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Slow Food, Pemberton annual meet and eat

Pedal through Pemberton's for day of fresh air, food and farmers



What: Slow Food Cycle Sunday

When: Sunday, Aug. 20

Where: Pemberton Community Centre starting point

Get to know the farming community of Pemberton at Slow Food Cycle this Sunday, Aug. 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at a pedal pace.

"It’s a simple formula for a great day out," said event organizer Lisa Richardson. "Get out and pedal and socialize and graze your way up the valley. It’s kind of a get behind the curtain of agriculture experience: to see where our food is being grown."

Cyclists young and old will put pedal to pavement starting at the Pemberton Community Centre where participants can register after 9:30 a.m. for the free event, and pick up a farm-touring map as well.

The rest of the day is left up to the cyclist: where you want to stop, how far to cycle and what pace to keep, it’s all up to you.

"It’s an invitation to experience the heart of Pemberton," Richardson said. "The (farms and food artisans) participating are what the magic is all about. Suspend your expectations. Go for a bike ride. Enjoy being outside and the amazing place we live in. The different farms and families will share something with you."

While some of the area’s farms, such as Helmers Organic Farm and North Arm Farm, are familiar names about town, lesser-known green thumb talents can be unearthed on the cycle as well.

Discover Bradley Organic Farms, tucked away on the Lillooet River, where a lamb barbecue will be served alongside demonstrations of wool felt making and sheep herding.

This is the perfect farm to finish your day ride at with C3 Rafting offering a raft float back to the Pemberton Community Centre starting at 2:30 p.m. Limited space. Book your $20 tickets in advance by e-mailing Spencer at ewj@telus.net.

Another road less traveled is the off-road detour to Dolores Los’s farm. Crossing waterfalls along the Lillooet River, cyclists can learn about the alpaca bees the honey farm keeps as well as try some bubblegum honey fresh from the hive.

Local chefs and restaurants also join the day’s festivities, moving farm produce from field to plate with plenty of food samples. Just think of all those calories you will burn off during the day.

Across the Creek Organics welcomes the culinary talents of chef Hans Sterli from the Westin’s Aubergine Grille. Helmers Organic Farm showcases the award-winning skills of chef Andrew Richardson from Araxi. And the van Loon farm, located at the very top end of the valley, hosts a lunch presented by the Pony Espresso.

Education is a component of the day, putting farmers and buyers on the same plot of land with no distributors or packagers in between. Learn about the history of the Seed Potato Capital of Canada at Shaw Creek Farms, where John and Michelle Beks will showcase historic photos of the valley as well as a seed potato display.

Learn a little more at the Farmers' Institute’s Big Hole further down the way, where an excavation will give you the dirt on why the Pemberton Valley is so ideal for growing.

In between farms, kiosks selling everything from locally roasted coffee and pottery to lemonade and the world’s best and stickiest cinnamon buns will make sure cyclists don’t take plenty of breaks.

Chicks with Picks will strum up road tunes, the Pemberton Bike Company mechanics will cruise the road for bike emergencies and wave down the sagwagon if you run out of steam.

The family event also includes a Slow Food Cycle Craft Garden from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19 when kids can decorate their bikes for the Sunday ride at the new Visitor Information Centre. There will also be plenty of different crafts to create free of charge.

Parking is limited so car pooling or busing it is recommended. A round trip bus ride from Whistler is $20, and includes bike transportation. Tickets are available at the Creekside Market, The Grocery Store and IGA at Marketplace. The bus leaves Legends at 9:15 a.m., Westin at 9:25 a.m., Main Bus Loop at 9:35 a.m., Fairmont Chateau at 9:45 a.m., IGA at 9:55 a.m. and Meadow Park Sports Centre at 10:10 a.m.

Whistler-Blackcomb’s Envirofund is also running buses from Whistler to Pemberton. Pick up is at 8:30 a.m. at the Blackcomb Day Lodge. Contact Kathy Jenkins to sign up at kjenkins@intrawest.com.

A limited number of bikes are available to rent at a Slow Food Cycle discount of $30 from Pemberton Bike Company. Book in advance by calling 604-894-6625.

For more information, visit www.slowfoodcyclesunday.com.