Tag Archives: Alberta farms

We need ALL farmers – urban AND rural

YYC Growers - photo - Karen Anderson

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.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Farms, Farming and Farmers

D-I-Y farm tours – Here’s a pitchfork full of opportunities for city folk to connect with farm folk this summer in Alberta

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

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.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Farm Tours, Farms, Farming and Farmers

Savour Food – my @AlbertatNoon September food column podcast and recipes with a pumpkin theme

Pumpkin muffins with cranberries, pepitas and brown sugar topping photo - Karen Anderson

Pumpkin muffins with cranberries, pepitas and brown sugar topping
photo – Karen Anderson

I’m at my desk this morning enjoying a couple of mini pumpkin muffins and steaming cup of tea because my September Alberta at Noon food column (I’m at the 8 minute mark in the program) is about pumpkins and I presented the recipe for these long time favourite muffins for that broadcast.

September is the prime time to visit Alberta’s agritourism pumpkin patches. If you wait until October when Thanksgiving’s pie and Halloween’s Jack o’ Lantern are pressing culinary and decorative concerns you’ll miss out.

We can have frost in Alberta anytime in September and that’s when the big green pumpkin leaves and vines die, die, die. The pumpkin patch goes from photo ready verdant pastoral eye candy to orange dots on a sea of brown dirt overnight. The farmers go out to the fields pluck up each and every pumpkin and put them in bins at that point. So, if you want to take the little tykes out to pluck their own pumpkin from the patch NOW is the time.

You can find more information about the cornucopia of pumpkin patch opportunities around Alberta here.

The reason I’m talking about pumpkins so far before Thanksgiving and Halloween all started because of a recent tour I led to the five farms of Innisfail Growers. This blog post features the beautiful day I spent touring the five farms of Innisfail Growers and I’ll just say from the outset how grateful I am to my friend Leona Staples for educating me about the brief window for viewing pumpkin patches in their prime. Previous to this August’s visit, I had never even thought about it. Thanks Leona.

Thanks to all of you for dropping by and thanks for being @CBCradio listeners. It’s fun to talk about and savour a bit of the life and activity on our Alberta farms together. Cheers, Karen

3 Comments

Filed under Alberta at Noon, Farm Tours, Great ingredients, Recipes, Savour food

Savour Food – Cool things no. 12 – @offthebeatenpal – coming June 6th – a PBS TV show about Alberta cuisine and culture

The crew of "Off the Beaten Palate"  Lt-Rt Jong Won Ham, Dan Dor, James Klopko, (Brian Smith from Wild Rose Brewery), Michael-Ann Rowe and last but not least ME!

The crew of “Off the Beaten Palate”
Lt-Rt
Jong Won Ham, Dan Dor, James Klopko, (Brian Smith from Wild Rose Brewery), Michael-Ann Rowe and last but not least ME!

Off the Beaten Palate is a fun TV show that I got to work on in September 2012. I was hired by Travel Alberta to act as scout, guide and production assistant for a TV crew based out of New York and Toronto. We spent a week visiting ranches, farms, restaurants and some of Alberta’s most iconic tourism destinations exploring the link between our cuisine and our culture. Travel Alberta’s whiz kid Jessica Harcombe-Fleming had worked on the project for several months and I just had to come in and put some icing on the big fat cake she had baked. She’s amazing.

Basically, from 5:30 a.m. to about 11 p.m. for a week straight, I drove the crew around, acted as their schedule “fixer”, props specialist, food stylist, caterer, photographer, social media coordinator and story consultant. It was a great privilege to find myself in this role and the crew headed by host Michael-Ann Rowe were amazing to work with. I loved my time with them and I loved introducing them to all my friends here in Alberta. I even got to be in the show. How fun is that? Pretty fun!

I hope you will all tune it to the broadcast. It will be on Detroit Public Television (DPTV) on June 6th at 7:30 ET. That’s Channel 81 on Shaw TV in Calgary. You can get more details here. You can watch lots of fun promo reels here.

I’d like to thank everyone who made this beautiful show possible and who bent over backwards to help us show the world how great Alberta’s Cuisine and Culture truly are. We had a week of perfect weather and every time I look at the rough cuts of the show or the promo reels I feel incredibly blessed to live in such a beautiful part of Canada. The Alberta show is part of a three-part Discover Canada series especially filmed for American Public Television. I hope all our southern neighbours will in the words of Mae West, come on up and see us sometime!

Of course, the best part of all for me is that being involved in this project has just made me Savour Food and Savour Life in Alberta more than I already do! Here’s a few more photos I took last fall just to give you a sample of what’s going to be served up in this fantastic Taste Award Nominated show.

