Summer is fleeting and when you want to tour all the wineries, attractions and beaches while the weather is fantastic, sometimes you just want to grab something and hit the trail. The Bench Market, perennially a favourite in Penticton for lingering on the patio, has you covered for fresh local items to go. Build your own picnic with delectable goodies like handcrafted cheeses from BC producers including Naramata Bench’s Upper Bench Winery & Creamery, Poplar Grove Cheese, Salt Spring Island Cheese Company, Natural Pastures (Comox), and Jerseyland Organics (Grand Forks). Add charcuterie from Two Rivers Specialty Meats, a purveyor of fine local meats free of antibiotics, hormones and additives; housemade seasoned roasted almonds, hummus and other from-scratch dips; Gone Crackers and Raincoast Crisps; mixed olives; fresh in-house baking, grab ‘n’ go sandwiches, and salads; plus, organic fresh fruit in season. If you’re staying in self-catered accommodations, there’s great housemade takeaway to heat at home such as meat or vegetarian lasagna, pizza and shepherd’s pie. Browse the retail shelves for other local products such as Penticton and Similkameen honey, jams, preserves, Wineland Dressings, gelato, and The Bench Market’s own granolas. From further afield there’s sea salts, oils and vinegars, for example. For summer reading or souvenirs, check out the local cookbooks. Open seven days a week year-round until 5 pm, it’s also highly recommended for breakfast, lunch and coffee any day, and for its fabulous brunch served Saturday, Sundays and holidays until 2 pm.

~ Roslyne Buchanan