Recently I had the good fortune to head down to DNA Gardens outside of Elnora for their Saskatoon Festival along with three of my girlfriends. The day started with Judy taking us down to a duck herding from Jill Brodie with her wonderful sheepdogs, so educational and entertaining, the crowds loved it. We then grabbed some lunch; Saskatoon & Brie grilled cheese sandwiches with delicious soup and Saskatoon flatbread, which was delightful. We were hungry, and after being out in the hot sun, it was so lovely to enjoy our meal in the shade with music in the background and some locally brewed cold beer to quench our thirst.
No sooner had we finished our meal and stretched our legs than it was off on a wagon tour of the orchard. Our guides were the owner’s Dave and Delidais; they were a wealth of information and natural storytellers, making it an enjoyable tour. Fun fact, did you know they nurture more than 17 different varieties of Saskatoons. We had a great time sampling some of them; my personal favourite was the Smoky, large, round and oh so sweet, just waiting to be made into a pie.
Then we were back to the yard, where we relaxed and indulged in a tasting of their delicious wines and liqueurs. I have to say I was impressed; each one came with a back story. Although my favourites were sold out that day, I managed to score some Sparkling Tart Cherry Black Currant Juice (so tasty) and their Prairie Harvest Cherry Liquor, incredible over ice cream or an after-dinner aperitif.
We were hoping to go berry picking afterwards, but the hot sun beckoned us back to our rental, where we spent the evening creating delicious cocktails like the Blush 62 (Sparkling Tart Cherry Black Currant Juice, a dash of Prairie Harvest Cherry Liquor, a little gin and cherry Buble), so good. The rest of the weekend was spent exploring Trochu, from Henry’s shoes (a must-go-to if you’re a shoe lover) to the Arboretum, a five-acre forest garden in the middle of the prairies.
We were planning on going out to Dry Island Buffalo Jump, known for its breathtaking scenic views of the Red Deer River Valley, but that will have to wait till next time.
DNA Gardens is the perfect girl’s getaway, and the knowledgeable and friendly people that worked there made the experience unforgettable. Will I go back? Most definitely, not only for the U-Pik but to try their Bootlegger Brisket dinner experience on Friday nights and to bring my mom and her friends to the delicious Wine Tasting & Tours in the orchard.
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