HOW TO DISCOVER A CITY
I’m heading to the south of France for a couple of weeks this summer with friends, and in my planning stages, the first thing I did after booking our villa was Google “markets in Languedoc.” As I thrillingly discovered, there’s one for every day of the week in the area—so I’ve started mapping them out.
I’m not sure there’s a better way to discover the culture of a region than through its food, and it’s even better if you can talk with the growers and makers themselves (thank you, Duolingo, for helping me brush up on my highschool French). I draw my inspiration from David Lebovitz—the Paris-based writer whose food philosophy is so close to my heart that this is the second time in three months I reference him on this page—who lets the market dictate what he eats for dinner each night. We’ll be doing the same in France, and, with luck, we’ll get a few stories from the sellers and suggestions on how to explore their hometowns.
This month, we head to the Okanagan— home to one of this country’s greatest farmers’ markets, in Penticton—and get to know one particular farm and its farmers. Covert Farms, a fourth-generation operation in Oliver, exemplifies OK culture: they are incredible produce and wine producers, yes, but they also create community, with on-site events that range from an 800-strong obstacle course to the field dinners they host at the end of the season. As Jennifer Cockrall-King describes in her piece, “Family Affair” (page 54), the family offers a welcoming, memorable version of the Okanagan, one they’re happy to share with visitors.
As I write this, the farmers’ markets here in Vancouver are just starting to open again for the season, bringing our local Fraser Valley producers into the city to chat with us face to face as we buy what they grow. I’m lucky enough to live two blocks from one in my West End neighbourhood, and as I pick up a kohlrabi, a few bunches of Lacinato kale and, of course, a flourless brownie from Purebread this weekend, I know I’m also going to pick up a little more insight into my own hometown’s backyard—direct from the source.