Savour food – The Autumn “Turkey” Tootle Farm Tour – shopping for Thanksgiving dinner at the source

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This is the third time we’ve done this particular City Palate farm Tootle tour and it always resonates with people. They start out curious about where the food for their Canadian Thanksgiving dinner is coming from and they end up grateful to our local farmers for all that goes into growing their food.
This year we visited first and were thrilled to see Rosemary Wotske and Cam Beard harvesting a bumper crop including 17 kinds of potatoes, 8 kinds of carrots, 4 beets, parsnips, and cortland onions from their friend at Busy Bea farm in Monarch. We enjoyed hot from the oven Agria baked potatoes with Sylvan Star gouda, Valbella bacon bits, Broxburn broccoli, Vital Greens sour cream and butter and washed it all down with Blush Lane Organic Apple Cider.
We love to go to because the turkeys are so calm and well-cared for. I tell everyone we are visiting a “turkey spa” and after they listen to Darrel Winter’s passion for raising the turkeys they believe me. Darrel and his wife Corrine Dahm had a few birds smoked in nearby Langdon and we enjoyed the meat on fresh buns with Brassica mustard, crudite and brownies and beer.
Down to Nanton we went, to visit and the Legault family who have been growing beefsteak tomatoes exclusively for Calgary Coop and their own farmgate store since 2000. We tasted Tony’s tomato salad and rockin’ salsa on Tres Marias organic blue corn chips and then it was time to head back to Okotoks for dinner.
Dinner this year was a huge treat as it was lovingly prepared by the staff at Heartland Cafe in Okotoks. Bev Pell and her team including her parents Ron and Cecile Swartz welcomed us with Bison Borcht, followed by a chiogga beet and Paradise Hill salad, rounded out with Roasted Winter’s Turkey, stuffing, roasted Poplar Bluff root veggies and maple spiced cranberry sauce. The piece de resistance was a huge slice of Poplar Bluff Bolero Carrot Cake with Praline encrusted cream cheese frosting.
Happily Bev and her Mom Cecile (who originated the carrot cake recipe) have shared this bit of sheer bliss with us. This icing and cake was the perfect end to our day and being able to share it here tops off another great year of Tootles. We’re looking forward to the 2012 season and plans are already underway. The new series will be announced in City Palate March April 2012 edition. See you on the bus.


 Notes to the cook – This recipe comes from the owners of Heartland Ron and
Cecile Swartz and their daughter Bev Pell and has been in use in the café for
over twenty years.  Everyone loves it and
I feel very honoured that they shared it with me.


1   Cup           Canola Oil

1   Cup           Brown Sugar – packed

3                      Eggs

2   Cups         All Purpose Flour

1    tsp           Baking Powder

½   tsp            Baking Soda

½   tsp            Salt

1    tsp           Cinnamon

½   tsp            Nutmeg

½   tsp            Ginger

1½ Cups        Grated Carrot

1    Can          Crushed Pineapple – drained but not dry (14 oz can)

  •  Preheat oven to 325ºF. 
  • Cream the oil and brown sugar
    together with an electric mixer until well combined and fluffy.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, to sugar
    mixture.  Scrape down the sides and make
    sure it is creamy and blended well.
  • Combine the flour, baking powder,
    soda, salt, and spices together in a separate bowl and blend well with a fork.
  • Pour the dry mixture into the whipped
    egg/sugar mixture and blend slowly until combined but do not over mix.
  • Fold in grated carrot and drained
    crushed pineapple. 
  • Spray the sides of an 8 inch
    springform pan or a square pan with cooking spray and bake at 325ºF for 80
    minutes.  Test with a toothpick first before
    removing from oven – it should come out clean when the cake is done.  This cake must spring back in the center or
    it will fall.  Adding 5 or 10 minutes
    more doesn’t hurt this recipe. 


 8   oz              Cream Cheese

½  Cup           Butter – salted or unsalted and room temperature

3   Cups         Icing Sugar

2    tsp           Vanilla Extract

  •  Cream the cheese and butter together
    until smooth and lump free. 
  • Add icing sugar and vanilla
    extract.  Blend well spread on top of a
    completely cooled carrot cake. 
  •  Top cake with pecan pieces if

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