October 11, 2012 – The Vinegar Works
My feature this week is not a winery. I warned that I might cheat a bit from time to time. While not a winery, the Vinegar Works is a proud member of the Bottleneck Drive Summerland Wine Route and as the owners remind me “you have to know how to make wine to make vinegar.”
Owners Kim Stanfield and John Gordon embarked on their adventure in farming in the late nineties starting with a small market garden. With a lot of personal sweat equity and at times participation from friends and guests, they have developed their 10-acre property into a highlight of the Bottleneck Drive route.
Passionate about organic farming, they have even designated a portion of rare riparian area into a space for future generations in partnering with The Land Conservancy. It is shelter for wildlife and a host for birds and insects that benefit the farm not to mention its role as a sanctuary for guests just wanting to experience the beauty of nature.
Created from wine made from grapes harvested on their Valentine Farm, the vinegars and Verjus of the Vinegar Works are now the gems of the farm’s product line highly valued by chefs and food enthusiasts. From July to October, these gourmet vinegars can be sniffed and tasted in the farm shop daily except for Wednesdays. Visits to the farm can be arranged at other times by calling for an appointment.
Lucky enough to be living within an easy drive of Valentine Farm, I love to visit it throughout the seasons to witness firsthand how Kim and John pour heart and soul into planting and nurturing their farm, making their base wine and transforming it into the most amazing varieties of vinegar.
I love buying eggs at Valentine Farm and you can imagine my joy when for Easter, Kim invited Sharon Misselbrook and me to colour eggs! Who says kids have all the fun?
“We’re food people,” says Kim and a blog http://vinegartart.com/ confirms it, where you can find more than 60 recipes using vinegar. It contains helpful canning tips and other recipes to deal with much of the harvest from the farm.
As hosts they are so warm and welcoming, you may find yourself wanting to linger awhile. Not to worry, they operate a Guest House http://www.vrbo.com/410311 on the property. While it is a separate cottage from their home, you’re free to roam the grounds, join in to feed the chickens or horses and pet the resident dog and cats.
We’re fortunate to find Vinegar Works each Saturday morning through the summer at the most excellent Penticton Farmers Market. So, if time precludes an excursion to Valentine Farm in Summerland, be sure to visit the Vinegar Works booth at the Penticton Farmers Market.
Located at 10216 Gould Avenue, Summerland, BC V0H 1Z8