Monday, April 30, 2012

Flavourful Saskatoon, April 30, 2012

Foodie news and events in and around Saskatoon – an edible alphabet, German wine, a farmers’ market in Hafford, Chef Jenni Rinnovo, and more

Foodshed, May 3 & 10
dee Hobsbawn-Smith and Dave Margoshes will be reading from their newest books on Thursday, May 3, at 7:30 pm at Atlantis Coffee, Regina, and on Thursday, May 10, at 7:30 pm at McNally Robinson in Saskatoon.

Foodshed: An Edible Alberta Alphabet by dee Hobsbawn-Smith introduces readers to 75 of Alberta’s farmers and producers, from asparagus growers to zizania cultivators. Hobsbawn-Smith, a chef and slow food advocate, also discusses some of the issues faced by modern farmers.

Foodshed is an important addition to the discussion around local food. I am so pleased that dee now lives near Saskatoon and will be lending a hand in establishing a Slow Food convivium in Saskatoon.

A Book of Great Worth by Dave Margoshes is a collection of scenes set among the Jewish community of inter-war New York City.

Friday Lunch Buffets, Saskatoon Farmers’ Market
The Friday lunch buffets offered by Garlic Guru and Riverbend Plantation at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market are back starting May 4. The full menu is available on the Garlic Guru’s website, but they promise lots of options for both vegetarians and carnivores.

Winemaker Dinner, May 26
Saskatoon POW City Kinsmen is hosting a winemaker dinner with German winemaker, Johannes Selbach, on Saturday, May 26, at the Prairieland Exhibition Park. Johannes will speak briefly to each of his wines, which include 3 different Rieslings and a Pinot Blanc (distributed by Doug Reichel of Fine Wines Sask). Tickets are available online from Picatic.

The Selbach Riesling Spatlese was a huge hit at Axon Development Corporation’s wine tasting last year.

Fresh at SaskMade Marketplace
SaskMade Marketplace is now carrying fresh produce. They currently have fresh cucumbers, green peppers, salad mix, arugula, basil, dill, cilantro and sorrel. And soon we can expect fresh fiddleheads and wild mushrooms.

Hafford Farmers’ Market
If you live near Hafford, you will be delighted to learn that the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve is organizing a weekly community farmers’ market at the Ukrainian National Hall in Hafford. It will be held one Saturday a month from 10 am to 5 pm (June 9, July 7, August 18, September 8, October 6).

Everybody is invited to participate with fresh garden produce, jams and preserves, eggs, honey, baked goods, or art. Contact Rachel to register (549-4060,

Chef Jenni – Rinnovo
If you were looking for great food in rural Saskatchewan, New Ground Café in Birch Hills was the place to go. Chef Jenni served creative dishes prepared from local, seasonal food. The restaurant is now closed, and Chef Jenni is focusing on catering, speaking, writing and a series of 12 food, music and art events to be held in unique venues across Saskatchewan from April to December 2012.

May 26 – Hazeldell Community Hall (across the river from Prince Albert) – a 3-course meal infused with spring’s earliest offerings

June 16 – Kerry Vickar Centre, Melfort – all things rhubarb (plus Saskatoon’s own Carrie Catherine)

The tour will also visit La Ronge, Saskatoon, Waskesiu, Bruno, and Regina. Events will be posted on Chef Jenni’s website.

Processing SK Fruit
The Food Centre has received provincial funding for juice processing equipment to provide further opportunities for the Saskatchewan fruit industry.

Bringing Eat Alberta to Saskatoon
Edmonton bloggers and local food enthusiasts organized the second annual Eat Alberta conference on April 14. It sounds like it was a huge success (here's one account on Only Here for the Food). Over 100 people participated in over 15 different sessions, ranging from cheesemaking and knife skills to sourdough breadmaking and spring rolls.

Calgary Eats!, organized by the Calgary Food Committee, was a one-day event with speakers and display booths designed to promote local food and share ideas on building a sustainable food system. Approximately 1000 people participated.

