Located about 4 hours away from Vancouver in Cawston, Farmersdotter is an organic garlic farm and wood-fired bakery with two vacation rental units (tiny houses). Since we love the beauty of the Similkameen Valley, we decided to book the Owl Guest Studio at Farmersdotter via AirBnB for a weekend getaway. In this post, we share our experience and information about staying at Farmersdotter and information about exploring the surrounding areas.
Usually, we stay in Osoyoos and pass through the Similkameen Valley on our way and each time, we’re amazed at how beautiful it is in Keremeos and Cawston. While we don’t usually use Air BnB for our accommodations, we stumbled across Farmersdotter and decided to book a weekend getaway due to all the positive reviews about the place and the price which fit our budget.
Farmersdotter is only a 45 minute drive to Penticton, a 30 minute drive to Osoyoos, and 45 minutes to Oliver, making it easy enough to venture to other areas in between exploring the Similkameen Valley. In addition, the drive to the Okanagan region on a Friday after work can be a little tiring and so you get to relax much sooner than if you have to drive to Osoyoos.
We are also really impressed that Farmersdotter is an organic farm and has solar panels to offset dependence on conventional electricity; the Osprey Guest Studio and bakery use the power generated by the solar panels.
We arrived in time for a late dinner while there was still sun. As we walked into the Owl Guest Studio, we were in awe at how the pictures didn’t do it justice; it was so much nicer in person and immaculately clean and tidy! As we settled in and acquainted ourselves, we were pleasantly surprised by the treats left in our fridge; a bottle of Corcelettes Sparkling wine, farm fresh eggs, butter and cream for coffee. In addition, the kitchenette was stocked with salt, pepper, Farmersdotter signature garlic scape salt (available for purchase), oil, vinegar and coffee grounds to make French press coffee in the morning. In addition, we were so impressed with design elements in the kitchenette, such as the LED lights under the shelf which provide adequate lighting without having to turn all the lights on.
Since we were hungry, we grabbed some snacks and settled on the patio to relax a little. Morris, one of the owners came over to introduce himself and handed us over a freshly baked loaf of flax sourdough bread, telling us about how the flax comes from Yvonne’s (other owner) family in Saskatchewan. Since we arrived on Friday, the freshly baked bread was a treat since Yvonne, Morris, and staff bake on Fridays to bring bread to the Penticton Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.
As the sun was setting, we took a leisurely walk down the road to see if we could get to the river but it was farther than we thought. Nonetheless, it was a nice walk down a dirt road with views of the landscape around. The landscape was surreal in the sense that it resembled a painting, a panting that captured the beauty of the bucolic landscape.
We made our way back to Farmersdotter to have a nightcap and that’s when we got o meet Yvonne, who brought over a solar powered lantern for the patio which was also a nice touch! Yvonne told us more about the Penticton Farmer’s Market as we had never been and decided to visit to buy some Farmersdotter Garlic Scape Salt and buy other goodies too!
We slept very well both nights due to the quiet setting and how comfortable the bed and linens were. Since there is no standard for Air BnB and bedding, we were always a little wary of the bed but Farmersdotter made sure it was good quality and well appointed.
The bathroom has a shower/bath combo, dual sinks and a vanity. You do need to bring your own shampoo, conditioner, and hair dryer if you want to use those.
For us, Farmersdoter was perfect because we don’t really like going to fancy winery dinners and just prefer to have drinks, cheese, charcuterie, and other snacks on our patio. We ended up spending so much time on the patio due to how serene the setting is!
Overall, we felt like we were camping at Farmersdotter but with the luxurious of a comfortable tiny house and the bounty of the region (bread, wine, cheese, butter, and fruit). Yvonne and Morris are genuine and passionate people who work hard and have a forwarding thinking vision of sustainability while preserving the good things of the past and it shows on their farm, at their bakery, and in their vacation rentals.
The Similkameen Valley:
There is a lot to do in the Similkameen Valley, much like the rest of the Okanagan region but what makes it standout is how much less crowded it is to enjoy wineries, fruit stands, hiking, and even floating down the river in the summer. There is a rustic feel to the region as it is a lot less developed and off on its own which provides a different experience.
We remember the first time we drove through Keremeos and we were in awe of this little town with numerous fruit stands selling seasonal produce like fresh cherries, peaches, and apples. Depending on the time of the year, you can buy 20 pounds of cherries for $20 which makes them easy to share or you can pit them to freeze them.
The wineries in the Similkameen Valley are less known but produce good reds and whites in addition to offering nice tasting room experiences. For example, at Corcelettes, you can enjoy “La Dégustation”, a 6 * 1.5oz wine flight served on their patio while you admire the view.
Orofino Vineyards is Canada’s first strawbale winery and their tasting room runs on solar panels. They have conventional made wines as well as those that are more natural (unfined and unfiltered). For example, their wild ferment Syrah is unaoaked and spends a few months in raw concrete to ferment with indigenous yeast.
Liber Farm and Winery is on Mariposa Farm, an organic farm since 1962. While not all wines are certified organic, they are all organic, if not very close to being.
Getting to spend time in Cawston at Farmersdotter and visiting new places in the Similkameen Valley was such a relaxing and memorable getaway. Sure, Osoyoos and other spots in the Okanagan Valley are nice, but in Cawston, you are tucked away from the more busy and touristy spots. We really hope to go back and explore the Similkameen Valley more this summer and also just to sit on our patio as we enjoy the bounty this land has to offer. One thing that Farmersdotter encourages is “Vote with your wallet” to support change and offset your carbon footprint; by supporting and visiting the business in the Similkameen Valley, you can feel good about the money you spend by knowing the business here care about their valley and preserving it.
Have you ever been to Cawston? Is supporting environmentally-friendly and sustainable business a priority for you?
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