Bison Short Rib sandwiches by chef Cindy Lazarenko, Culina Catering, Edmonton photo credit - Karen Anderson

Bison Short Rib sandwiches by chef Cindy Lazarenko, Culina Catering, Edmonton
photo credit – Karen Anderson

Spragg's Pork Spring Roll by chef Duncan Ly, Hotel Arts, Calgary Photo & styling credit - Karen Anderson

Spragg’s Pork Spring Roll by chef Duncan Ly, Hotel Arts, Calgary
Photo & styling credit – Karen Anderson

Game platter by chef Ralph Wollman, Rimrock Resort, Banff Photo credit - Karen Anderson

Game platter by chef Ralph Wollman, Rimrock Resort, Banff
Photo credit – Karen Anderson

Leave a comment

Filed under Cool things, Savour food, Travel

Savour food – The City Palate Summer Tootle to Southern Alberta Farms

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Saturday, August 20th was a big Alberta blue sky day with not a breath of wind to disturb it. A perfect day to take a bus load of city folk out to meet farm folk.
Our first stop was http://www.aspencrossing.com where owners Donna Biggar and Jason Thornhill showed us their Pullman Dining Car, kitchen garden, greenhouse and gift shop. They also treated the group to fresh coffee and homemade field berry muffins and cinnamon buns. Aspen Crossing’s dinner theatre offerings for the fall season interested many Tootlers and we all found the plans for expansion which include renovating a 100 year old prairie homesteaders “mansion” into a coffee house very exciting.
Next up was http://www.broekporkacres.com where we found Berkshire hogs happily rooting in pastures under the hot midday sun. We dined al fresco in the shade on Joanne Vanden Broek’s Pulled Pork on crusty buns along with the Bronco Buckin’ Coleslaw (it kicks Pork Butt), fresh fruit, lemon and blueberry slice, http://www.wildrosebrewery.com beer and Zora’s lemonade.
The final stop was http://www.broxburn-vegetables.com just outside of Lethbridge, AB. Paul de Jonge showed the guests around his impressive 8 acres of greenhouses and fields. Everyone loved eating strawberries in the field as they were still warm and juicy from the sun. Hilda de Jonge and the staff of Broxburn Cafe were busy cooking up a huge array of vegetable goodness for us. We started with the cafe’s signature Red pepper soup and crudite, and had a potatoe trio with fixings, broccoli salad, bean salad and fresh green salad. This all went wonderfully with the Big D’s smoked side Broek Pork ribs we brought along (Derek Davies of Big D’s in the Calgary Farmer’s Market kindly smoked the ribs for us). Wines were provided by The Organic Wine Connection and we topped off the day with Broxberry Pie and coffee for the busride back home.
What follows are a couple of the recipes that made our food so enjoyable. Recipes, like the good times we had, are for sharing.
Cheers, Karen

Ingrid’s Blueberry Squares
Notes to the cook
I have substituted other berries and even peaches and this still turns out well.
Ingredients
2 cups flour
Pinch of salt
½ cup sugar
Enough berries to cover the crust in a single layer (about 2 cups)
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp flour
2 eggs (beaten)
2 T melted butter
1 cup coconut
Method
Mix the first 4 ingredients and spread evenly in 13 by 9” pan, pressing down to form a crust.
Cover the crust with the blueberries or fruit of your choice.
Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the berries and crust.
Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Karen’s Bronco Bucking Coleslaw – It Kicks Pork Butt
2 heads green cabbage, roughly chopped
3 heads red cabbage, roughly chopped
1 bag carrots, diced in food processor
2 red peppers, julienned
2 bunches green onions, sliced on diagonal
2 red onions, chopped and soaked in white vinegar
2 English cucumbers, julienned
1 bunch of cilantro chopped
1 jar Hellman’s mayo
1 cup Thai Kitchen sweet chili sauce
1 – 2 jalapenos
some of the vinegar after the red onions were drained
S&P
Method
Do all your chopping and put everything in a huge bowl
Drain the red onions and save the

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

vinegar juice
Place the 2 jalapenos, jar of Hellman’s, chili sauce and about 1/4 c of the vinegar in a food processor and process until smooth adding more vinegar as necessary to achieve the consistency of dressing.
Fold into the vegetables.

Joanne Vanden Broek’s Pulled Pork
Notes to the cook – makes a lot but freezes well
12 lbs pork shoulder or butt
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c paprika
3 Tbsp black pepper
3 Tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp celery seed
1 tsp cayenne
Method
Mix the dry ingredients and rub over pork. Place in Slow cooker for 8 hours. Let sit for 15 minutes and either shred with a fork or slice thinly.

Leave a comment

Filed under Farm Tours, Recipes, Savour food