Contact me ( if you would be interested in organizing a similar event in Saskatoon.

Food Trucks
Food trucks are clean and they don’t take business away from restaurants – Toronto shows us how it can be done in Saskatoon.

Carrots and Politics
Carrots used to be purple, yellow and white. Then politics got in the way, and the Dutch started promoting orange carrots in honour of their ruler, William of Orange.

Slow Food Canada Here I Come! 
I leave on Wednesday, May 2, for the Slow Food Canada national meeting in Edmonton. I am super excited about this opportunity to meet other slow food advocates.

My thanks again to my four sponsors: DayBreak Mill, Earth Bound Bakery, Loiselle Organic Family Farm, and my Mystery Sponsor (Don't you wonder who they are? I hope to fill you in shortly!).

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook where I’ll be posting photographs from the farm tour, the market tour, the gala dinners, and more.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Flavourful Saskatoon, April 23

Foodie news and events in and around Saskatoon – from cream horns and candied nuts, to perogies, chocolate, and urban agriculture 

A Taste of Italy, April 27
Join Mike Stiles, your charming, knowledgeable host at Souleio’s monthly wine tastings, and enjoy a Taste of Italy from 6-9 pm on April 27.

Station 20 West
Support Station 20 West by purchasing Foodstock Lottery Tickets. They are $20 each, and the top prize is a Chevy Silverado Truck and trailer. Second prize is two plane tickets anywhere in Canada and there are also six hotel and restaurant packages as prizes. The draw will be held on November 2.

Great Perogie Challenge
Rumour has it that YDC and Three Sisters/Nestor’s Bakery are out to break a Guinness world record this week. If you would like to make or eat perogies, check out the Saskatoon Great Perogie Challenge Facebook page.

Food and the City 
I highly recommend reading Food and the City by Edmonton author, Jennifer Cockrall-King. Cockrall-King explores urban agriculture initiatives around the world – from a winery in Kings Cross, London, England to a 30,000 square foot rooftop greenhouse in Montreal, Quebec.

The resource page on Cockrall-King’s website will give you a good idea of the breadth of the book.

Sweet Treats 
After you’ve picked up some fresh veggies, be sure and check out some of the sweet treats at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market.

A new vendor is selling cream horns, multi-layered tortes and more. Linda Marie’s Gourmet Toffee has candied nuts, ice cream toppings and toffee. Wild Serendipity Foods has macarons and Texas pralines. (see photos)

Jungle Chocolate
The Nature Conservancy is working with local residents of the Brazilian Amazon to switch from ranching to growing jungle crops, such as cacoa.

On a similar parcel of land, “the cattle could bring in about $2,500 per year while the cacao would bring in about $10,000 per year. And with cacao, the farmer also gets other products from the shade trees, like açai and other fruits, Brazil nuts, rubber, and wood.” In addition, this type of farming restores the damage caused by deforestation in a relatively short period of time.

Career Options: Cheesemonger 
If you love cheese, maybe you would like to become a cheesemonger. Here’s one woman’s account of her profession.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products.

Follow me on Twitter, like the Wanderlust Facebook page, or subscribe to Wanderlust and Words by email (top right-hand corner) to stay on top of Saskatoon’s evolving food culture.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Prairie Infusions

Non-Timber Forest Products – a Rich, Renewable Resource 

Elisabeth Poscher and Harold Wudkevich moved to the Nipawin area in 2009. The local economy was struggling, but the region’s natural beauty was stunning, and Elisabeth was sure that if they looked long enough, they would find local employment opportunities.

And they did, but not in an office or any other man-made setting. Instead, they spend their days tramping through the nearby provincial forests harvesting the mushrooms, plants, and berries that grow in undiscovered abundance, passing them on to consumers through their brand-new business, Prairie Infusions.

Treasure Hunt
Elisabeth is originally from Austria. She trained as an Arid Lands Resource Scientist at the University of Arizona, but she soon moved north because she missed the seasons. She worked with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Swift Current for three years before moving to Nipawin.

