With working mega hours at the Easter Seal camp for disabled and challenged children this summer I had not taken my weekly trip to the local farmers market as I would have liked to. When I had some precious time off I ventured down to the market here in K-town as well as browsed many of the hundreds of local fruit stands scattered across the valley. There is no need for a CSA box with an overabundance of fruits and vegetables to sustain us from one end of the Okanagan Valley to the other. Throw in hundreds of wineries where that special bottle of British Columbia wine can be found and a superb meal is complete. In this we can have pride and honour our local producers, vintners and farmers who have set our tables for so long. We need to embrace our complex environment and eat locally as much as possible.
The last few times I have ventured to the local Farmers Market I came across a real Okanagan treasure in the form of Okanagan Street Food where they follow this life choice as much as possible.
Owner and chef Neil Schroeter began his "foodie" career at the age of 14 in the provinces of Saskatchwan and Alberta. He obtained his chef's"red seal" at the Culinary Arts Program in Calgary at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) . He also completed the Sommelier course at the highly recognized George Brown College in Toronto. During his career so far he has gained valuable experience at many recognized and prestigious restaurants and resorts in Quebec, Toronto and Whistler. He then ventured to the sunny Okanagan where to use his own words "he was able to fine-tune his passion for food and wine creating fresh creative dishes as the Chef de Cuisine at the ‘Cellar Door Bistro’ at Sumac Ridge Estate Winery in Summerland".
Neil says, "The thought behind Okanagan Street Food was to promote real, unprocessed food from local, regional and Canadian sources." He and his wife/business partner Heather commissioned a custom-made truck from Armenco Cater Truck Inc. in Sun Valley, California and their business was born!!! The photo in this post is of Neil on the right with his long time friend and foodie Ian.
They can be found at the farmers and crafters market till October in Kelowna on Wednesday and Saturday mornings and Thursday evenings. You will also be lucky enough to find them at the Naramata market on Wednesday evenings and in Lake Country on Friday evenings.
At his market location Neil prepares made to order innovative dishes such as Risotto Fritters with Candied Salmon and Yogurt Dipping Sauce, Fresh Vegetable Chips with Roasted Garlic and Local Goat's Cheese Dip, and Roasted Merguez Spicy Lamb Sausage. He also serves up delicious fries with homemade blackberry ketchup or truffle mayonnaise. You can also take home his classic homemade fresh pastas, innovative sauces and stocks as well as his homemade wholewheat rosemary Parmesan or toasted fennel crackers. Create your own delicious meals at home!!!!!!!!! His retail line is also available in two locations. Okanagan Grocery in the Guisachan Village here in Kelowna where we both say Monica makes the best bread and jams in the city...this I can attest to...and Victoria Street Deli and Bistro in Summerland. Neil says, "Try Roger's duck ham panini!!!!!!"
As part of his catering business he prepares fabulous platters, hors d'oeuvres & executive box lunches which can be picked up at the market if you so wish or delivered with droolworthy dishes such as Poached Lemongrass Prawns, House Cured Salmon Bruschetta Platter, Roast Sablefish with Pickled Pear Beurre Blanc and Angel Food Cake with Ice Wine Marinated Seasonal Berries and Cream.
Fresh, seasonal and local food is the focus. "Whether it’s classic or inventive cuisine you are after, Neil can help you create a very memorable, one-of-a-kind event."
I for one am glad that we have this Okanagan treasure in the form of Okanagan Street Food here in the valley. A visit to the farmers market is just that more exciting when I know I can have a gourmet breakfast or lunch. We need more entrepreneurial spirit to create a foodie paradise and destination here in the Okanagan Valley. I think I'll try the risotto cakes next........
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