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The prairies of Saskatchewan are known for producing and exporting significant portions of the world's food supply. It's no wonder that the province has also developed a dynamic agritourism industry that focuses on picking your own fruits, seasonal vegetables and locally-sourced fish, as well as other specialties.
Foodies delight in trying each dish and element that have come to represent Saskatchewan cuisine. What stands out? You'll see evidence of wild rice often paired with wild fowl in dishes inspired by First Nations culture. Likewise, a variety of fish-based dishes appear on menus throughout the region, including pickerel and whitefish. As the population of Bison has grown, so has the incorporation of Bison-meat into traditional dishes. Meanwhile, berries, including chokeberries, pinch berries, wild blueberries and cranberries make frequent appearances in jellies and jams. But nothing is raved about quite as much as Saskatoon berries with fresh cream.
There are reportedly more than 400 restaurants in Regina alone which means whatever your travel plans are in the region; you are going to find a delicious and eclectic mix of options sure to satisfy whatever food craving you have. They are also in the midst of another craft and microbrew boom which allows people to not only sample new and unusual brews but to see behind-the-scenes of the brewing process and try some tried-and-true wines, stouts and ales -- all from locally-sourced ingredients. Speaking of wine, the local vineyards are not to be missed. Places like Cypress Hills Vineyard and Winery in Maple Creek offer tours and tastings that highlight the region's best.
As the agritourism industry has grown, so have the options for people to experience the freshest, local ingredients possible. In fact, it is said that there are some spots, like Harvest Eatery and Fresh Market in Shaunavon, that have gone a step further than the farm-to-table process by bringing the tables to the farms. Do you love fresh fruit? Take a tour of Over the Hill Orchards not far from Lumsden. You can observe how they grow organic peaches and apricots and then dive into a handmade pie sure to delight travelers of all ages.
If your travel plans bring you to Regina in June, the Mosaic Festival of Cultures is a "must." As the name would suggest, the three-day festival celebrates the different ethnicities that have come to call Saskatchewan home. Numerous pavilions are filled with displays and performances, as well as incredible food.
Throughout the Central region, visitors can learn about farming techniques and sample the fresh delights of the season. Pick-your-own farms have become major travel destinations. For example, places like Bugle Ridge Berry Farm, and numerous others, are a true temptation for berry lovers, but also produce tantalizing produce.
Are you a fan of exploring the local farmers' markets when you roam? If so, the Saskatoon Farmers' Market at River Landing beckons. Not only is there fresh produce, but you can dive into some famous Saskatoon berry pie before taking a cooking class or enjoying the tunes of the local musicians who perform here. And if you are looking for a special spot to dine, head over to Saskatoon's Broadway District. Here, you can find gourmet meals, using the freshest ingredients, in a vibrant section of the city.
If July brings you to Saskatoon, be sure to schedule in some time at the popular Taste of Saskatchewan. For six days, you can enjoy the sounds of numerous bands and performers, while savoring the dessert, specialty dishes and house-favorite entrees of more than 30 of the area's restaurants.
Not surprisingly, pick-your-own farms and orchards continue to be big hits in the Northern region, as they are elsewhere in the province. Places like Creekside Orchard, Dreschel's Market Garden in Saint Walburg and Watson's Tireman Market Garden draw crowds for their fresh vegetables, fruits and lively atmosphere. In and around Prince Albert, there are numerous places for visitors to pick strawberries, raspberries, cherries, and, yes, even those famous Saskatoon berries.
While picnics sourced from the farmers' markets are a delightful way to spend a day, particularly when you combine it with the sights of a place like the Clearwater River, there are numerous options for fine dining in the region. If you find yourself in Prince Albert, take a wander through the upscale menu options, and you'll find yourself rewarded with not only fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and regionally-inspired spices, but dishes that incorporate local catches, like pickerel bought from First Nations cooperatives, for a uniquely Saskatchewan experience.
To get a wide sampling of local flavors, plan a trip to Prince Albert in early June for FEASTival. This relatively young festival incorporates entertainment, family-friendly activities and, of course, lots and lots of food. The variety of tastes and flavors are being presented by restaurants from around the city.
Locally grown wines have never been better in Saskatchewan. Plan your next visit to this fun and charming province where you'll want to embark on a delightful tour of Cypress Hills Vineyard and Winery. Found west of Swift Current in Maple Creek, this is one of the premier wineries in all of Saskatchewan.
You'll have an opportunity to taste and sample nine different wines, all grown and made on-site at Cypress Hills. On your tour of the grounds, you'll have an up-close look at the wine-making process as you're guided through by owners Marty and Marie Bohnet.