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Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz

Biking along corn fields
1/6 
start stop bwd fwd
 

 

By: Jackie Chow

 

The annual Slow Food Cycle Tour in Agassiz in July is a hugely popular event for hundreds of locals and out-of-towners alike. The Slow Food movement promotes local natural foods and sustainable agriculture and wild fisheries, and the Tour provides a fun and delicious way for young and old to learn more about what local farmers and entrepreneurs have to offer. 

 

We stayed the night at the comfortable Harrison Beach Hotel in Harrison Hot Springs. We started off at 10 am and pedaled to the starting point of the Tour at the Agricultural Grounds in Agassiz, mostly avoiding busy Hot Springs Road by taking the back roads. We took the time to enjoy our stops. The first one was the Agassiz Harrison Museum, where members of the Sts’ailes First Nation were selling traditional arts and crafts, and kids could make and take home their own mini drum and learn about native culture and traditions.


Another stop was at Canadian Hazelnut, where we tasted a delectable variety of flavoured hazelnuts, and biked right through the hazelnut orchards. At Tasty Chicken there were more goodies to taste, but unfortunately no more samples were left of their free-range, organic chicken, which apparently attracts customers from far and wide. We visited with farmer John in the barn, who was just in the middle of collecting freshly laid eggs. We took a peak around the back of the barn, where the chickens were busy doing what they do, and the sheep were watching us from a safe distance in their pasture. We admired the beautifully landscaped gardens and ponds, and continued on our way.


A gravel road along the Fraser River led us to the next destination, Magpie Bakery. The last sourdough pizza of the day just went into the brick, wood-fired oven as we arrived. Talking to the passionate Master Baker himself, I learned that because of the fermentation process, sourdough bread is easier to digest and more nutritious than yeast-leavened bread. Sharing a big table with other cyclists, I ate my piece of pizza, and concluded that it was also one of the best pizzas I’d ever had.


The last farm we managed to visit before the finish time of the Tour was Cordine Farms, a modern dairy operation. We had a walking tour through the nursery, where the calves were housed, and also some newborn kittens. Then we went on a hayride through the cow barn, ending with a visit to the milking facility, with interesting explanations by the owner of the farm about the computerized tracking systems and individualized care given to each cow.


For more information on the tour and on-line registration (recommended) visit the Fraser Valley Cycle Tours website.  Directions to the start location can also be found through this link.


Participants can start and finish the tour any time between 9 am and 4 pm. It’s a comfortable 25 km long self-guided tour: just follow the route on the map at your own pace. The route follows mostly quiet, flat country roads and the scenery is spectacular. From year to year the participating farms can vary, but you can expect a good variety.


Note that there is a very limited supply of rental bikes available in Harrison Hot Springs, so it’s best to bring your own to avoid disappointment.