Elisabeth’s science background comes in handy when she is researching the habits and habitat of the local plants and mushrooms in order to track them down. Winters are spent foraging for balsam poplar buds (massage oils, healing salves), chaga (a mushroom growing on birch trees that can be ground into a powder for tea) and bottling the birch syrup they harvested earlier in the year. In the spring, there are fresh, green fiddleheads and morel mushrooms, while summer brings chanterelle and matsutake mushrooms, and heaping baskets full of wild berries – blueberries, high-bush cranberries, lingonberries, chokecherries, pincherries, and Saskatoon berries.

All the foraged products are found deep in the provincial forests, miles away from agricultural land. “These are our local, completely uncontaminated resources,” Elisabeth exclaims. “We are so lucky that we have this food right in our backyard. It’s unfortunate that most of it is taken out of the province and sold around the world.”

Elisabeth emphasizes that they walk everywhere and do not use an ATV or any other motorized vehicle that could harm the fragile forest floor.

They obtain permits from the provincial Ministry of the Environment for each product, stating the quantity and the location.

Wild & Healthy
Prairie Infusions was created two years ago, and they are currently selling their products through SaskMade Marketplace in Saskatoon. The product line continues to expand. First to appear were the dried mushrooms and frozen berries. Last year they added birch syrup and frozen fiddleheads. This year there will be single-herb tisanes made from fruit, leaves, or bark. Fresh fiddleheads and mushrooms will also be available in season.

“The flavour of wild plants is so much more intense,” Elisabeth says. “The full flavour is a side benefit of the phytochemicals wild plants produce, perhaps to protect themselves or else to attract animals for pollination and seed dispersal.”

Birch syrup should not be compared to maple syrup as it has its own distinctive flavour. The Prairie Infusions’ website says it has a rich, spicy-sweet taste that resembles molasses, honey, licorice, and caramel, all at once. Elisabeth says some people take a spoonful a day as medicine as it’s been found to be beneficial for skin health as well as in treating arthritis, cramps, and muscular pain.

Mushroom Fantasies & Frustrations
I’ve gone mushroom picking, and it’s such a treat to find the fantastically-shaped fungi peeking out from beneath dried leaves and grass. Europeans have a long history of foraging and eating wild mushrooms, but North Americans are often intimidated and afraid that the mushrooms will be poisonous. It’s a great shame as mushrooms are extremely healthy and flavourful.

“The Saskatchewan chanterelle is the perfection of a chanterelle,” Elisabeth says. “It has a golden colour, a scent that resembles pine needles and apricots, a mild to peppery flavour, a low moisture content, and a firm texture that stands up well to cooking. Our Prairie climate and the vast expanses of untouched wilderness in northern Saskatchewan provide the optimal environmental conditions.”

Society’s ambiguity about wild mushrooms spills over into the commercial arena. Prairie Infusions is restricted to selling their wild-harvested mushrooms through retail stores as public health regulations prohibit selling them at farmers’ markets or directly to restaurants in Saskatchewan.

“I find it strange, even offensive,” Elisabeth says. “Wild-harvested mushrooms are sold to markets and high-end restaurants around the world – but not in Saskatchewan.”

Non-Timber Forest Products 
Canadian timber has been a valued economic resource for many, many years. And yet, we ignore or underestimate the value of non-timber forest products, as a source of food and income. Non-timber forest products generate $7.4 billion annually and, unlike timber, they are a renewable resource that can be harvested every year.

Elisabeth believes that both timber and non-timber products can be productively harvested from our forests, but there needs to be effective communications between the two industries. We shouldn’t sacrifice renewable non-timber forest products for the sake of short-term gain through timber sales.

The Nipawin community is particularly concerned about plans to clearcut the Torch River Provincial Forest as it is one of the main harvesting areas for chanterelle mushrooms. Even a partial clearcut could destroy the mushroom habitat as the big equipment would have a serious impact on the forest floor where the mushrooms grow.

