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Celebrating her roots

Jennifer Schell is a farmer’s daughter turned cosmopolitan author

Smiling young blonde woman wearing a long-sleeved teal blue T-shirt
Jennifer Schell is a Kelowna-based author and food and wine writer. — Photo courtesy Jennifer Schell

Jennifer Schell, editor of Kelowna-based Food & Wine Trails magazine, spent the summer of 2011 touring the Okanagan Valley from end to end, interviewing farmers, vintners and chefs, compiling their stories and their recipes. Schell is a farmer’s daughter herself, born at Kelowna General Hospital and raised on an apple orchard in East Kelowna. She knows that there is more to great food than mere technique.

Including all the players

“I was inspired by the passion and excitement of these talented food and wine producers,” Schell said. “I’ve always wanted to do a cookbook, and instead of pairing just a chef and a winemaker, I wanted to include the farmers and the artisans.”

Given the growing trend to eat locally sourced food, Schell's book, entitled The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker, an Okanagan Cookbook, is a well-timed invitation to everyone in the vicinity of the Okanagan valley to learn about the philosophy, the motivation and the faces behind the food and drink available in this bounteous region.

“I think that we’re actually experiencing a renaissance now,” said Schell. “People want to know where their food is coming from. They want to see the face of the farmer. Summer markets are becoming more popular, thankfully, and people are shopping locally, knowing their money is supporting their community. Organic is great, but eating food that’s produced in your local soil is even more important.”

There's a growing buzz

The contributors are hoping this book will attract more people to the Okanagan and encourage everyone to eat locally produced food.

“This book hits a moment in time as we explode onto the food and wine scene,” Schell said. “There’s a buzz about us now—people are becoming very interested in what we’re doing here. We are one of the final frontiers in the food and wine world. There’s so much skill and passion put into Okanagan food and wine, it’s really inspiring.”

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