Tag Archives: farms

My April column for CBC Radio One @AlbertaatNoon – @mysoilmate

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.

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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 http://www.poplarblufforganics.com 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 http://www.wintersturkeys.ca 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 http://www.wildrosebrewery.com beer.
Down to Nanton we went, to visit http://www.paradisehillfarm.ca 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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Savour food – The City Palate Summer Tootle to Southern Alberta Farms

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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.
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
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
Do all your chopping and put everything in a huge bowl
Drain the red onions and save the

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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
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.

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