A Hidden Treasure in the Similkameen Valley of British Columbia

Everyone knows that when a road trip comes to the last few days and you are still on the road all you want to do is take the most effective route home, so that you can have a little R&R before heading back to work.

Normally, when the wife and I, are traveling back from Vancouver to Edmonton, we try to take the most direct route. This usually involves traveling North along Highway 5, to Kamloops, then continuing North to Valemount. And once in Valemount, we turn East onto Highway 16 to drive through Jasper National Park and eventually home.

One year, the parents, told the grandparents, that we were headed to Vancouver during our road trip and when we didn’t stop through Osoyoos on the way home, they were pretty disappointed.

Of course, now every trip we take into the Southern BC area, if we are anywhere near Osoyoos (within a 5 hour drive) we’ve somehow become obligated to stop in for at least an overnight stay to say hello.

About ten years ago, we lived in Calgary, Alberta and on a trip back from Vancouver Island, we were informed of a shorter route through the Similkameen Valley, which would shave off 1 1/2 hours of travel. At the time, I worked for an organic grocery store which had an orchard in Keremeos.

Outside of Vancouver, is a small town of Hope. When you reach Hope, you exit East onto Highway 3, known as the Crowsnest Highway. Traveling the highway, you go up and down several mountain passes through the towns of Sunshine Valley, Eastgate, Copper Mountain, Allenby and into Princeton. From Princeton, you continue East over the next pass through Hedley and down into the Similkameen Valley. The first town you encounter is Keremeos.


As we pulled into the parking lot, the fruit trees were in full bloom. Stepping out of the car we went into the Organic Farmer’s Market, to ask if the owner was around? They called Brad, in from out back. When he came into the shop and saw me, he smiled, welcomed us to the Orchard and said, “would you like a tour?” Our response in unison was, “Certainly Brad, that sounds great!

As he showed us around the orchard, we continued to learn how the fruit was picked, how many people worked the orchard and how long the harvest would be. About half way through, Brad picked a couple of magnificent looking peaches. Once back near the shop he offered us these peaches. I declined at first, as I really dislike the taste of the fuzz on the outside of the peach.

That’s when Brad says to me, “if you try this peach, and tell me that it is not the most delicious thing you have ever tasted, I will give you $50. Does that sound sweet enough of a deal?”

I mulled that bet over for about six seconds, rubbed the outside of the world’s largest fuzziest peach and stuffed it into my mouth. My expectation was, that I would chew chew chew and spit out the peach, to earn my $50!

Of course, as I chewed, the juices sprayed in my mouth, twisted and turned, the sweetness and aroma spilling out around me and a gradual smile crossed my face with the pleasures of my first happy peach experience. “Well, what did you think?” he inquired. “Honestly, I’ve never had a peach taste this delicious before. If they all tasted like this, then you could convert me to a peach-lover, and I just might as well eat another!” 


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