Food Day Canada is one of my favourite days of the year. It’s always held on the Saturday of the August long weekend and it’s a time to celebrate the height of our country’s growing season and the abundance of local produce available.
This Saturday, August 3, I’ll be celebrating Food Day Canada a few fun ways. First, I’ll lead a Canmore Tasting Trail food experience for my company Alberta Food Tours (there’s still a few spots left on that tour but our Savour 17 SW food tour in Calgary is sold out that day) and then I’ll be attending a long table Beef and Barley Food Day Canada Dinner with partners Hotel Arts and Trails End Ranch. Tickets are only $125 per person and there are still a few left.
Here in Alberta, that’s just the beginning of the celebration of local bounty this August. We’ve also got a new festival called Alberta on your Plate, August 9 to 18, to look forward to and our annual Alberta Open Farm Days, August 17 and 18, with 160 farms across the province participating. Check out the links for these last two events and read on for more info about the Food Day Canada Beef and Barley Dinner at Trails End Ranch.
Hotel Arts’ Beef and Barley Food Day Canada Dinner at Trails End Ranch
Trails End Ranch is located south of Nanton, Alberta. It’s owned by Rachel and Tyler Herbert and their two children Will and Avery. Rachel’s family has been ranching in this area since the late 1800’s. That makes her children fifth generation ranchers.
The Herberts raise grass-finished beef. That means that their cattle stay on their ranch from birth until the day they go to slaughter about two and a half years later. Conventionally raised cattle calves are hard-weaned from their cow mothers at about six months, given antibiotics for milk fever that typically ensues, have a pellet of growth hormone inserted under their hide and then are transferred to a CAFO (centralized animal feedlot operation) and fed a diet that includes ionophores to help them digest the grain diet they are fed.
Grass-finished beef, that’s never been fed grain, is shown to have an Omega profile similar to salmon. The Herberts use humane animal treatment methods and sell direct to their market of loyal buyers. They handle their cattle using horses. They spend summers on pasture in the Porcupine Hills and eat stored hay in the winters near the family’s home.
A Taste of Grass-finished beef
For the big event, this Saturday, guests are invited to arrive at 5 o’clock for passed canapés and a welcome cocktail using product from nearby award-winning Eau Claire Distillery.
The four-course dinner will be served seated (possibly in the beautiful horse barn which has been featured in a few magazines!) at 6pm and it will feature the following dishes prepared by Hotel Arts’ Executive Chef Quinn Staples and his team:
Trail’s End Beef Carpaccio – with pickled Saskatoon berry hoisin | Alberta greens | basil | crispy garlic and shallots | puffed barley
Braised Trail’s End Beef – with barley dumplings | beef broth
Roasted Trail’s End Beef – with confit tomatoes | toasted barley | potato croquette
Chinook Honey Mousse – chocolate honeycomb
Rachel and Tyler will share some of their philosophies about their ranching practices and Fraser Abbott, the director of business development at Hotel Arts, will speak about Food Day Canada and their long-standing interest in shining the spotlight on local producers and farmers as well as this movement’s impact on our regional economy. Hope to see you there. This promises to be another great way to savour it all.