Local Food in the Great Outdoors
By Ronda Payne
Clear blue skies and a grassy field complemented local gourmet food and wines from the South Okanagan region at Golden Ears Cheesecrafters’ sixth annual long table dinner on July 15. The event raises funds for the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation while delighting guests with delicious tastes, good company and live music.
The five courses (six, counting the numerous flavours of cheese and bubbly rosé available as guests arrive), were prepared by five different Vancouver-based chefs and accompanied by five paired wines at the black and white themed event. Distinct for more than just the exciting events and support of the community, Cheesecrafters is a local success story in BC’s dairy and agriculture world.
What sisters Emma and Jenna Davison opened in 2011, with the help of their parents Kerry and Lynn, has become a going concern. Restaurateurs and locals alike flock to Cheesecrafters for the artisan cheese Jenna makes with milk that comes from next door at her uncle Kevin Davison’s Jersey cow dairy farm. The girls are fifth generation Davison farmers. The family has had their roots in the land since the early 1900s.
It’s the high fat content of the milk that makes for such outstanding, award-winning cheeses and it’s no accident that prestigious Vancouver-based chefs come out to participate in the long table dinner. They know the quality of the cheese and buy it for their own restaurants on a regular basis. Long-term partnerships have been formed between chefs and the sisters.
There are more than 20 kinds of cheese produced at Golden Ears Cheesecrafters and Jenna notes it takes a lot of time management to make from three to five different cheeses a day. Not only are the cheeses and butter sold on site, but there’s also a bistro featuring other local ingredients, food and gift items for sale, and a wide range of popular events like the long table dinner.