While the Okanagan South is rich in vineyards, the Okanagan North offers a plethora of farms. Armstrong, in particular, is a farmland haven, sitting just past Vernon and before Salmon Arm, its lush green landscape is dotted with beautiful farms raising animals and growing fruits, vegetables and grains.
This agricultural region also has a niche for cheese makers, who thrive in the area. The cheese culture (get it?) here is strong and was started many years ago by the pioneer of this delicious craft, Armstrong Cheese. The 4th Annual ‘Cheese…It’s A Natural’ Festival takes place this year on November 5th. “Many people are not aware that we host this event – it is a great event featuring local products,” says Patti Noonan, executive director of the Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Centre. “There are plenty of wine festivals, but there was not a festival in the interior that focused on celebration cheese.” And what could be better than a cheese festival?
‘The festival is made up of two events on Saturday. From 10am – 2pm, everyone is welcome to enjoy samples of cheese, beverages and locally produced food as well as cheer on the Cheese Ball and Grilled Cheese contest participants. Want to know more about cheese? Take the cheese 101 workshop or join us for the Cheesemakers Spirited Tasting event in the evening. Admission to the daytime is by donation; tickets to the Cheesemaker’s Spirited Tasting are $25 in advance.”
This delicious event will bring together cheese makers from Terroir Cheese, The Village Cheese Company, Bella Stella Cheese and more with cheese lovers to learn about this artisan craft and have the chance to sample the amazing array of local cheese creations from the area. The festival will also include other Okanagan artisan foods from this region, like products from Blue Hills Lavender, Chocoliro Finest Chocolate as well as wine, spirits and grains.
~ Jennifer Schell