Thursday, August 15, 2013

Canadian Food Project - A Regional Food Hero

It would be cliché to say Marc Loiselle is outstanding in his field. But he definitely is. Marc is an organic farmer from Vonda, Saskatchewan, and passionate champion of the historic wheat called Red Fife.

Red Fife was bred on a farm near Peterborough, Ontario (by a farmer named Fife), and was so successful it spread across the North American plains. It was the first wheat grown by many of the settlers to Saskatchewan, my great great great grandfather among them.

Red Fife had all but disappeared but, thanks to Marc's persistence, it is now grown in such quantities that this heritage variety has been "saved" for future generations. It was the first Canadian entry in Slow Food's Ark of Taste and, in 2004, Marc presented Red Fife – in the form of bread – at the first Terra Madre symposium in Turin, Italy.

Red Fife has a loyal following among bakers who appreciate its strong nutty flavour. I appreciate it for the heritage it represents, the hopes and dreams of so many pioneers who settled the prairies, and the tenacity of outstanding farmers like Marc Loiselle.

Rhubarb Red Fife Muffins
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Red Fife whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups small chopped rhubarb
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Sift the flours, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Toss in the rhubarb. In another bowl, blend well the sugar and oil. Whisk in the egg, buttermilk and vanilla. Add the liquid mixture to the rhubarb mixture, stirring just until it is incorporated. Spoon the batter into a greased or lined muffin tin. Mix topping ingredients and sprinkle a bit on each muffin. Bake at 375F for about 20 minutes.

To learn more about Red Fife or to order some Red Fife grain/flour, visit the Loiselle farm website.

1 comment:

A Canadian Foodie said...

Marc certainly is a local food hero. I have had the pleasure of "meeting him" on the phone and through e-mail and eating his incredible red fife, too. I have also spoken with Sharon Remple, the "Grandmother of Red Fife" and have had a red fife tasting at the Slow Food National Conference in Edmonton. It is people like Marc that contribute to our local food community in such a significant fashion that preserve the foundation of our Canadian food culture. Really appreciate seeing Marc honoured here.