We all know the value of stopping to smell the flowers every once in a while, but on Sunday, Aug. 16, Pembertonians will be taking that a step further. That's because at Slow Food Cycle Sunday, guests can park their bikes and not only breathe in a whiff of the surrounding flora, but also complement that with a delicious bite to eat while touring one of the many farms dotting the valley.
In its 11th year, Slow Food Cycle offers a way to connect consumers with their food, and people to the land in a family friendly environment.
Pedal-pushing guests cycling down Pemberton Meadows Road will get a behind-the-scenes look at several local farms. Then they'll top it off with some tantalizing culinary creations prepared by a host of local food vendors who will no doubt take full advantage of all the farm-fresh produce around them.
"You're getting family fun, exercise and an opportunity to visit the farms and see where the farm-to-table process really takes place," said David MacKenzie, president of Tourism Pemberton, which is producing the event for the second year.
With so much emphasis in recent years on the locavore diet, most diners are well aware of the many benefits of eating locally sourced food. But at events like Slow Food Cycle, you get to see that philosophy in action, giving guests a greater appreciation of where their food comes from and the people who grow it.
"It's one thing to go to the farmers market or read stuff online, but when you see it firsthand it's got more visual impact," explained Riley Johnson, owner of Pemberton's two-acre Bandit Farms. "It has a big impact on people because they see how we're trying to utilize this small amount of space to create a lot of food."
New to the event this year is Dreamcatcher Meadows, North America's top-ranked sport horse breeder, which will be opening its doors to the public for guided tours. Visitors will get to see the farm's breeding and training facilities, foaling and competition barns, and will even be treated to a ridden display on horseback featuring some of the farm's award-winning stable.
"When you're actually here and see where things take place and the process is laid out in front of you, and then you get to see the actual outcome of what we do — the babies in the field, the competition horses being ridden — you get to really appreciate not only how difficult the biological processes we do are, but how difficult it is to really have a foal and train them up to be a grand prix dressage horse," said Dreamcatcher employee Kirsten Mitchell.
The tours are 60 minutes, and must be booked in advance of the event at www.dreamcatchermeadows.com/tours. They're also offered at other times of the year for four or more people.
Tickets for Slow Food Cycle Sunday are $5 per person, or $20 per family. The festivities kick off at 9 a.m. from the location of the old community centre on Pemberton Meadows Road.
Visit www.slowfoodcyclesunday.com for registration and more information.