Serendipitous: When given a hail storm, make vinegar.
Farming is a hard business at the best of times. At others, it’s downright frustrating! A whole summer of hard work can be ruined by too much fruit on the market, pests, or weather problems. The year 1998 saw global heat records, resulting in abundant crops and some of the best fruit grown in years throughout the Okanagan valley.
Prior to converting their farm to grapes Chris and Betty Jentsch were tending almost 100 acres of cherries. Cherries love heat and sunshine, however, during that year’s harvest a significant hail storm hit the orchard damaging a large part of the crop. In spite of the damage the fruit was still some of best ever produced but would not satisfy a market that demands perfection. What was one to do?
Chris being resourceful, inventive, and determined, suggested that maybe the solution lay in making cherry vinegar and naming it “The Three Sisters” in honor of their daughters. Having no alternative to offer, Betty let Chris go ahead on the assurance that he would commit to selling it the next year. Well as fate would have it, the following year things were rather busy around the farm and the vinegar would have to wait for another year, then another, and another. To make a long story short, the vinegar sat maturing for over 17 years! Needless to say, all of this time has worked magic and created a one of a kind, succulent, dark, rich, and fruity liquid that is as unique as the circumstances that led to its creation
First impressions are reminiscent of a balsamic vinegar (without the sweetness), a strong fruity aroma, well-balanced acidity and an explosion of flavor that is perfect for marinades, salad dressings, or as a dip. Chef Chris Shafton from KRAFTY kitchen + bar in Kelowna was so impressed that “he puts it in almost everything” on his menu. Who is Chris Shafton you ask? Chris is one of the top young chef in Canada and now make his home in Kelowna, creating amazing flavors at his new restaurant in Kelowna. Chris was a top 3 finisher in Top Chef Canada 2012, he is an amazingly energetic, charismatic and talented chef. I have had the pleasure of sampling his famous Venison Tartare with “Threes Sister’s Vinegar” and was so good that I had to ask him to share his recipe with you our customers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.