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.

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