theme may be foraging, but really it’s a fun and educational way to ride a bike and strengthen our ongoing connection with the land,” he says.
By the time you arrive at Start Fresh Kitchen with your farm haul, Buffett has a charcuterie board ready to greet you.
You’ll be asked to do some hands-on work in the kitchen, but will be rewarded with that aforementioned farm-to-table meal with wine, if you so choose.
The farm and culinary focus, particularly when combined with wine, has become huge for Tourism Kelowna.
The original farm-to-table notion has been been reimagined and rebranded as Local Flavours.
There’s a 20-page Local Flavours brochure outlining all the farms, orchards, markets, wineries and farm-to-table restaurants you can visit.
All the information and suggested itineraries are also on the website TourismKelowna.com/things-to-do/farms-orchards-markets/local-flavours-guide.
Similarly, the Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market offers a Taste of the Okanagan food class at every market, led by market co-ordinator Frances Callaghan.
The day my wife and I dropped by, it was a signature spinach salad made of greens from Zelaney Farms in Lavington, strawberries grown at Hoamai Farm in Vernon, green onions from ASG Farms in Armstrong and cheese from Bella Stella in Lumby.
It was topped with grilled chicken from Sterling Farms in Falkland in a honey glaze from Brainy Bee in Kelowna.
There was a choice of two salad dressings — the cranberry-strawberry vinaigrette from Kelowna’s Taste of the Okanagan or strawberry-rhubarb balsamic vinegar from Radjam of Kelowna.
The best part is anyone who wants to sample the food can.
Callaghan thinks the next creation will be a hyper-local and incredibly stuffed breakfast sandwich.
The Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market takes place Wednesdays and Saturdays across from Orchard Park mall.