6 Summer Fruits & Vegetables Local to the Okanagan!
Due to its varying seasonal climate and diverse landscape, the Okanagan Valley and surrounding area produces some of the best fruits and vegetables available in BC.
Due to its varying seasonal climate and diverse landscape, the Okanagan Valley and surrounding area produces some of the best fruits and vegetables available in BC. During the summer months, Okanagan farmers markets, roadside stands, small family farms and supermarkets overflow with ripe berries, peaches, tomatoes, and – of course – the region’s world-famous grapes.
For those seeking a break from winery tours and lazy days at the lake, the abundance of fruits and vegetables provide the perfect opportunity for visitors in the area to experience the arid Okanagan crops and farmland. Fruit picking is a popular activity open during harvesting times from July to September. Guests staying in Kelowna, Osoyoos, Vernon, Summerland, and other outlying Okanagan towns can enjoy the BC summer while indulging in some of the freshest produce in the country.
Apricots are an underrated fruit that are jam-packed with vitamins and fiber. When picked at prime ripeness, apricots can be soft, sweet, and tangy, and can be dried and canned to last the year. Okanagan apricots are available from July to August, and come in the Goldbar, Perfection, Tomcot, Sundrop, and Tilton varieties. While they can be enjoyed fresh or in baked goods, they also make delicious preserves and jams.
The Okanagan Valley is famous for its U-Pick farms, where visitors pay a reasonable rate to have their (literal) pick of the freshest cherries available. Usually, cherry season begins in late June and ends in August, though this can be weather dependent and result in later ripening times. Okanagan cherries include the Bing, Rainier, Van, Lambert, Skeena, Lapin and Sweetheart varieties.
Visitors familiar with the Okanagan town of Penticton have probably heard of – or participated in – the annual Penticton Peachfest. As the name suggests, this Okanagan festival highlight is centered around the region’s juiciest asset: the peach. Though the festival only runs for five days after the August long weekend, there are plenty of opportunities to pick peaches, beginning in late July and ending in early September.
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Beets may be the culprit for staining kitchen surfaces and the palms of your hand red, but they’re also one of the healthiest vegetables out there. Believed to help prevent chronic illness and promote healthy brain function, beets are a sweet and tangy root vegetable popular in the summer months. Beet season in the Okanagan runs from July to September, and come in a handful of different varieties and colours, including golden, striped, and deep red.
The Okanagan’s arid temperatures provide the ideal setting for tomato crops. While many locals have been known to grow them in their own yards, tomato crops are plentiful particularly in southernmost areas of the region such as Osoyoos. Tomato season begins in July and can last until the first frost during the winter months.
Despite its relatively short harvest between the months of April and June, the region’s climate allows for the production of fresh, locally-grown asparagus not to be missed. If visitors can make it to the Valley before the harvesting cycle ends, they can be treated to the nutritious and tender stalks grown under the Okanagan sun. For foragers and adventurers, wild asparagus ferns have been spotted in the hills of Kelowna.
Planning a trip to the Okanagan?
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