Monday, November 5, 2012

Flavourful Saskatoon, November 5, 2012

Carrot Tasting 

Ask a group of university students if they know what a carrot tastes like, and you'll get some pretty funny looks. But once they taste 4 different carrots (purple, white, light orange and spherical), it's a different story - because they're all different.

My thanks to Dan Clapson and Tom Brown of Start From Scratch, a university cooking program, for inviting me to attend one of their classes and talk about Slow Food Saskatoon. And my thanks to Wally Satzewich, Wally’s Urban Market Garden, for growing a rainbow of carrots.

The Prairie Pantry
The Saskatoon Farmers’ Market has a new tenant. The Prairie Pantry, an offshoot of Riverbend Plantation, offers gourmet Canadian and international products. A few of the items really caught my eye, and I’ll be going back to make some purchases.

First of all, I’m itching to try Loriva Toasted Sesame Oil.

Then there are Milsean’s chocolate and toffee marvels – they are SOOOO good – and they’re made in BC. I will definitely be treating myself to a jar of the Demerara Carmel Rich Belgian Chocolate Sauce. I was interested to discover that Milsean also produces various mixes: the Snickerdoodle Cupcakes are made with spelt.

Bottlegreen’s sparkling drinks are delicious with subtle, natural flavours. Bottlegreen is a UK company that prides itself on using next-to-no sugar or preservatives and operating in as environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient way as possible.

Grace Whittington tells me they’ll have lots more products over the next few weeks. I’m looking forward to checking out the six varieties of dried mushrooms and the Black and White Mexican Orzo made with ground black beans and seasonings.

Grace is offering cooking classes during November and December that will employ many of the ingredients being sold at Prairie Pantry.

The Prairie Pantry also offers party platters and catering services.

Communications Workshop 
I’m facilitating a day-long communications workshop for non-profit organizations on November 28. Telling Our Story: Helping Non-Profit Organizations to Get Their Message Across will be hands-on and interactive. The workshop will cover storytelling, effective writing techniques, defining our message and change management.

The workshop is sponsored by EcoFriendly Sask; bursaries are available for volunteers and employees of environmental organizations.

Entrepreneurs Support Food Artisans
It started out as a flea market but has turned into a fashionable food fair supporting a wide range of food artisans. The Brooklyn entrepreneurs are now renovating a former service station to include a food incubator with kitchen, offices and educational space for emerging food businesses and a beer hall featuring local food producers.

The entrepreneurs are making money by providing food producers with what they need to succeed. It would be great to see a food incubator facility in Saskatoon that combined business advice, a commercial kitchen and a storefront.

Small Farms Are Sustainable
Smallholder producers are the backbone of rural economies, help ensure crop diversity and are adaptable to local needs and changing climate. Sustainable smallholder agriculture, a report from the International Fund for Agricultural Development, outlines what is needed so that smallholders can play an even greater role in feeding the world and protecting the planet.

Food That Is Fair
How do we treat our food workers in North America? Not very well, although there are some bright spots.

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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