Spring in Kamloops brings sage green-hued hillsides, the rush of the Thompson Rivers as the alpine ice packs thaw and the return of many pollinators such as honey bees, bumblebees and butterflies that kickstart Kamloops’ lengthy growing season. Kamloops is extremely fortunate to have such a long growing season – and our farmers can certainly attest - this video explains.
Farming begins well before the greenery pokes from the soil. Much of the planning starts in the winter months with seeds being ordered in January, greenhouse planting in February/March, and outdoor planting in April. By the time the Kamloops Regional Farmers' Market opens on April 22nd, farmers have been tending to their bounty for three full months. Walking through the Saturday market, you can expect to find root vegetables such as carrots, beets, garlic, potatoes, and cabbage that have been stored through the winter, though most exciting are the fresh, tender greens like purple and green lettuce, kale, and lettuce mixes perfect for spring salads.
The Kamloops Regional Farmers’ Market is celebrating 39 years of operation this year, and will be operate twice weekly throughout the season - Saturdays starting on April 22nd on the 200 block of St Paul Street, running from 8am-12pm and Wednesdays starting May 3rd on the 400 block of Victoria Street. The market is an eclectic showcase of local artisans – bakers, wine makers, artists, potters, beekeepers, florists and more.
An early season visit will reveal the freshest of Kamloops’ agricultural abundance. Exploring Kamloops flavours is quite simple – The Kamloops Flavours Trail highlights 3 options for visiting farm gardens, wineries, craft breweries, cafes and local foodie hotspots tasting the best of the season. Complete with a must-have “Shopping List”, your local souvenirs may consist of jars of honey, smoked salmon, local oatmeal and artisanal salsa. The Flavours Trail brochure can be picked up at the Kamloops Visitor Centre upon arrival to the city or plan ahead and download it online at www.tourismkamloops.com/flavourstrail.
Want to check out the busy workers that make all of this possible? Monte Creek Ranch Winery – Kamloops’ newest winery – also produces up to 400 litres of honey each year. Their honey is all natural, hand packaged and unpasteurized to present its full flavour while preserving the healthy, live enzymes that make honey good for you. To produce just one litre of honey, bees are estimated to have to fly more than 75,000 km.
Kamloops embraces the importance of these buzzy buddies and has recently been recognized as BC’s first Bee City by Bee City Canada - an organization that promotes habitat development and preservation for the country’s 800 bee species. As such, Kamloops’ certification will work to inspire and encourage local gardeners and farmers to introduce more bee-supporting plants and undertake public education on environmentally friendly pest management and the benefits of bees.
We certainly owe our thanks to our bees. Kamloops’ vibrant agriculture and urban food culture are a result of their hard work and tenacity helping to produce edible experiences that are perfect compliments to any Kamloops itinerary. Craft brews on a downtown patio, picnics paired with wine in the vineyard, food truck fare in the park or a three-course chef’s table are all options to add to your day. And…you can leave the driving to someone else! Let a local tour company play host for the day – DiVine Tours, Tailgate Tours, Tastefull Excursions and Wine Lover’s Tours all welcome you to sit back and relax.
Spring in Kamloops is the perfect season - no rush, no crowds, delectable flavours, stunning scenery, fresh abundance…and lots of sunshine! Come see what all the buzz is about!
Contributed by: Adrienne de Candole