Pioneers in organics: Kelowna’s Sunshine Farm lights the way

Our most beloved local farming families are also great pioneers in the organic movement.

By Jennifer Schell

One of our most beloved local farming families are also great pioneers in the organic movement.

The Alcock family of southeast Kelowna’s Sunshine Farm are, amongst many wonderful things, founding members of the Kelowna Farmers Market and creators of the local seed exchange program. For over 30 years, Jon and Sher Alcock have being loving stewards of their land growing countless varieties of heirloom tomatoes, every colour of potato, rainbow carrots and much much more. Now they have the opportunity to pass the family business on to their children Russ Alcock and Mona Johansson, who have been working side by side with their parents for many years learning the craft. Although if you know Jon Alcock, you know that he is literally a fountain of information and a walking encyclopedia of all things that come from the good earth. Russ is moving onto the farm with his family now as mom and dad have purchased a smaller acreage just around the corner now affectionately referred to as Sunshine Meadow.

READ MORE: JEN FOODS AROUND THE OKANAGAN

You will find Russ at the Kelowna Farmers and Crafters Market with a table full of their seasonal produce as well as plants and seeds – another successful arm of their business. Nature’s Fare in Kelowna also carries their beautiful organic heirloom vegetable seeds if you should like to try your hand at planting your own garden, but stay tuned on social media or visit their website to keep posted on their plant sales at the farm.

Sunshine Farm is also home to’ Vocational Services for Adults in the Community Living Sector- a very successful program allowing hands on training for people with mental disabilities to enter into the workforce. The family is truly one with big heart and gives back to our community on so many levels.

The growing season is upon us. Mona, who is also a trained chef, says that the “Firsts to poke through the frost for us will be spring onions, greens, green garlic scapes (fave!) radishes and my heart always warms when I see the first tips of asparagus.”

Hooray, asparagus. On that note, she has shared this delicious Garlic Scape & Walnut Pesto Recipe. Garlic scapes are the stalks that grow from the bulbs of hard neck garlic plants. If left unharvested, the scapes eventually bloom flowers when the garlic plant fully matures. They are unusual looking with long winding stems and have a lovely, mild garlicky flavour that can be used in many ways. Try Mona’s pesto recipe below. www.sunshinefarm.net

Mona’s Garlic Scape & Walnut Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh garlic scapes, cut into about 2” pieces
  • 1cup loosely packed basil
  • ½ cup walnuts (if time allows, toast them lightly)
  • ½ cup walnut oil & up to ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp sea salt & cracked black pepper to taste
  • Add garlic scapes, basil, and salt to the large bowl of a food processor.
  • Start processing, adding walnut oil slowly. Continue with the olive oil until a smooth consistency is achieved (you may not need the full 1/2c)
  • Once you have smooth paste, add Parmesan and process until completely mixed in.
  • Stop processing and add all of the nuts.
  • Pulse processor until nuts are roughly chopped and fully mixed in.
  • Serve on pasta, on crostini or with steamed veggies or potatoes.

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