Posts from Summerland

Floridas – Another Place

Local film collective ROOM paired with local musician Floridas to complete a music video for Floridas track “Another Place” off of their recent EP, Cadboro, which was released about a month ago. It was shot in Penticton with actors from Vernon, Kelowna, Summerland, and Penticton.

Trek-It Tuesday: Summer Solstice at the Little Tunnel

Little Tunnel, Naramata

Solstice 2012 – Little Tunnel, Naramata

Summer solstice is nearly here bearing days of exaggerated sunlight so why not take the opportunity to get out and explore this awesome valley of ours. The KVR’s Little Tunnel sits high on the Eastern Hillside, above the village of Naramata, overlooking the South Okanagan valley with sweeping, panoramic views of its entirety; the scattered ponderosa pine and bunchgrass give way to the neatly manicured vineyards of Naramata and then to the beaches and cityscape of Penticton as Skaha Lake disappears around the bend on the horizon. To the West lies Trout Creek and Summerland tucked neatly at the foothills of Giant’s Head with Brent Mountain prominently sat in the mountains beyond and finally to the North, where if you tilt your head just right, you may be able to peer past Okanagan Mountain Prov. Park to Peachland. Be sure to bring your camera! Especially if you decide to come between the two weeks around summer solstice (June 21) where the Sun sets so far North, it peeks through this incredible, cliff-hanging orifice engineered by Andrew McCulloch nearly 100 years ago.

Little Tunnel, Naramata

Perhaps the best thing about this scenic location is most certainly its ease of access for all ages. The KVR’s moderate grade allows for a myriad of methods to travel the 8.8km round-trip route to the tunnel with cycling, walking and driving being the most common of tactics. Be sure to share the trail.

The KVR Trail above Naramata, BC.

Cycling the KVR Trail above Naramata, BC.

If you are arriving from Penticton or Naramata, head along North Naramata road until you reach Smethurst road, a right hand turn heading up the mountainside, and follow it as it meanders up the hillside and intersects with the Kettle Valley Railway at a parking lot about 5 minutes up. Here you can park your car and walk to the tunnel (~1.5 to 2 hours round-trip) or at least read some of the informative maps and boards explaining the history of the KVR and its significance to the local areas. From the parking lot head North (left as you look uphill) and continue along until you reach the tunnel, or stop at some of the old rock ovens that were built by the railroad workers during the construction of the route. It is also possible to arrive from Kelowna along the KVR and past Chute Lake but is more of a full day trip as opposed to a quick excursion however if you do decide to do so, be sure to check out the Big “Adra” Tunnel, also referred to as “McCulloch’s Wonder” for its horseshoe bend through 490m of bed rock, which is situated en route to the Little Tunnel. Happy ventures.

Big "Adra" Tunnel, Naramata

Big “Adra” Tunnel, Naramata

Focus Friday: Christmas Orchard


Some of the local orchards look like they’ve been decorated for Christmas, with colourful bobbles still hanging from the branches. I’m choosing to appreciate their abstract beauty rather than pondering why it didn’t pay for the farmer to pick this fruit. Anyway, this post marks two years of Focus Friday and In Focus articles — 83 photo features showing unique views of the valley. Thanks to Brandon and the Awesome Okanagan team, as well as readers who have appreciated, liked, faved, shared and commented on the pictures!

Firehall Brewery Increases Capacity & Develops New Label

Article Submitted by Sid Ruhland / Submit Your Own Article

The Firehall Brewery on Main Street in Oliver, British Columbia has doubled its cold storage capacity this November to keep up with demand. Aging tanks were ordered & picked-up from Interior Stainless, a tank manufacturer in Summerland, BC. Firehall Brewery’s “Stoked Ember Ale” continually sold out during the summer of 2012, triggering the investment into more storage tanks. A new beer label is being developed, utilizing the increased capacity and adding more variety to the microbrewery’s product offerings. The new beer will be a blonde ale called “Backdraft”.

The addition of new tanks is very exciting for the town of Oliver because it exemplifies the growth of the community’s first and only brewery. Not only does the brewery compliment the current agritourism in the region (wineries, fruit stands, tomato festival, grape festival, et cetera), but has begun to attract additional visitors seeking craft beer. The beer products have been promoted in town with the Back Alley Concert Series at the brewery’s beverage garden, tying music and community involvement into the core of the Firehall Brewery brand. The Firehall Brewery has attended beer festivals as far as Victoria, BC, and has gained televised exposure for itself and the Town of Oliver across the province. The craft beer industry has begun to boom in British Columbia during the last few years, coming a long way since the market was created only a few decades ago. The “Craft Beer Revolution” is not just growing in BC, but has been sweeping the globe, as beer drinkers are becoming educated about the brewing process and the beverage’s long history.

After 15 months of planning and construction, the Firehall Brewery released its first batch of beer, the “Stoked Ember Ale”, in late March of this year, shortly followed by the release of the “Holy Smoke Stout”. The third beer to be released, the “Backdraft” blonde ale, is scheduled to finish recipe development and cellaring just before the end of 2012. It will be a light session beer with a golden colour and a crisp finish.

The Firehall Brewery is a small family-owned operation, managed by a father-son team, Jim & Sid Ruhland. Sid Ruhland is an Okanagan School of Business alumnus, now applying business theory to his home-brewing skills learned in the college dorms. The brewery is “draught-only”, meaning the beer is packaged solely into kegs for local distribution to restaurants, bars and pubs. There are no current plans to invest into canning or bottling equipment. 1.89L (1/2 US Gallon) refillable jugs called “growlers” can be brought to or bought from the Firehall Brewery tasting room to be filled with draught beer to-go. Tours are available by appointment.

Focus Friday: Pear Tree

Local orchards and vineyards are putting on quite a show this week — spectacular lemon-lime mixes on the vines, and oranges or reds starting to light up the fruit trees. The leaves will drop after the first couple of frosts, so enjoy ’em while you can. These pink-red beauties were from pear trees in Summerland, with no partridges in the vicinity.

Focus Friday: Great Grapes

Judging by the beauty of the grapes hanging in vineyards (and rumours on the street), the 2012 vintage of Okanagan wines will be one to remember. We’re lucky to see such a direct connection between the farms on our hillsides and the food and wine we enjoy. Looking forward to sampling these as vino next year!

Summerland Trestle Visitor

Patrick Murphy (@pmurphy88) pointed us in the direction of this video he took on the Summerland Trestle’s last week! Can anyone confirm if this is in fact an African turtle/tortoise? I’ve never seen one so big around here!

Focus Friday: Orchard Blossoms

The orchards have finished up their annual show, with blossoms replaced by tiny fruit growing fast. Local strawberries are hitting the fruit stands and farmer’s markets, and it’s only a couple of weeks before the first Okanagan cherries join them. Don’t forget the wild saskatoon berries that cover many of our dry hillsides as well — you can’t usually buy them, but they make a great trail-side snack.