Making a Life
Prairie Infusions is a small company, and they want to stay that way. They depend on helpers during the peak of the blueberry and chanterelle seasons but otherwise do all the harvesting and packaging themselves.

“We are not simply trying to make a living,” Elisabeth says. “We’re trying to make a whole life for ourselves and for our local community by recreating what we think jobs and society should look like.”

Elisabeth and Harold grow a large garden, preserve food through canning and drying, hunt, fish, and gather in order to keep their carbon footprint as low as possible. “We’re modern day hunters and gatherers.”

“Every region has its own wild non-timber forest products,” Elisabeth says. “We’re opening up possibilities for other businesses in other places.”

Additional information about non-timber forest products is available from the Non-Timber Forest Products Network of Canada.

Further information about Prairie Infusions can be found in the April issue of SaskMade Marketplace’s newsletter.

Photos by Elisabeth Poscher

Monday, April 16, 2012

Flavourful Saskatoon, April 16, 2012

Foodie news and events in and around Saskatoon – sweet successes, mad city chickens, sommeliers and entrepreneurs 

Congratulations to Renee Kohlman, aka sweetsugarbean, on being recognized by The National Post as one of Canada’s best food bloggers!

City Perks
City Perks Coffee Shop on 7th Avenue just keeps getting better and better.

Coffee lovers will be happy to hear that they have a new espresso machine – a Rancilio Classe 8. They are serving organic, free trade coffee and hope to soon set aside one day a week when they will feature small roasteries with coffee that isn’t available anywhere else in Saskatoon.

They are currently selling packages of Mountain View coffee from Alberta, which is not only TransFair Canada licensed and Rainforest Alliance Certified but bullfrog powered with 100% green electricity. Leven’s Coffee is currently working on an exclusive City Perks blend.

City Perks has hired a baker, Lyssa, to help them keep up with the demand for fresh-baked goodies and hope to soon be making their own bread products. They’ve switched from oil to apple sauce in most of their muffins, and the low-fat muffin is a huge favourite and deserves a better name – so there’s a contest starting this week on Facebook.

All the ToGo supplies are made of biodegradable tater ware and so are the garbage bags. There’s music every Sunday afternoon and a knitting group on Friday evenings.

I’m heading over there for lunch today. I may have to try the “crazy pizza bread” along with a bowl of soup. But then again, maybe I’ll have a quiche or sandwich – so many choices!

City Perks is open from 7 am to 10 pm Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 6 pm on Saturdays and from 9 am to 6 pm on Sundays.

Environmental Film Festival, April 20-22
The SEN Environmental Film Festival will be playing at the Roxy Theatre from April 20-22. Of particular interest to foodies are: To Make a Farm (5 young SK people decide to become small-scale farmers), Food Security Shorts and Mad City Chickens.

Sommelier Course
Cava Wines & Spirits will be presenting a Level 1 International Sommeliers Guild course. The six-week course is tentatively scheduled to begin on May 22. Email Cava for additional information.

Community Supported Agriculture
CSAs in Europe: France's small-scale organic farmers celebrate 10 years of boxing clever 

There's still time to buy a share in Wally's Urban Market Garden. Provide support up front when they're purchasing seeds and reap the benefits with a year-round credit. Contact Wally at for more information.

Young Entrepreneurs
Do you know someone who is under 30 and owns their own business? FuEL Awards, sponsored by KPMG Enterprise and PROFIT Magazine, celebrate the successes of young Canadian entrepreneurs.

Nomination and application details are available on the FuEL website. The application deadline is June 30, 2012. (via BJ - thanks!)

EcoFriendly Action Grants
EcoFriendly Sask is offering small monthly grants to support concrete, tangible environmental projects in Saskatchewan (this would include food security and some gardening projects).  

Queen City Supper Club 
A supper club is just getting off the ground in Regina. The initial idea is for 6-12 people to take turns hosting a dinner for the group.

