Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ply me with lemons...

I do a bit of public speaking and, for that, I am often rewarded with a special gift. But few gifts could be as rare and special as this collection of Saskatchewan-grown lemons (and one lime) presented to me at the Saskatchewan Food Summit earlier this month.

The lemons were grown by my friend Nair -- carefully bred and selected to produce bush lemons that grow indoors in low-light prairie conditions. Check out the labels -- the one called "Centurion" will be released to the public to mark the centennial of the University of Saskatchewan next year. And a sour time was had by all...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Raw Food, Local-Style

Food and my home town. What a great combination! I was honoured to be included at a special dinner at the Craik Eco-Centre on Sunday. Chef Moe Mathieu and his crew of culinary students created a fabulous, colourful, local, raw meal. That's right -- from golden beets to ground beef -- quite uncooked.

It was the final of 13 dinners organized by SOD (Saskatchewan Organic Directorate) to showcase the local and particularly organic bounty of Saskatchewan. The series called Dine with the Stars features chefs, farmers and Saskatchewan celebrities.

Now, the 13 dinners are being crafted into 13 video episodes, coming soon to a TV or computer screen near you. Check the SOD website for further details.

Chef Moe (second from left) with his talented students!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cheese Please

Finally, I got my hands on some of the lovely cheeses made by Chapel Cheese of Ravenscrag, down in southwest Saskatchewan. Thanks to a chain of hand-delivery (3 degrees of separation from the farm) I sampled the Heritage Havarti and Coulee Caerphilly last night.

Here they are pictured with charcuterie from Pulvermacher Butchers in Bruno and Model Meats in Watrous. I'm a huge fan of Pulvermachers pepperoni (on the left).

At Chapel Cheese, Jim's herd of heritage breed cows will begin milking again soon, so there'll be a new batch of cheese to sample. I smell a road trip on the horizon...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Saskatchewan Fruit

I've been trying to list all the fruits grown in Saskatchewan, so here's a new one: goji berry. It's a super healthy berry from China and Tibet. My friend Nair is growing goji berries on his acreage south of Saskatoon. His goji berry and mango jam is delicious.

 There, another berry ticked off my list!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Locally Grown in Watrous - March 24

Locally Grown
March 24 - 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Watrous Curling Rink
Information to help you respond to the demand for locally grown food:
“Food Centre Programs and Resources” - Erin Hiebert, Coordinator, HACCP Development Program, Saskatchewan Food and Industry Development Centre Inc
“Develop an Entrepreneurial Skill Set” - Monica Kreuger, Praxis School of Entrepreneurship
“Gaining Perspective: Local Food and Market Claims” - Chantal Jacobs, Provincial Specialist, Organic Crop Production, Ministry of Agriculture
“SAVI: Funding for Agri-Value Business” - Francine Brule, Provincial Business Management Specialist, Ministry of Agriculture
“Farm Gate to My Plate: Feeding the Appetite for Local Food” - Amy Jo Ehman, Author of Prairie Feast
“Farmers Markets” - Deb Claude, Saskatoon Farmers Market
“Financing for Your Business – Understanding How Your Bank Can Help You Grow” - Stacey Markowsky, Royal Bank of Canada
“Fruits and Vegetables for the Prairie Climate and Indoor Citrus & Fruit Trees” - M.P.M. Nair, Indoor-Citrus Breeder and Master Gardener
Please pre-register before March 21 by calling (306) 946-3220
Registration $35.00 A delicious lunch featuring locally grown products will be served.
Delivered by Saskatchewan Agriculture in partnership with the Nokomis Agricultural Society Inc.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

New Beer in Town

I had a chance to sample a new Saskatchewan brew last night. It's a Belgian type made locally by the Shiny Penny Brewery, a new venture by two local beer connoisseurs, Chloe Smith and Cedric Dauchot (who hails from Belgium).

They plan to open the Shiny Penny Brew Pub in Saskatoon later this year. Keep tabs on their progress on their facebook page. Can't wait!!

Local yogurt, please

Can’t get to the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market for locally-made yogurt? Here’s a great option: Dairyland’s Saskatoon Berry Yogurt. It's made in Saskatoon with milk from Saskatchewan cows.

This yogurt was the inspiration of Sandy Purdy, owner of Prairie Berries saskatoon berry orchard at Keeler, Saskatchewan. It includes saskatoons from several orchards and is for sale across Western Canada in stores that carry the Dairyland brand. (Co-op)  

“Yogurt is a healthy food and berries are healthy, so we thought, if we pair berries with yogurt we’d have a really healthy food,” says Sandy.

Last year, she stepped into the Dragon’s Den on CBC television and came away with a financial offer to help market saskatoon berries further afield. The broadcast garnered a lot of interest from across Canada (and even the United States) which she is hoping to parlay into deals with more food companies, including Dannon, the world’s largest yogurt maker.

Good luck, Sandy!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Yogurt at the farmers' market

Love berries? Love yogurt? You'll really love this creamy berry yogurt available at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market.

Gerry Hounjet makes the yogurt using live yogurt cultures and locally-grown berries, including saskatoon berries from the family orchard at Grandora. There are 15 different flavours and flavour combinations, including mixed berries, vanilla and good old plain.
The sugar free yogurt is sweetened with stevia. 

Gerry sells about 300 containers of various sizes per week. You’ll see lots of folks, especially children, spooning down the small personal sized yogurt for a market breakfast.

So, what’s his most popular flavour? “I’d like to say saskatoon berry because we grow them ourselves,” says Gerry, “but honestly, sour cherry takes preference.”