In creating some clips during a video tour of our riding for my MLA website, I had the opportunity to focus on just a few of the many outstanding small businesses and attractions in our area. A visit to Silver Sage Winery is an experience you don’t want to miss. Anna Manola has entertained the visitors to her winery with a unique blend of great wine and laughter. Her story is one of determination to succeed despite personal tragedy and includes her passion for the land and the wine.
From there we visited Black Hills, another distinctive offering in the South Okanagan. Their Nota Bene wine has an incredible following and has brought many people to the area. Their desire to go “green” had them install one of the first electric car charging stations in the Okanagan Valley, encouraging people to travel Hwy 97 from south to north, enjoying wine and being conscious of the environment at the same time.
The Desert Centre in Osoyoos was our next stop. This national treasure of 67 acres is the only piece of desert in Canada. A dedicated team of volunteers does a great job of educating all ages about the Okanagan Valley and its true heritage as a desert, not the green valley you see today. This area has captured all that’s left of an amazing desert ecosystem and unfortunately seems to be one of those secrets that needs to be shared more often with locals and tourists alike.
While in the Cawston/Keremeos area, we also made a stop to see Rajinder at Sanderson Farms. What an amazing bounty of fruit and vegetables, and just another example of a family owned and operated business that works hard to produce high quality produce.
Next we visited The Grist Mill and Gardens in Keremeos, which is a gem that sometimes gets overlooked. Thanks to manager Chris Mathieson it has enjoyed a renewed lease on life in the last couple of years. A number of events have brought people to experience this bit of history and put it “top of mind” for many locals and tourists. I am a fan of this historical site and, like many of you, I will continue to work hard to preserve and protect it into the future.
Our last stop was at the Twin Lakes Market and Gas Station on Hwy 3A. The owners, Ken and Heidi Horncastle, with local family connections, came to take on this small business about 15 years ago and have turned it into a popular stop. A lot of that popularity is due to the “Pie Lady”. People from all over B.C. and Alberta stop to get pies to take home at the end of their vacations. What began as some wonderful baking added to the offerings of the gas station/store became through word of mouth from the locals the ultimate place to get fruit pies. As many as 200 pies are made each week and bought by locals and tourists. Even I have my own “Pie Card” which is for those who frequent the store on a regular basis.
These places are just a tiny cross section of the types of small businesses that we sometimes take for granted and that we need to celebrate more often. To view the videos that have been made, visit my website at www.LindaLarsonMLA.ca.
September is an incredibly busy time for our farmers. The fields are giving up their last hay crops, there are mountains of squash and tomatoes and our grape growers are working around the clock to bring in another stellar vintage. Give a “hug” to a farmer and be thankful we live in such a beautiful area of B.C.
There are too many events to mention them all but I would like to recognize the Town Of Oliver and all the councils and staff who have worked for more than 10 years to bring potable water to all of rural Oliver. Everyone involved should be very proud of this unique system and the cooperation of many levels of government that made this a reality.
Thanks also to Roger Hol for the wonderful cancer fundraiser held at the Vine Glass Winery. For Roger, who lost his wife to cancer, this was very personal, but all of us know someone who has been touched by cancer in some way and this event was another way to raise awareness and perhaps help someone else through their own battle with this disease.
Finally, October is Community Living Month. This is the month we celebrate the achievements of adults in our communities who have developmental disabilities and thank the service providers and employers who support these individuals with inclusive activities and work environments. I am looking forward to visiting many of these wonderful workplaces and group homes around the province during the month of October.