Corrine Dahm and Darrel Winter
photo – Karen Anderson
I’ve known Darrel Winter and his wife Corrine Dahm since about 2005 when I started doing volunteer work for Slow Food Calgary. I met a lot of Alberta farmers in the six years I worked actively on the board of that organization. Winter and Dahm stood out. Anyone who meets them appreciates the honest and earnest way they conduct themselves and how that translates to the animal husbandry practices of their turkey farm.
In 2007 I first visited their farm and started calling it “the turkey spa”. Beyond a wholesome farm smell, the air is crisp and clean. There is fresh straw bedding laid daily for the turkeys. They have access to the great outdoors, food and water at all times. They are calm. Their life is calm. The only thing missing is a bit of Bach playing softly in the background.
Winter’s father converted the farm from chickens to turkeys in 1958 and Winter still feeds the turkeys the same program his father devised. We’ll talk a bit about that here, share some photos and I’ll share my favourite way to cook a turkey.
Freshly harvested organic barley field at Highwood Crossing Farm
photo – Karen Anderson
Highwood Crossing Farm has been in Tony Marshall’s family for almost 120 years now. The farm is in Aldersyde, Alberta and hugs a curve in the Highwood River. It’s as though the land of the farm and the flow of the river are two lovers spooning. Most of the time, life is that peaceful and serene there.
In June of this year that was definitely not the case. That’s when we Albertans dealt with The Great Alberta Flood of 2013 and Tony and Penny Marshall of Highwood Crossing saw their Highwood Crossing Foods Ltd. processing plant in High River swallowed up by the river. To add insult to injury the basement of their beloved and beautiful home on the family homestead was also devastated. As always, they looked around and thought – things could be worse. They regrouped and are slowly rebuilding as they can. Before long Tony was making a joke that with all that flour and water in High River it was a good thing they did not also make yeast. High River would have had another mess on their hands the likes of a Ghostbusters movie.
This blog will talk about the Highwood Crossing organic grain farm, the products they produce and what’s involved in that process and then finish with a few of Penny Marshall’s delectable recipes. I’ve had the delight of trying these good things and enjoyed them so much I’m confident you will too.
The Sides Show – a disappearing act
photo – Karen Anderson
We all know that turkey takes center stage on the holiday table but where would that big star of a bird be without its supporting cast?
This week on Alberta@Noon I’ll be talking about “the sides show” – all those yummy dishes that has turkey saying, “you complete me” – just like Tom Cruise in Jerry McGuire (he WAS a turkey until he figured that one out!)
This blog will be recipes, recipes and more recipes! I’m going to organize them in categories so if you are looking for something in particular just scroll down our Holiday Sides Show Menu. Happy Thanksgiving everyone and since these recipes are good for any holiday where turkey is a favourite I’ll just say Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Easter while I’m at it.
I learned to make these Spiced Apples from Darcell Markgraf of the BC Tree Fruit Growers
photo – Karen Anderson
This post is all about a wonderful DIY gift you can make for the food lovers on your gift list this holiday season. I’m giving you the recipe now because it needs to sit at least six weeks before being opened.
Read on for the recipe and photos. I hope you’ll try it. It only took me about 90 minutes to produce nine of these pretty jars. Now to decide which of my friends and family to gift them to….
This film clip talks about the small but important trend towards grass-finished beef ranching, pasture management, environmental stewardship, and prairie grassland habitat restoration here in Alberta, Canada.
Do you know the difference between grass-fed beef and grass-finished beef? A friend that I consider a real food lover asked me the what the difference is last week and I thought – wow, if he doesn’t know then how many other people don’t understand the difference and what it means for the health of the animal, the land and the humans who enjoy beef? This blog will discuss the difference between grass-fed and grass-finished cattle in more detail. If you are keen to read this I’m sure you’ll enjoy the 12 minute film above. It’s loaded with the beauty of Alberta and her precious grasslands.
Alberta harvest time land and skyscape
photo from a moving bus – Karen Anderson
I just spent the better part of the last week planning, shopping, cooking, packing up, catering and leading a Foodie Tootle tour to four farms in one day for 43 guests. I’m pooped out but proud of the amazing farmers we visited yesterday and all the goodies my guests were able to gather for their Thanksgiving dinners next weekend.
I’m going to blog a little bit about each of the four farmers we visited this week. Those farms include the following:
Poplar Bluff Organics
Highwood Crossing and the
The Saskatoon Farm.
All through this week, I’ll share some of the recipes these farms have inspired along with some of my family’s favourites.
Meanwhile, if you are wondering what a Foodie Tootle is, I hope you will enjoy this piece I wrote for City Palate describing the origin of the Foodie Tootle farm tours, their goals and what that typical experience looks and feels like.
Did you read the article? Here’s a sample of one of my Bad Turkey Jokes.
Why did the turkey cross the road? It was the chicken’s day off.
Here’s a better punch line to make up for that.
Apple Jack Frost Nipping at your Nose Punch
4 liters apple cider
1 bottle sparkling wine
2 cups Calvados
2 t. Fee Brothers whiskey barrel-aged bitters
Iced apple ring
Combine all of the above in a punch bowl and serve promptly upon guests arrival for a smooth opening to your holiday party. Make the ice ring by slicing 6 apples thinly, overlap them on the bottom of a ring mold, add just enough water so they’ll freeze in position, freeze, then fill the mold with water and freeze again until needed.
Me and Liane Faulder, friend and writing mentor
I count myself blessed that I have a few very fine writing mentors. My friend dee Hobsbawn-Smith has always encouraged me to write and been there with kindness. My editor at City Palate Magazine, Kathy Richardier, has invested a great deal of time in making me a better writer and I owe a lot to her insistence on brevity, her eagle eye for clarity and her sense of readability, tone and overall worthiness of a piece. In Jennifer Cockrall-King, the founder of The Okanagan Food and Wine Writers Workshop (OKFWWW), I have found collegiality, escape from a writer’s solitary life and a generosity of spirit that reveals a deep belief in abundance and the power of collaboration.
It was at the OKFWWW that I met Liane Faulder. This post will talk more about what I have learned from Faulder in particular and share an article she recently wrote on raw milk in Canada.