The initiator is suggesting that they function as a non-profit with donations going to a charity chosen by the host each month.

Facebook Wanderlust
I’ve set up a Facebook page for Wanderlust and Words. Like it and join the conversation.

Photos are of City Perks.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products.

Follow me on Twitter, like the Wanderlust Facebook page, or subscribe to Wanderlust and Words by email (top right-hand corner) to stay on top of Saskatoon’s evolving food culture.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Canada's Heritage Wheat: Part Two

The Red Fife Community: Marc Loiselle and the Reintroduction of Red Fife 

“There are about 200,000 varieties of bread type wheats in the global shopping basket of genetic resources and yet only a few genetic lines of wheat feed the world. . . . We don’t need a test tube to create ‘new’ varieties, only a willingness to explore the diversity that already exists in the world.” (Sharon Rempel) 

A Family Farm
Marc Loiselle’s ancestors moved from Quebec to southern Manitoba, south of Brandon, at the end of the 19th century. But the land was poor and better suited for grazing, so in 1904, Marc’s great great grandfather headed west to look for better land.

Vonda, Saskatchewan, a newly-established community with a church and a school, appeared to offer increased opportunities. The Loiselle family, along with six or seven other families, rented a CN train, loaded all their belongings on board, and moved to Vonda.

The Loiselle family settled and became active members of the church and community. Five generations later, they are one of the only families that has maintained a continuous presence in the community. They have always grown wheat on their farm, which was first certified organic in 1985.

Parable of the Three Talents
Various individuals (Jim Ternier, Dan Jason, Sharon Rempel) have played an important role in preserving heritage seeds, such as Red Fife, but it had ceased to be grown commercially. Jim Ternier challenged some of his farming friends to reintroduce Red Fife. Lionel Blais took up the challenge on a small scale, trucking the wheat flour to Granville Island Market to sell.

When he retired from farming, Lionel gave bags of Red Fife to three other farmers. One farmer milled it and made bread, while the second saved it but didn’t grow it as he was concerned that he would get into trouble for growing an unregistered variety. Marc Loiselle, however, sowed six acres of Red Fife in 2001. Fortunately, he saved a third of his crop for seed as his second crop in 2002 was almost wiped out by weather, disease and insects. He started over again in 2003, and this time he was more successful.

Community of Bakers 
In 2003, Marc took Red Fife to Terra Madre, an international Slow Food conference that is held biannually. Red Fife is now part of the Slow Food Ark of Taste, an international catalogue of foods that are threatened by industrial agriculture, standardization and global food markets.

Marc was accompanied by Cliff Leir, a baker from Victoria, BC, who was one of the very first to start making and selling bread from Red Fife wheat.

Since that time, the number of farmers and bakers working with Red Fife has expanded across Canada and around the world. In Saskatoon, Earthbound Bakery, Christie’s Bakery and Three Sisters/Nestor’s all use Red Fife wheat. British Columbia has been a strong market for Red Fife. La Boulangerie Fol Epi and Wildfire Bakery in Victoria, True Grain Bakery in Cowichan (with outlets in Mill Bay and soon in Summerland) and Kootenay Bakery in Nelson have all bought Red Fife wheat from Marc and all continue to bake bread made from heritage grains.

Red Fife is now grown in Mendocino County, California (an important wheat-growing area in the 1800s), in South Carolina (Anson Mills) where it is grown as a winter wheat, and in France and Great Britain (Sheep Drove Farm). The Maritimes Heritage Wheat Project reintroduced wheat in Nova Scotia in 1998. A farmer in Manitoba is sowing 10 acres of Red Fife and plans to work the fields with horses.

“We’ve supplied enough commercial seed that we’ve worked ourselves out of a seed market, for Ontario in particular,” Marc Loiselle says. He remains, however, at the heart of the Red Fife community, a small group of farmers and bakers with whom Marc has shared his knowledge and commitment.

