Archive for the ‘Regional Food’ Category

Episode 27 – The Kill Floor


When I buy sides of pork and beef from local farmers, it is quite plainly illegal for them to be killed in an un-inspected environment. Consequently, farmers bring their meat animals to one of the local meat processors/abattoirs and for a very reasonable fee, the processor does what’s called a ‘kill & chill’. Under supervision of a provincial meat inspector, they do the kill, gutting, skinning [or scraping for pigs], and chilling of the carcass. It’s important work, and I’m guessing it’s work that most retail customers are

Abstinence & Seasonal Eating


Abstinence. As I get older I find the concept more and more intriguing.

I went through a stage of enjoying posh wines quite frequently. After some time, it took more and more to impress as posh wines became the norm. I found my enjoyment of them decreased, and it took more and more awesomeness to impress. Having noticed this taking place, I majorly backed away from posh wines, and now I find I enjoy them more when they do make an appearance. They’re special

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

Slow Food Edmonton Highbush Cranberry Foray


Headed out this evening to hit the urban bush with a bunch of Slow Food Edmonton members. I organized the event hoping it would be an easy, casusal way to get us like minded folk outdoors enjoying some wild food and good company – maybe even expose some folks to something new that grows in their own backyard. Turns out it was a success on all those fronts. Everybody went home with wild fruit this evening. Some folks will work with it in

Farm to Table w/ RGE RD & Nature’s Green Acres


Farm-to-table dining, while commonplace elsewhere, is still an extremely progressive concept in our restaurant scene. When one of the most well-respected chefs in the city, Blair Lebsack, mentioned he was going to tackle serving a multi-course dinner to 30-40 guests out in the cow pasture at Nature’s Green Acres, I wanted to be there.

I find in the food service industry, ‘Local‘ normally equates to an element, maybe two on the plate being local, and it’s usually a

Me + NAIT = ? [Part 1 of?]


So what’s the deal with me and NAIT’s culinary arts program?

Some faculty members seriously committed to bringing in far more local food to the program approached me to facilitate. I am not being paid by them. I’m doing what I can because I think it’s the right thing to do. That’s it. But that’s about where the simplicity of the situation ends.

Surprisingly, this is a potentially complex challenge. The school has been trying on various fronts and failing. Why? Because [forgive some

NAIT Shifting Focus to Local Food


Nope, not from my garden. Not wild. Not from my cellar, and not even from a local farm. But indirectly, entirely about the change in tide towards local food. How, you ask?

I was invited to this meal as a guest – and there’s no question it was expertly prepared by NAIT Culinary Arts students, under guidance of super-celeb-chef Susur Lee. Others have covered the lovely lunch experience here, here, and I’m sure elsewhere.

What’s interesting here to me is that

Alberta Avenue Farmer’s Market


Okay, so I was missing out. The City Market Downtown had closed for the season, and although Old Strathcona is an option for some farms, the long waiting list leaves the rest to sort themselves out. I really have a hard time getting my head around how farmer’s markets operate, to be honest. From what I can tell, politics, protectionism, and profit too often rule the day at the expense of mutual good not only in the farming community, but for our local food

From Local Farms – Sunworks Farm


My time with Ron Hamilton of Sunworks Farm left me drowning in fascinating content – making this the most challenging edit to date. Ron and Sheila have been at this game longer than all the others I’ve covered so far, and have achieved a level of success in the organics business that places them as leaders in their industry. Being the biggest also makes you a target for criticism, and it seems like one of the emerging local ethics-of-food debates is whether one can get