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BC's Bounty: Celebrate the Fall Harvest, From Land to Sea

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Fishermen's Wharf in Cowichan Bay, taken by @localwanderer
Fishermen's Wharf in Cowichan Bay | @localwanderer

From sweet pies and preserves to pumpkin soups and cranberry marinades, celebrate the coming of a new season by appreciating the rich flavours of BC’s fall harvest. Learn more about how different communities across the province are inspired by the season’s bounty, and slow down, appreciate the moment, and enjoy the nourishment of fall comfort foods. And did we mention the creamy ales and smooth red wines? There’s so much to relish in, so get your layers on, cozy up, and enjoy.

U-pick fields at Krause Berry Farms | Albert Normandin

The Lower Mainland 

The verdant Fraser River valley east of Vancouver has some of the richest soil in the province. Here you’ll find U-pick farms, dairy farms, and even an organic grain mill. The region has created a series of self-guided circle farm tours, each of which gives you an opportunity to meet the farmers and hear their stories, and to taste what’s in season right where it was grown, including wines, for those interested in acquainting themselves with the unique terroir of this delectable region.

Fall also means plenty of fresh cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, as well as crops that inspire some of the sweetest comfort foods, like cranberries, pumpkins, and apples. From the sea, this is the time to feast on salmon—the fish that is synonymous with British Columbia—and practise your shucking skills in anticipation of oyster season. Wild mushrooms will also start to appear on menus at farm-to-table restaurants like Burdock and Co. and Farmer’s Apprentice. And there’s no better time to warm up with hot, steaming dumplings by following Richmond’s Dumpling Trail.

Pender Harbour | @foodgays

Sea-to-Sky & the South Cariboo

Enjoy fall delights in Squamish, from seasonal baked treats to smooth libations on the Craft Tasting Trail, and come November, Sip and Savour tasting menus from local chefs and craft makers. October is Craft Beer Month in Whistler, which also hosts its own celebration of food and drink with Cornucopia in November, where educational drink seminars, chef’s demonstrations, signature events, and delicious winery dinners will expand your palate for the season.

Extend your adventure with an agri-tour through the Pemberton Valley and up Highway 97, enjoying the golden colours of ranchlands and free-range pastures of the South Cariboo. Stop for road-side attractions in BC’s Gold Rush country and stock up on seasonal items from farm markets like 85-acre Horsting’s Farmer’s Market just outside of Cache Creek (their fresh-baked bread and homemade pie are a must). Or, sip and swing this season at Indigenous-owned wineries and golf courses, a perfect pairing of leisure and luxury.


Sunshine Coast

Across Howe Sound, find locally grown artisanal fare, including Canada’s only certified organic caviar and white sturgeon in Sechelt. In Gibsons, Persephone Brewing grows their own hops, and in nearby Roberts Creek, small-batch gin and vodka with BC herbs and spices are carefully crafted by the small-but-mighty local operation that is Bruinwood Estate Distillery. Gibsons Farmer’s Market hosts live music every Saturday and Powell River’s Open Air Market is open every Sunday in the fall.

Scallops at the Crest Hotel in Prince Rupert

Northern BC

Prince Rupert restaurant owners pride themselves on their selection of fresh, local ingredients, and menus that celebrate their connection to the landscape and community through food. There are plenty of fine places to dine for every meal of the day.

In Prince George, visit BC’s northernmost winery, Northern Lights Estate Winery, on the Nechako riverfront. In Terrace, enjoy the music scene and local food and drink options at The Skeena Bar, which sources ingredients from nearby purveyors including White Goat Coffee and Daybreak Eggs.

Kootenay Rockies

Farther east, in the Kootenay Rockies, go for a full-sensory experience by pairing autumn flavours with a flourishing art scene in its scenic mountain towns. Visit local exhibitions for new perspectives on the natural environment, and farm and craft markets that celebrate locally made products. At the end of September, watch the borscht cook-off at the Doukhobor Discovery Centre in Castelgar; try mead at the Kootenays’ only meadery, located in Skookumchuck; or sample creamy chocolates at one of the few traditional bean-to-bar chocolatiers in the world in Fernie.

Penticton | Kari Medig

The Okanagan & Thompson Valleys 

The best-known and most productive food region in BC is the Okanagan Valley, where the landscape is dotted with orchards and vineyards almost everywhere you look. Conditions here and in the nearby Similkameen Valley are perfect for growing tree fruits year round, including apples for fruit wine and cider. This makes for a fine selection of farm-to-table dining experiences in and around Kelowna. Fall is also is an exciting time to visit a local winery. Enjoy quieter tasting rooms while the action unfolds outside during the annual grape crush.

Fall tastings continue farther north in Kamloops, with farmers markets offering local products, award-winning wines, and new takes on old favourites (wine cocktail, anyone?) Download the Luv’n the Loops passport and take a fall tour with instant savings then tread onwards chasing waterfalls—and wineries—on a fall road trip through the Thompson Valley.

Afternoon tea | @teaattheempress

Vancouver Island & the Gulf Islands

A short ferry ride away, Vancouver Island and the nearby Gulf Islands are another agricultural hub. The mild, maritime climate here offers a longer growing season that combines with mountainous terrain and fertile lowlands to create agricultural pockets with distinct growing conditions.

Go on a food-focused road trip for a moving feast of culinary experiences across the Island. Tour wineries, sample artisan cheeses, sink your teeth into crispy, organically grown heirloom apples, and talk to proprietors about what makes their products special. Taste Cowichan beef tartare, chanterelle mushroom sauces, steamed Dungeness crab, and other fine fare only available in the fall.

In Victoria, opt to make any day a special occasion by experiencing a posh afternoon high-tea or find a restaurant that sources local ingredients from nearby producers. In Nanaimo, follow the Nanaimo Bar Trail and taste the many creative manifestations of this classic BC dessert.

Buy BC: EAT DRINK LOCAL

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Buy BC: EAT DRINK LOCAL

Some of the province’s best tasting ingredients and products are available this time of year. Visit Buy BC: EAT DRINK LOCAL from now until November 15, to read stories about BC restaurants, restaurateurs, and ingredients, and get inspired to seek out a unique BC dining experience this fall.

Every buying decision to support local helps not just the restaurant, but all the farmers, fishers, harvesters, and producers that work together to bring delicious food to menus and tables across the province.

Find participating restaurants

BC'S BOUNTY: VISUAL STORIES

Featured Image: Fishermen’s Wharf in Cowichan Bay. Photo: @localwanderer

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