Summerland-Preparations are underway for the opening of Summerland’s newest market.
Chillers Ice Cream and Farm Market at 9701 Jones Flat Road will welcome customers on the May long weekend.
Chillers is located on historic land where Highway 97 intersects with Jones Flat Road, near the beginning of the Caribou Brigade Gold Rush Trail through Garnet Valley.
“It was originally used as a farm stand by Kew Kita in the 1940s who farmed the land and sold the produce from it for over 75 years,” said proprietor Bobby Bovenzi.
Kita’s small, weathered farm stand will be on display at Chillers.
Since Kita’s time, the site has been the home of produce stands, most recently of the Peach Pitt.
“The opportunity to lease the Chillers property was passed to me by my brother-in-law Thomas Tumbach, owner of Local Motive Low Waste Market in Penticton and Organic Foods Home Delivery service,” Bovenzi said.
Together the two men are creating a vintage-themed destination hub for locally sourced, freshly made, hand crafted items for all ages and tastes.
Chillers’ highway location optimizes exposure to tourists.
“It’s a joint venture with Thomas, as I will sell produce from our farm, combine orders with his low waste market and delivery service, and share general labour employees.
The Chillers property consists of 3 acres of peaches, apricots, plums, and apples, a 5000 square foot garden plot plus a 1700 square foot retail outlet with an adjacent lawn.
Learning necessary horticultural skills has been a challenge to Bovenzi, noted for his expertise on drums, especially West African drums.
For 20 years he has provided world percussion entertainment for thousands of Okanagan residents and tourists.
Then Covid-19 struck, adversely affecting the entertainment business and Bovenzi switched career paths.
He is particularly grateful to Michael Welsch for teaching him orcharding techniques.
Gourmet soft ice cream, classic fountain floats and shakes will be featured along with fresh baked goods, candies, and other treats.
“Gourmet ice cream has a high fat and a low air content, “Bovenzi explained.
Customers will be offered a wide selection of fruits and vegetables grown on Chillers land and at Tumbach’s Garnet Hollow Farm and of specialty meats, cheeses, and dips.
There will also be a variety of other items such as bottled beverages, local honey, maple syrup and coffee.
“The emphasis is on organic and vegan products of all types,” Bovenzi explained.
On the lawn adjacent to the Chillers building Bovenzi is planning a seasonal vendor area which depending on the day will feature among other items natural fabric clothing, artwork, and unique hand-made musical instruments.
“There will be ten special events hosted annually ranging from gourmet tasting experiences, live music, seasonal food pairing, charity auctions and classic vehicle rallies,” he said.
Brianna Smith and Marie Gater recently joined the Chillers’ team as assistant managers.
Smith began her career in retail helping at her family’s ice cream store in Penticton and later managed a resort in Alberta.
Gater managed a resort in Northern Ontario and brings with her years of experience in sales.
“Three years ago, we visited friends in the Okanagan and fell in love with the area. And the rest is history,” she said.
The two women plan to divide up responsibilities at Chillers as they go along.
Bovenzi is looking for additional employees including a soda jerk and sales associates.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-494-1288.