Author: Romina Rooney • Date: September 22, 2016 • Appears in:
Another Successful Soil Mate Picnic!
Our 2nd Annual Soil Mate Family Picnic was last Sunday, September 18th at the beautiful Eastwood Organics Farm. The Soil Mate team drove to the farm bright and early to get the venue set up and ready to greet guests with the different games, music, entertainment and workshops that were enjoyed by all throughout the day.
Only 10 minutes away from Orchard Park Mall in Kelowna, the farm really is a lovely getaway to the country and was a wonderful opportunity for guests to visit a working farm and meet the gracious hosts, farmers Jim and Lorena Wood. And wow, did we luck out with the weather! The day before, it rained all day in Kelowna but by Sunday morning, the ground was drying, the clouds were departing and by them time 11am rolled around, the sun came out and played. A beautiful, warm fall day was enjoyed by all; families, couples, friends, and community.
Supported by Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, this year's event brought out over three hundred people who spread out their picnic blankets underneath the orchard trees and enjoyed the live music from the stage (made up of apple crates, of course). This year’s music lineup was amazing with Fiddle, Big Fiddle entertaining guests with their cello and violin duet, Ukulele Bruce giving the event a tropical and laidback vibe, and the Belles and the Band belting out country classics. Jim went from farmer to musician when he joined the stage with his band, Blueskies Trio and played their swingy blues. A jack of all trades! And last but not least, let's not forget the special treat of Lorena's "chicken song". That needs to be an annual performance as well!
Kids enjoyed themselves running around the farm's treehouse, bouncing in the bouncy house and playing with the different activities and games available from the City of Kelowna. They even had a professional makeup artist who volunteered for the event and provided fun face paints!
The workshops from MotherLove Ferments on kombucha making and Edible Nourished Wellness and L’Oven Farm Fresh Foods on preserving and canning the harvest were thoroughly enjoyed and well received. Guests loved being able to learn first hand the benefits and nutritional value of fermenting and preserving, and having that access from experts to ask questions and gain knowledge.
A big highlight at the farm this year was the onsite juicer. Guests could see the crates of organic apples go through the juicing process and could leave with their box of delicious apple juice, still warm from getting pasteurized. Talk about farm-to-table!
We have so many people to thank for making this free annual event happen. Thank you to guests who brought food items to be donated to to the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank through Valley First’s Feed the Valley. Thank you to all volunteers who dedicated their time to help out the Soil Mate team throughout the event with welcoming guests and answering questions, to the musicians and workshop presenters on entertaining and passing along their knowledge, to the City of Kelowna for providing the kids games and entertainment, to Valley First - an amazing community supporter, and last but not least to Jim and Lorena Wood for opening up their home and farm to give the community access to local food.
The event was a great way to end Farmer's Appreciation Week and to celebrate the harvest, the farmers who feed us and our community. A wonderful time was had by all who were there and we look forward to next year’s picnic!