Mark Aug. 6 on your calendars.
The Comox Valley Cycling Coalition in cooperation with Comox Valley Farmers’ Market Association, Comox Valley Farmers’ Institute, and Discover Comox Valley have planned a non-profit farm cycle tour on this date.
In addition to promoting cycling and exercise, the farm cycle tour will give Comox Valley producers the opportunity to showcase their farms and produce to a wider audience.
Barbara and Byrne Odegard who operate Ironwood Farm, an organic farm in Fanny Bay, are participating in this year’s event.
When we asked Barbara why she thought the idea of a Farm Cycle Tour made sense, she replied this way:
“Small-scale farming is the public face of local agriculture. The growth and development of farmer’s markets have given small growers a venue to market their produce. This venue has forged a strong bond between farmer and consumer. There is no other format which so strongly connects land, farming and food with the public.
“Small, local farms have become advocates for sustainable, environmental practices that provide the public with locally grown, wholesome, nutritious products. By participating in the Comox Valley Farm Cycle Tour, the public becomes environmentally and locally aware of the impact that farmers make in our community.
“What could be greener than cycling to an event about food and seeing how it is grown? It gives us all an opportunity to engage with each other and gives the public a glimpse into what goes into the production of bringing food to the market. There is nothing like the visual impact of seeing something and experiencing first hand through our senses of touch, feel and taste. This is what makes experiences memorable and unforgettable.”
This year’s Comox Valley Farm Cycle Tour includes three itinerary loops, with each loop offering options for shorter or longer distances. Cyclists will follow a self-guided route to visit farms on the itinerary loop they choose.
Ironwood Farm is the most southerly farm stop on the South Loop called Bayviews. The farthest stop on the North Loop, called Backroads Bliss, is Coastal Black Estate Winery. In between are a variety of interesting farms which include Berry Best Farm, Comox Valley Greenhouse, Country Aire, Dee Kay Tee Ranch, Eatmore Sprouts, Finlay Creek Farm, Fanny Bay Oysters, Firetrail Farm, Freedom Farm, Good Earth Farms, Hazel’s Creek Farm, Innisfree Farm, Lloydshaven Holsteins Ltd, Nature’s Way Farm & Blue Moon Winery, New Sprout Farm, Royston Roasterie and Snap Dragon Dairy. The shortest loop, Rural Ramble, will appeal to novice cyclists and families looking for a shorter, rural experience. Farms may offer short tours, sell produce, provide demonstrations or offer educational displays.
This year’s event is free for children up to age 15. For all other participants, the cost is $10. Registrations will be accepted soon at www.cvfarmcycletour.com.
For more information about the Comox Valley Cycling Coalition, visit http://cyclecv.squarespace.com.
Krista Kaptein writes Shifting Gears with contributions from fellow CVCC members Ed Schum and Jim Palmer. It appears every fourth week. This column was penned by Willy van Kemenade.