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

07.27.11

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 protein. ‘Seasonal‘ often really means, ‘seasonal somewhere’. Not here. The beef, pork, and chicken was from the farm, yes, but when the farm didn’t have enough garden to supply the dinner, Blair and Caitlin got out there and built and planted garden months in advance. They foraged nettle for one of the iced teas and the ice cream, and nicked edible flowers from farm yard to include in the menu. They made butter for bread and for the pastries in the desert course. Blair chased the pig into the trailer to haul off to the abattoir, and butchered it himself. They butchered chickens, made stock for the soup, and used the livers in a terrine. He even helped the farmer rip the ancient, neglected, wood burning stove out of one of the farm’s outbuildings so he could cook on it – the entire service being done over wood fire. Essentially, if it wasn’t from the farm or a neighbour, it wasn’t on the menu.

It was an epic evening for everyone involved, I think – certainly the kind of event you don’t soon forget, if ever. Keep an eye out for more from Blair and RGE RD [the name of his new venture], as this wasn’t a one-off. Perhaps farm-to-table has finally truly arrived.

11 Responses

  1. Carissa says:

    Wow, what a meal! Thanks for sharing.. especially the last shot of the burning 2×4 with merry laughter in the background. So familiar. :)

  2. Kevin!
    This is a fantastic movie! There is nothing like a movie – and your editing is brilliant.
    You captured the essence of this event and distilled it to glistening perfection in a few short minutes.
    Beautiful shots… wonderful memories – and Blair is so right. It does build a sense of community – and as you and I were saying yesterday – it makes us want to help. When you can see what he is doing – and what he is building… it doesn’t feel like a business. It feels like a movement… and I want to help!
    :)
    Valerie

  3. Debra Krause says:

    Sign me up for the next one! :) lol
    it’s wonderful to see a chef in Edmonton truly embracing farm-to-table cuisine.
    (and i’d take that stove for my backyard any day ;) )
    – Deb

  4. Corey McGuire says:

    Brilliant!

  5. Judy Z says:

    I’m dying to watch the video but all I have is a blank screen. Is it a problem with my system or yours? I’ve always been able to watch your videos previously but now they all come up as a blank black screen.

    Any way I am so jealous that I didn’t attend this dinner. It looks amazing from the photos. The stove reminds me of the one that was in our kitchen when I was a kid growing up. I’m not sure that it will be good for that stove to be left out of doors between feasts. I can see Blair having a booming business.

  6. Kevin says:

    Carissa – there’s something about fire, food, and good company that is for lack of a better term, magical.
    Valerie – video can indeed be shockingly effective at bringing one back to the moment, and I’m glad this one did the job!
    Debra – I highly encourage you to check out the next one if you can, and I agree – nice to see our scene evolving in the right direction.
    Corey – thanks, but you guys did the real work.
    Judy – Hm. I think that issue is on your end. I’m pretty sure they put the stove gear away. ;)

  7. [...] knew we missed out on a great dinner: check out Valerie and Kevin’s recaps on the fabulous dinner at Nature’s Green [...]

  8. [...] last farm-to-table dinner I attended was a resounding success, and I’m not surprised Blair and his crew have done a few of these [...]

  9. [...] stressed by being trucked around to auctions and feedlots prior to slaughter. I’ve spent a good amount of time in the pasture where this cow lived, and know the farmers well. I’m not sure what else I [...]

  10. [...] stressed by being trucked around to auctions and feedlots prior to slaughter. I’ve spent a good amount of time in the pasture where this cow lived, and know the farmers well. I’m not sure what else I [...]

  11. [...] stressed by being trucked around to auctions and feedlots prior to slaughter. I’ve spent a good amount of time in the pasture where this cow lived, and know the farmers well. I’m not sure what else I [...]

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