Valuing Diversity
Heritage seed varieties, such as Red Fife, have value far beyond their history. Red Fife has a different protein structure than modern commercial wheat, so people with gluten intolerancies have found that they can enjoy Red Fife products.

The wheat has a distinctive colour and flavour that is appreciated by artisan bakers, and Nova Scotia farmers have found that Red Fife, unlike many standard wheats, tolerates the damp Maritime climate and greater risk of disease.

Nunweiler’s Flour Company mills and distributes Marc’s wheat. You can also purchase red fife from Daybreak Scheresky Mill.

Red fife flour is different from standard flours. Marc’s advice is to avoid adding too much flour. The dough should remain sticky, and you’ll need to oil your hands to work with it. However, this isn’t an issue if you’re making sourdough.

See also:
Part One: The History of Canadian Wheat
Mixing Up Change: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (Cliff Leir’s account of baking with Red Fife)
Boulangerie Fol Epi, Victoria
Daybreak Scheresky Mill, Saskatchewan
Earth Bound Bakery, Saskatoon
Three Sisters/Nestor’s Bakery, Saskatoon
True Grain Bakery and the Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island
Wildfire Bakery, Victoria

My thanks to Loiselle Organic Family Farm for helping to sponsor my participation in the Slow Food Canada National Meeting, May 3-6, 2012.

Photo credit: Loiselle Organic Family Farm website

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Heritage Wheat: The Red Fife Community

Part One: The History of Canadian Wheat 

“History... celebrates the battlefields whereon we meet our death, but scorns to speak of the ploughed whereby we thrive; it knows the names of the king's bastards, but cannot tell us the origin of wheat. That is the way of human folly.” (Jean-Henri Fabre) 

Fishermen not Farmers
Wheat is one of the cornerstones of the Canadian economy and the Prairie culture. And yet I know next to nothing about it. Fortunately, Stephan Symko has prepared an extensive document on its history, published by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

According to From a single seed: Tracing the Marquis wheat success story in Canada to its roots in the Ukraine, the earliest record of wheat cultivation in Western Canada is connected to the arrival of the Selkirk settlers in 1812.

This small group of pioneers arrived from Scotland with the help of Lord Selkirk to colonize the 160,000 square miles of territory granted to him by the Hudson's Bay Company. 

The first group of 22 settlers came to the area where the Red River meets the Assiniboine on 30 August 1812 and planted the winter wheat they had brought with them from Scotland. In the spring of 1813 they also planted spring wheat of the same origin. In the fall of that year the settlers, whose number had grown to 100, reaped a very poor harvest from that first planting. 

In a letter to Lord Selkirk dated 17 July 1813 and preserved in the National Archives in Ottawa, Miles Macdonell, the governor of the settlement, writes: "The winter wheat crop was completely wasted because it was planted too late. The same thing happened with the spring wheat, pea and English barley crops." . . .Their luck was no better the next year: the harvest of 1814 also failed. However, the persistent Scotsmen did not give up and their third attempt to grow wheat resulted in a decent harvest. . . .

The first two bad harvests had been caused by inexperience: these settlers had been fishermen in Scotland, not grain farmers. They did not have a single plough or harrow among them. They worked the soil with hoes.

Dear Spring Wheat
In the 1800s, there were no large multinationals selling a limited selection of seeds. Instead, each group of settlers brought seed stock with them from their homeland. And there were plenty of choices. According to Sharon Rempel, who has studied and grown heritage wheats for many years, there are about 200,000 varieties of wheat that can be made into bread.

One of the earliest varieties to be grown in North America was Red Fife. Its history is a romantic blend of fact, myth and legend. It was called Red Fife (or Scotch Fife) because of its colour and after David Fife, an Ontario farmer who, in 1842, was the first person to grow it in North America.

Here is one tale of how he obtained the seed:

David Fife did not send for the seed. An acquaintance, strolling along the dock at Glasgow, found men unloading wheat. He knew that Fife had emigrated to Canada, and he also knew of a mutual friend who proposed to go out to the new country presently. 

