by Adrian MacNair
Hundreds of cyclists from all over the Lower Mainland turned up in Agassiz last Saturday for the sixth annual Slow Food Cycle Farm Tour, peddling their feet to each tasty treat.
There was a wide variety of farms on the tour, from a hazelnut orchard featuring roasted nuts and specialty ice cream, to an organic free range chicken farm offering Vietnamese baguette sandwiches.
The entire circuit ran 25 kilometres with over a dozen stops of interest, and families were seen riding along the country roads, drinking in the vistas between refreshments at each farm.
Riders made their way through the town with the help of a map provided by Tourism Harrison and little signs affixed to posts with slow food snails on them and arrows helpfully pointing the way.
Though the sky was overcast in the morning, some cyclists said it provided a welcome relief from the sun, which nevertheless made its arrival in the afternoon as the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre handed out ice cream to visitors.
Although the farms all offered samples, fare for fuel was affordable, with sandwiches selling for about $2.50 at Tasty Chicken Farm, or a slice of pie at Blackberry Lane B&B for $2.50.
Goat gouda cheese was a popular buy at Farm House Natural Cheeses, where sheep, cows, horses and even a donkey share the same roof.
The Slow Food Cycle Tour is a part of the Slow Food Vancouver movement, a sustainability organization which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions though small-scale farming food production.
Food tour a hit with visitors
Bruce Heslop, Vancouver
This is Heslop’s second year on the tour, after being drawn in by a similar tour in Pemberton.
“This gives you a reason to cycle and it’s a pretty good reason. I’m a big fan of small farms.”
Heslop says he doesn’t like factory farming, and that the cycle tour shows sustainable farming is possible on little five-acre plots. What he likes most about the Slow Food tour is being able to talk to the farmers who actually work the land.
“It’s like an adult lemonade stand,” he said with a smile.
Coco Butler, Vancouver
Butler was given the Slow Food tour as a birthday gift, and began by visiting the Holberg Dairy Farm.
Coco said she enjoyed learning about the processing of milk because people don’t even think about what’s involved while picking it up at their local grocery store.
“I think it’s important to buy local and through that you get fresh food and it’s better for the environment,” she said.
Louise Webb, London, England
Taking a vacation while London is immersed in the Olympics, Louise said she came on the tour with friends. Although she tried to eat locally grown food in London, it’s difficult because it’s quite expensive and doesn’t really guarantee the food is local.
She said it’s nice to cycle around on the Slow Food tour because the food is fresh and “excellent.”
“It also means you can eat as much as you like because you’ll burn off the calories,” she said with a delicious grin.