While there are many fruit stands in the Okanagan Valley, my personal favourite is Bear's. A little larger than a fruit "stand", and technically not in the Okanagan, it's still located in the heart of the semi-arid climate a few hours away from Penticton on the way from Vancouver on Hwy 3. Whenever I went on road trips with friends or family, we'd always stop off here. It was almost like a tradition.
What to buy: Local orchard fruit from the Okanagan Valley, like peaches, apricots, nectarines, apples, plums and cherries are Bear's speciality, but depending on the season you'll have a huge variety of other treats, like sweet corn on the cob, cherry tomatoes, local honey, strawberries, etc.
What to pay: Cheaper than what you'd pay at a grocery store for the same fruit and vegetables. Stock up here before getting back to the city!
To the uninitated tourist and traveller, these little gems can do a nasty number on you. I was wading through some fresh springtime growth to set up for a nice photo beside the road, thinking it was merely grass and weeds....but there was a small prickly pear cactus that I missed...but it got me! A couple of the lobes broke off with a dozen or more inch- long needle sharp spines embedded in my lower leg and trousers. When I attempted to pull it off, the spines then embedded themself in my fingers...beware of the very small spines too...they are as fine as hair, very brittle and only about a quarter of an inch long.
They do have a nice waxy yellow flower that appears in May....LOOK, but DON'T TOUCH!
The desert-like climate in this area has created some unusual bodies of water. This small shallow pond has some unusualy high concentrations of minerals because of the high evaporation rate in the summer heat. It's one of the most highly mineralized lakes in the world.
Minerals include: Epsom salts, calcium, sodium sulphates, and trace minerals such as silver and titanium.
The local natives have used its healing properties for centuries.
It's on the highway near the summit of Richter Pass, between Osoyoos and Cawston.
Be sure to visit the old grist mill on the Upper Bench Road.. It dates from 1877 and was used to grind grain in the early days here. A small creek running beside it was used to turn the water wheel.
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There are more than two dozen roadside fruit stands in Keremeos...but I think Parson's has to take the cake as the most interesting. With it's collection of antique autos and farm machinery, it's sure to rate a second glance.
Harvest season for fruit begins in early July and goes to mid October. They also sell honey, fresh cider, jams and jellies,