YYC Growers – photo – Karen Anderson
Urban farming has become topical.
Here’s a video by Alberta PrimeTime discussing why. The video features Rod Olson of Leaf and Lyre SPIN farm here in Calgary and Professor Debra Davidson of the University of Alberta and they do a great job of explaining why people are becoming more interested in growing food within city limits and addressing naysayers who believe agriculture is only for rural areas.
There is an idea I’ve heard of late that people who grow food for a living inside a city’s limits are not “real farmers”. There’s a bit of an old boy’s club mentality that you must have grown up on a farm, live on a rural farm, and have the stress of bank loans to be a farmer.
I think we have to get past this way of thinking. It’s not going to serve us as we prepare to feed 9 billion people on our planet by 2050.
I think that we need to appreciate ALL people who grow food for us and that’s what I’ll discuss here.
Me and one of my closest farming friends – Penny Marshal of Highwood Crossing Farms presenting at The Calgary Stampede Calgary Coop Showcase Kitchen in 2011 – I’ve learned so much about farming and cooking from Penny!
photo credit – Adam Chiasson
Visiting Alberta’s farms and farmers – whether urban or rural – has always been a big part of my life in Alberta and summer is the prime time to make a visit. If you’d like to meet some farmers here’s some ideas I’ve collected to help you be “Outstanding in a field” this summer.
I was born to grocery shop
Some people are born to shop but I was born to grocery shop. I love it.
I am delighted that I get to write about the great ingredients and cool things I find in local grocery stores, markets and kitchen shops. I do this for my Get This (must have kitchen stuff) column in Calgary’s City Palate magazine.
I’ve been writing Get This since the fall of 2010 and I am inspired by the fun things I find for each and every issue. I respect that my publisher and editor never tell me what to write about. They trust that I will write about things City Palate readers will be interested in. That is what City Palate is about first, last and always…for over 20 years…what readers will find interesting.
Thinking about our readers motivates me every time. Along with the products I love to squeeze in a few recipes and news about local farms and businesses, and great chefs and designers.
In this issue I wrote about the following products which will qualify for this blog’s cool things category:
Cool thing #17 – Ruckles – groovy goat cheese from Salt Spring Island
Cool thing #18 – Spiegelau’s balloon decanter and tumbler set – a darling with great hand feel
Cool thing #19 – Tartufo nero – black truffle oil that I think is asparagus’s taste soul mate
Cool thing #20 – DaVinci orange syrup – agent orange as an asset
Cool thing #21 – Lemonaise – lemon lending flavour potential
Cool thing #22 – Village Brewery Growlers – the most chillin’ beer for summer.
You’ll find the full story in this May/June issue.
I have a fridge, freezer and pantry stuffed to the gills with great ingredients and cool things. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s truly a part of what helps me savour it all.
My April column for CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon was all about a new website called Soil Mate.
The Soil Mate website acts like a match making service between consumers and farmers. Just as internet matchmaking services helps people find their soul mate, this site will help you find your “soil mate”. But, it’s all brand new and Soil Mate needs help building a directory of farmers, farmer’s markets and wineries that will span North America. We can all help. Here’s a bit more information and my podcast.
Voila – Chutney Stuffed Alberta Lamb for Easter
photo – Karen Anderson
Half the lamb we eat in Alberta is imported but, the superior taste of our local product means demand for it is on the rise. Lamb producers in the province are responding with a strategy to increase yields by 40% over the next 6 years. A recent Edmonton Journal article chronicled what life on Tangled Ridge lamb farm is like this time of year.
Taste Alberta: Local food movement fuels growing support for Tangle Ridge Ranch (with recipes and video).
Here’s a link to my visit to Ewe-nique lamb farm and a whole menu of delicious things to make for Easter, spring and beyond.
These are just two farms out of hundreds that need our support if we are to have a strong and secure local system filled with our dream farms. Supporting and finding the farms of our dreams and cravings – our Soil Mates – was the main focus of my Alberta at Noon column today. I hope you’ll help build this potential treasure trove of “local” by asking your favourite farms, farmer’s markets and wineries to register.
Spread the word, like you’d spread manure and we’ll all watch Soilmate dot com grow into a fabulous and powerful consumer and farmer resource. That will truly be something to help us savour it all.
Read on for the recipe for the delicious lamb roast pictured above.
Watch the video above to learn about this new agri-enterprise that has the potential to change the way we source our food.
Recommend your favourite farms, farmer’s markets and wineries/meaderies. Spread the word, like farmer’s spread manure.
Let’s see all our soil mates get listed and help get this great seed of an idea growing at the same time.
Local food, farms and farmer’s markets help us savour it all.
Chef Duncan Ly’s Vietnamese Pork Salad Rolls made with Spragg’s pork
photo – Karen Anderson
Humanely raised pork is a great ingredient. Yesterday, I wrote about a few Alberta Pork Producers that are raising their animals humanely. Today, I’d like to share the recipe for the beautiful pork salad rolls pictured above. Consider them an added incentive to go out and find some of these products. You can nourish a new direction for the pork industry as you nourish yourself.
This recipe was created by a wonderful cook that I know; chef Duncan Ly of the Hotel Arts in Calgary. Ly shared this recipe for a PBS television show called Off the Beaten Palate. I was the production assistant for that show when they visited Alberta and one of my jobs was to line up chefs and farms to highlight Alberta’s culture and cuisine. Ly’s food is so beautiful in both taste and style that I was thrilled when he agreed to participate. I had previously guided chef Ly on a visit to Spragg’s Meats pork farm and I knew he loved the taste of their product. We were all thrilled with the beauty of the dish he presented.
This post will share chef Ly’s recipe in both a written and video format.