Archive for the ‘Sundog Organic Farm’ Category

From The Farmers’ Mouth – Time to Vote


My highlight reel of ‘From Local Farms‘ videos was just chosen by Daniel and Mirra of The Perennial Plate as a top-four contender in their recent video competition. I’m honored to be on the list, to say the least. The very reason I started a video series at all was directly because of Daniel and Mirra’s earliest episodes – inspiring me to pick up a cheap Flip camera, introduce myself to some farmers, and press some record button. My life, quite literally, has not been the same since.

So a big thank you goes out today to Daniel, Mirra, all the passionate farmers, and especially to you for taking the time to watch what other folks have to say about our food world. You plugging into and supporting projects like The Perennial Plate matters – it creates cracks in a food culture needing to evolve.

Please click over here to like the video on facebook, and vote for it too while you’re at it. If the vid wins the day, it will replace the regular programming of The Perennial Plate next Monday, exposing it to a very large viewership of like minded folks across many borders. That would be very cool. Even if it doesn’t, big thanks to Daniel and Mirra for your support of what I’m up to and sharing your audience.

Hitting the Farm with Culinary Students


At their request as a consulting local food ‘expert’ [makes me cringe to refer to myself as such], I’ve headed up a couple food adventures lately with some of NAIT‘s culinary arts students. Last week was foraging for highbush cranberry – still have to write about that one. Yesterday though was a farm experience I hooked them up with out at Sundog Organic Farm. We got a tour from Jenny who explained crop rotation, their seeding schedule, infrastructure needs, etc and then hit the field to help them get some of their fall root veg put up for the winter. After a few hours in the field, we prepped and cooked lunch harvested straight from the field in one of the coolest kitchens I’ve experinced: their greenhouse. The students were left to check out the field, put together a menu, and execute it. Folks even got to go home with bags of reject carrots –  broken, too small to store, but still tasty. Good times.

This seems like an obvious connect to me: people who are passionate about preparing food hanging out with people who are passionate about growing it. That’s why I’m willing to make time away from my work and family to go assist in connecting that gap where I can. The way I see it, the talented young folks who are about to go out and become the cooks and chefs in our community have a crack at changing the culture around seasonality and locality. Perhaps that’s naive of me, but I’ve been learning that it doesn’t necessarily take many to  make a difference in their community. Some of them will design menus. Some of them will make decisions that impact local agricultural producers whether they are aware of it or not. And some of them just might go on to advocate for local, seasonal eating as well.

At the end of the day, the farmer got some extra and energetic hands to help get a bunch of vegetables stored for winter sale while connecting with the industry talent that will shape part of their future. It’s worth mentioning that getting veg out of the ground doesn’t always get done, the farms often struggling with well timed and sufficient labor – so if you’re interested in checking out your local veg farm, don’t be shy to offer yourself up for an afternoon, day, or weekend during harvest. They need a hand. Rescue some food, help the farm, and I guarantee it will be worth your time. The students in this case got to get outside and connect with where their food [should] come from, get excited about great local ingredients, hang out with some nice folks, and feel helpful. All around, all positives. Win-win-win-win-win-win.

Sundog Organig Farm – Teaser


I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m producing a video project with Sundog Organic Farm that will span the next few years. I’ve been out there a few times lately to capture where their land, family, and heads are at, and wanted to put together a super-quick trailer to give folks involved [and you] a sense of the feel of where I’m headed with it at the moment. The feel might change, the post-audio will get done, and I’ll spend more than 15 minutes on the edit like I did on this tidbit – but I still think it gives you an idea what it might look like down the road.

It’s an interesting project – tracking somebody’s thoughts over a period of months and years. As a viewer the change over time is dramatic, but it seems to be unperceived by them as they toil and adapt to the constant change and challenge that is setting up their new farm. Thankfully the camera does its job at capturing those moments in time that are soon forgotten. I just hope I can do it justice in editing.

The final product is years out yet, but I’ll likely release tidbits here and there as things progress.

Enjoy the teaser.

Sundog Organic Farm – The Big Move


I spent a very cold but beautiful morning watching the sun rise over Sundog Organic Farm‘s new home a half hour or so northwest of the city. I was there to shoot photos and video for a project they asked me head up to document the journey of establishing their new organic vegetable farm – a multi-year project that I anticipate being rewarding for all parties involved.

The barren winter agricultural land was a poignant reminder how dramatically our food scene changes through the seasons. Currently: snow and frozen earth. And the gentle north-west wind is so damn cold that you hardly want to be outside. Yet in a few short months, it will be a green cornucopia of vegetable and fruit biodiversity, people, and healthful land stewardship resulting in good food for our community. I find people like this moving to places  like this to tackle agriculture differently inspiring. It takes balls.

When I shot their ‘From Local Farms’ episode back in the summer, Jenny and James were talking about the big move that was still in the works. They’re currently in the weeds of it, moving their life and family to this new piece of land that will support them moving forward. It’s manyfold larger in acreage, and will give them considerable opportunities for growth, practice of proper crop rotation and cover cropping, and will give them the space to set deep roots. Overwhelmed by potential, change, and hard work, it’s going to be an exciting  and exhausting year for these folks. More on this as winter lets go, and spring breathes life into the coming growing season.

From Local Farms – Sundog Organic Farm


Jenny’s visual arts background explained for me why their stall at the City Market is so darn eye appealing. The overall vibe compels you to stop for a look at the myriad of colors, shapes, textures, and artful display of it all. In my mind, these folks help fill an important void in our regional food culture, making a brilliant diversity of veg available to the masses. Not seeking the conventional, the easiest, the biggest, or the most shelf-stable, they get excited about the fragile, the tasty, and the different. Gardening has certainly taught me that many lovely taste experiences are missed simply because a variety doesn’t hold well in industrial distribution systems. One of the great advantages of buying local, fresh, organic produce from people like these guys is that you don’t need somebody else to decide which cultivar you’ll eat because it’s shelf-stable and we’re used to it – you can choose the cultivars you’ll eat because they’re exciting, healthful, and tasty.

Coming from a multi-generation history of local organic produce farming, Sundog Organic Farm seems to have quickly positioned themselves as an inspiring and key player in defining and enhancing the character of our local food.