The thought struck him to take a sample of the wheat which to his observation looked very good, and send it to Fife. He had nothing in which to hold the wheat, but there was a hole in the lining of his cap. He opened the lining at the hole, filled in a handful, and afterwards wrapped it up in paper. 

Fife received the seed and planted it. It all grew but rusted badly, except five heads, all from one stalk or root. Two of these heads were eaten by oxen leaving only three heads. The great probability is that the single grain from which the three heads grew was an accidental hybrid.

Another historian notes that “Mrs Fife is entitled to share in her husband's honor, for, discovering the family cow contentedly making a meal of the growing clump of grain, she was in time to rescue a portion of it before it was too late."

The shipload of wheat in the Glasgow port came from Danzig, Poland (now Gdansk), and historians believe that Red Fife is a descendant of the Ukrainian Halychanka variety. This wheat has a long tradition in Poland. It’s referred to in folk songs as “dear spring wheat” and viewed as a symbol of household happiness and prosperity.

Research and Experimentation 
Red Fife grew well on the Prairie grasslands, and Canada swiftly became the bread basket of the world. Experimentation began to develop new and improved varieties of wheat.

In 1904, Red Fife was crossed with Hard Red Calcutta, an early-ripening Indian wheat, to produce Marquis. Marquis quickly attracted attention in every wheat-growing country. It ripened earlier than Red Fife (an important factor on the Prairies) and had a high yield.

The search would continue for bigger and better varieties of wheat, but nowadays the circle is closing as more and more people recognize the value of heritage wheat.

See also: 
Part Two: Marc Loiselle: The Reintroduction of Red Fife

My thanks to Loiselle Organic Family Farm for sponsoring my participation in the Slow Food Canada National Meeting, May 3-6, 2012.

Photo credit: Loiselle Organic Family Farm website

Quotes: From a single seed: Tracing the Marquis wheat success story in Canada to its roots in the Ukraine

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Flavourful Saskatoon, April 9, 2012

Foodie news and events in and around Saskatoon – Pumpkin seeds, gala dinners, craft wine, and food security

I’ve set up a Facebook page for Wanderlust and Words. I hope you'll like it and join the conversation.

Cece, Innovation Place
Cece (chickpea in Italian) is a new Italian themed eatery in the Concourse at Innovation Place, Saskatoon. The menu includes a daily chickpea soup, salads, panini, and pizza.

Spring Market Dinner, April 22
Weczeria is holding a Spring Market Dinner on April 22. Chefs will shop at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market and prepare a 5-course meal. Tickets are $85 (including wine) and are available at Weczeria.

Habitat for Humanity Gala Dinner, May 3
Support Habitat for Humanity by attending their Annual Gala Dinner on May 3 at the Delta Bessborough. Enjoy a 5-course meal prepared by Chef Ryan Marquis, a talk by Betty Ann Heggie, and a live auction.

Styrian Pumpkin Seeds
I’ve complained in the past about only being able to buy pumpkin seeds from China. Steep Hill Co-op is now sourcing Styrian pumpkin seeds from Austria. Styrian pumpkin seeds are dark coloured and hull-less.

Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of protein, B and E vitamins, minerals, and Omega-3. Folk medicine suggests that Styrian pumpkin seeds are useful in the prevention and treatment of bladder and prostate problems.

SK Chefs Go Back to School
Three Saskatchewan chefs are completing their Certified Chef de Cuisine designation from the Canadian Culinary Institute.

Doug Hyndford, Saskatoon Inn, Trevor Robertson, Radisson Hotel, Saskatoon, and Milton Rebello, Hotel Saskatchewan, Regina, are working on the practical and theoretical exams that focus on inventory, nutrition, HR, culinary skills, flavour profiles, food costs and food usage. (via Jenn Sharp, Bridges)

Craft Wine
Craft beer makers have established a loyal following by working together and promoting a set of shared principles. Craft beer: What the wine industry can learn from craft beer looks at ways in which independent, small-to-medium-sized wine producers can learn from their example.

