Taste of Cowichan Farm and Winery Tours

Agritourism / Ecotourism / Staycation… Call it whatever you like, but here in the Cowichan Valley, it’s a delicious and interesting day out. Come learn more about where your food comes from and help empower local community growers to be sustainable.

A recent tour took us on a Taste of Cowichan Farm and Winery tour.

First stop was Raincoast Aquaponics greenhouse where we learned lots about sustainable aquaculture.  All food for their plants comes from the trout waste matter. A recirculating shallow water trough system uses very little water and electricity. Plants extract nutrients from the water, effectively cleaning it for return to the fish.  Trout and greens can be purchased on site on Sundays or at Wed/Sat Duncan farmers markets

Vanvalley Farm’s robotic feeding and milking system is a modern farmers dream. No need to rise before dawn when dairy cows have access to auto milking stalls at any hour. You have to see it to appreciate the engineering and design.  There are hopes of introducing an on-site creamery and bottling facility  to offer milk in reusable glass bottles. Adorable mini donkey newborns Oscar and Felix greet visitors at the gate.

In pastoral Glenora, it’s a tough choice where to lunch: Alderlea Farm Café or at Vinoteca at Vigneti Zanatta.  After feasting on local cuisine, we enjoyed tastings at Blue Grouse Estate Winery and a barrel room / winemaker tour at Averill Creek.  Guests returned home with produce and a few bottles of wine to make their own dinner.

Limited budget? Stop by Cowichan Green office on Duncan Street or their online Community Food Atlas. Check out the printed farm guide/map and ring the farms yourselves. They’ll, be happy to hear from you and schedule a time to show you around.

Looking for a more hands on experience?  Why not try some volunteer grape picking… Unsworth, Emandare, Saison and some other vineyards and farms welcome volunteers. You’ll likely make some new friends, get a nice workout and enjoy a hearty lunch into the bargain. I once did a favour for Silverside Farm & Winery and was well paid with Tayberry wine and jam.

Cheers Cowichan Tours operates year round visiting all local attractions. Our 18 passenger bus and driver are available for special events or transport. www.cheerscowichan.com. Fall tours available daily, starting at $79/person

*Pic courtesy of The Happy Goat Farm in Glenora BC.