Outdoor Summer Dining in Vancouver and Beyond

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Summer means farm-fresh food and great weather. Why not combine them? Vancouver and its surrounds offer many ways to savour some of the region’s best dishes and striking landscapes at the same time. Dine with hundreds of food lovers in a farmer’s field, or picnic solo in a garden; either way, you trade bricks and mortar for the great outdoors.

1. Outstanding in the Field at North Arm Farm and the UBC Farm, July 20/21, 2016

Outstanding in the Field at North Arm Farm, near Pemberton.

Outstanding in the Field at North Arm Farm near Pemberton. Photo: Jeremy Fenske

Outstanding in the Field, at North Arm Farm and the UBC Farm, kicks things off July 20 and 21. Founded in 1999 by American chef and artist Jim Denevan, the event pioneered pop-up dining while embracing the farm-to-table movement. What began as a way to connect diners with farmers in an open-air setting has become a culinary force that stages more than 100 events each year across North America. (Plans are in the works for Mexico and South America this winter.) July 20 marks Outstanding in the Field’s 7th collaboration in Pemberton with North Arm Farm’s Jordan Sturdy; Hawksworth Restaurant’s Chef Kristian Eligh will prepare the meal in OITF’s own field kitchen. The following day, Chef Ryan Reed of Nomad  will recognize Outstanding’s first visit to Canada, and UBC Farm, 10 years ago with another feast in the fields. Hungry for more? Check out these additional al fresco dining options this summer:

2. Le Diner en Blanc in Vancouver, location unveiled the night of, August 18, 2016

Le Diner en Blanc diners at Vancouver's Canada Place.

Guests at Vancouver’s Le Diner en Blanc. Photo Credit: Nima Zadrafi

Le Diner en Blanc, or “Dinner in White,” began in Paris in 1988. This invitation-only soiree transports diners to a top-secret location (a new spot every year) where guests, decked out in white, bring their own tables, chairs and picnics for an enormous, elegant affair that parties hard before “dissolving into the night.” Vancouverites have embraced the concept, now in its fifth year; in 2015, diners engulfed Canada Place, culminating in the pop-up wedding of a local couple. Check out Le Diner en Blanc for ticket information and to register for a chance to buy tickets on July 21. You’ll be notified via email for the opportunity to purchase tickets prior to July 21.

3. Araxi Longtable Dinner at North Arm Farm in Pemberton, August 21, 2016

Araxi North Arm Farm

Araxi Restaurant’s Longtable Series at North Arm Farm, Pemberton. Photo: Araxi Restaurant

Want to make dining history? Pull up a chair at Araxi Restaurant’s 6th annual Longtable Dinner at Pemberton’s North Arm Farm. A culinary crew, headed by Executive Chef James Walt, Restaurant Director Neil Henderson and Wine Director Samantha Rahn, will serve dinner to a record-breaking 400 food lovers at this glorious outdoor event—the largest long-table meal in British Columbia’s history. In the valley beneath snow-capped Mount Currie, guests are seated at a seemingly endless table to dine family-style on local ingredients, many plucked from the ground just hours before dinner. The event will also serve as the launch of Chef Walt’s Araxi: Roots to Shoots, Farm Fresh Recipes cookbook, the follow-up to his James Beard-nominated first offering. Guests can purchase the book in advance, and collect their signed copies on the 21st. Check out Araxi Longtable Dinner to purchase; tickets are $159 + tax and gratuity, and include a cocktail reception and a four-course dinner with wine pairings.

4. Slow Food Cycle Sunday, Pemberton, August 21, 2016

If you want to throw some exercise into the mix, sign up for Slow Food’s Slow Food Cycle Sunday in Pemberton. Between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., for just $5 per person, you can ride as much or as little of the 50-kilometre (31-mile) route as you like, visiting Pemberton’s best farms and food vendors. Tip: Keep space in your bike basket for all the farm food you’ll pick up along the way.

5. FarmFolk CityFolk’s Feast of Fields at Fraser Common Farm/Laurica Farm, September 11, 2016

Feast of Fields Metro Vancouver

Feast of Fields by FarmFolk CityFolk. Photo Credit: Alison Page and Bonnie Donovan

Each year in the Okanagan, on Vancouver Island, and in Metro Vancouver, Feast of Fields—a fundraiser for the non-profit FarmFolk CityFolk—offers a chance to connect with more than 50 celebrated chefs, ranchers, farmers, fishers, vintners, brewers, distillers and food artisans. During the day-long event, guests wander among the farm’s tents, sampling edible creations; there’s also live music and plenty of places to lounge on the grass. This year, celebrating its 50th feast, FarmFolk CityFolk returns to one of its first farm sites, Fraser Common Farm, to team up with neighbouring Laurica Farm. Check out FarmFolk CityFolk’s Feast of Fields to purchase; tickets are $95 + additional fees. Bus transportation is an additional $15 per person, and can be purchased at the link above.

6. Krause Berry Farm in Langley, Open 7 days a week, May through December

Langley's Krause Berry Farm cafe, market, and winery

Krause Berry Farm in Langley. Photo: Krause Berry Farm

Looking for family-friendly al fresco dining? Head to Krause Berry Farm & Estate Winery. Founded in 1974, this “working destination farm” includes U-pick fields, the Porch Restaurant, a bakery, farm market, cooking school, and berry winery, all set on 81 picturesque hectares (200 acres) in Langley.  At the open-air KB Corral, visitors can enjoy fresh berry waffles; on weekends and Thursday nights, there’s live entertainment. Cookies Kitchen in the Estate Winery offers a full vegetarian menu with food grown on the farm, custom-made lunch boxes, and picnic baskets for two or four. Take your farm picnic into the gardens, then wander over to the Porch for farm-fresh pie, cake, milkshakes, sundaes, and ice cream-topped berry splits. Bonus: This year the farm has expanded to include a “Fresh Family Fun Field” agri-learning area designed for families to play and learn together about the food they grow.