Achieving Food Security
The international Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change was convened in 2011 to identify practical, evidence-based policy actions to achieve food security in the context of climate change.

Their report, Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate Change puts forward seven recommendations for comprehensive policies and integrated information systems, increased investment in sustainable agriculture, reshaping food access and consumption patterns, helping those most vulnerable to climate change, and reducing loss and waste in food systems.

Shit Foodies Say
And finally, for those of you who think I take food far too seriously, a video:

Shit Foodies Say from Louder Than 11 on Vimeo.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products.

Follow me on Twitter, like the Wanderlust Facebook page, or subscribe to Wanderlust and Words by email (top right-hand corner) to stay on top of Saskatoon’s evolving food culture.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Flavourful Saskatoon, April 2, 2012

Foodie news and events in and around Saskatoon – perogie world record, olive oil scandals, food futures, edible campus 

Executive Chef Dinner, April 19
Trevor Robertson, Executive Chef at the Radisson Hotel and the Bronze Medal prize winner in the 2011 Saskatchewan Gold Medal Plates, will be serving a multi-course dinner at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market on April 19.

It’s a great opportunity for foodie friends to enjoy and learn some new techniques.

Great Perogie Challenge, April 23-30
The Youth Development Corporation (YDC), in partnership with Three Sisters/Nestor’s Bakery hopes to set a world record by making perogies 24 hours a day for one week (April 23-30).

They need help – money, donation of materials, labour (perogie pinchers) and customers to buy and eat the perogies. Funds raised will help YDC establish an independent high school. Sign up for the Great Perogie Challenge on Facebook.

Pasteurization Course, April 23-24
The Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre is offering a two-day Pasteurization Course on April 23 and 24.

Caffe Sola
Caffe Sola is now open until 9 pm every Thursday. Great opportunity to check out their awesome food and drinks with lots of vegetarian and gluten-free options. You can follow Caffe Sola on Twitter.

Crave Cookies and Cupcakes
Crave Cookies and Cupcakes will be featuring carrot cupcakes in April – made with carrots from Simpkins Market Garden (Saskatoon Farmers’ Market).

University of Regina Edible Garden
The University of Regina is adding a new garden plot to its edible campus. Vegetables are donated to help feed residents in need.

The Future of Food
Four Futures of Food, published by the Institute for the Future, outlines four possible future scenarios by 2021.
Growth: “Consumers can get practically anything they want, whenever they want, and without much concern for cost.”
Constraint: “A food poisoning outbreak triggers massive loss of confidence in internationally traded food and meat, as the global rallying cry becomes ‘Know your farmer. Eat local. Eat plants.’ ”
Collapse: Previously ignored stresses on pollinator bee populations cross a critical threshold to cause widespread crop failure and scarcity.
Transformation: People embrace lab-grown meats and domestic 3D-food printers which are networked to share recipes. Food supply chains and restaurants are reinvented.

Peg City Grub
Tourism Winnipeg has launched a food blog to help promote their city.

Most Sustainable US Restaurant
The Grey Plume in Omaha, Nebraska has been rated the most sustainable restaurant in the US. It excels in the areas of physical structure, water, energy, recycling, pollution and chemical reduction, and in the use of disposable materials that are biodegradable, recycled or compostable.

Extra Virginity 
I have just finished reading Extra Virginity: The sublime and scandalous world of olive oil, and I am horrified by the amount of fraud. The market is drowning in cheap oil that is being sold as if it is extra virgin olive oil: it may not be made from olives and it could contain harmful chemicals.

I think I’ll stick to Three Farmers Camelina Oil in future as not only is it grown in Saskatchewan, but you can identify exactly whose farm it comes from.

Semana Santa 
I was in Spain for Semana Santa last year – what fun!
Semana Santa Processions - Jumilla & Valencia

Photos: Spanish Wine and Tapas at Souleio Foods, March 30, 2012

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products.

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