Summer 2008 FREE
WILD TANGERINE: The siblings Wu: one is the ladle, the other is the soup
Agriculture and Food is GROWING ALBERTA


it B

Salads to tempt the taste buds
Feather Your Nest
A Hill of Beans
Bow Island cooks up
more reasons to visit
unforgettable women
shake up agriculture
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If you’re healthy right now and think
you don’t need a plan, you are taking
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or without medical review, and a
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you know and trust
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ABC 82447 (05/2008)
000.ABC_FP_wBL.indd 1 4/18/08 1:34:30 PM
Summer 2008
When it comes to greens, lettuce is just the
tip of the iceberg
by L i s a Ri c c i ot t i
Think ahead. Use our handy two-week
planner to prepare for your next tent
or RV excursion
by J u l i e Va n Ros e nd a a l
Why wait ’til Christmas? When, where and
how to have your fowl and eat it too
by Me l ody He be r t
Wellies and aprons? Three remarkable
women redefine the word “farmer”
by Te r i Mc Ki nnon
A salad doesn’t have to have the same four
ingredients. Re-invigorate your veggies
by De bby Wa l d ma n
Plan a great grill party that will have you
swilling drinks, not sweating it out
by Ry a n S mi t h
department s
A healthy website; Kefir is cool; Recipes
on the cheap; Preserve your berries;
The Calgary Stampede goes local
Taste the beans on Bow Island, without
getting wet
A brother and sister culinary team put the
“tang” in Wild Tangerine
What’s in a label?
ONTHE COVER: Specially prepared for
Food For Thought magazine, see the recipe
for our cover dish on page 50.
Anatomy of a food recall
Jennifer rocks the Big Rock Brewery
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
PLUS: Games, jokes and puzzles
A preview of what’s coming
at www.growingalberta.com
foodforthoughtsummer 2008
Publisher Growing Alberta
associatePublisher daskadavis
editors Maureenosadchuk,
associateeditor NoémiLoPinto
artdirector K.PaigeWeir
Projectcoordinator NancyKindler
ProductionManager VanleeRobblee
Productiontechnician Betty-LouSmith
circulation Amandadammann
advertisingaccount PennySmith
Food for Thought is published quarterly by growing Alberta.
If you would like more information on agriculture and food in Alberta, please
visit our website at www.growingalberta.com
If you would like to contact Food for Thought,
send an e-mail to info@growingalberta.com, or write to us at
#201, 8704 – 51 Avenue,
Edmonton, AB t6E 5E8
You are welcome to reprint articles fromFood for Thought,
but please credit Food for Thought and growing Alberta.
Food for Thought is printed on recycled paper, using
canola-based ink and water-soluble varnish on the cover.
Copyright ©2008 growing Alberta
growing Alberta™is a trademark of growing Alberta.
Food for Thought is published by Venture Publishing Inc.
for growing Alberta.
undeliverable mail should be directed to the Edmonton ofce.
10259-105 Street, Edmonton, AB t5J 1E3 or by e-mail to
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Supporters of Growing Alberta
The summer season has arrived and you are planning your family’s
warm-weather events. many families will be travelling alberta’s scenic highways to
campgrounds, the mountains, country getaways or u-pick farms. Whether it’s just a
day trip or a camping experience,
we will tantalize you with some
make-ahead recipes.
Children truly enjoy the out-
doors and i have many fond mem-
ories of our great alberta camping
experiences when my sons were
young. To assist in making your
trip a success, try our two-week
plan-ahead camping guide. assign
everyone a task; after all, mom deserves a break too!
The best way to spend a summer’s day is to hit one of alberta’s many farmers’
markets and learn a little about where your food comes from. Your local markets
have a variety of produce and homemade products, the freshest available. alberta
producers put their hearts and souls into their operations and summer is a season
they relish for marketing their goods. There’s no better way to get answers to your
questions than by directing them to our producers.
in this issue, meet three dynamic women working in agriculture in our “ambas-
sadors of Food” feature. Learn about their passion for the agriculture and food
industry, and the secrets of their success.
it’s time to drive by that drive-thru in favour of making a nutritious, tasty
meal for your family. But food prices are spiraling upwards. do you have a great,
healthful recipe to share that’s made with some alberta ingredients, costs just a few
dollars and feeds the family? We want to hear from you. send your best entry to
recipes@venturepublishing.ca. Whether you have limited resources or just want
an easy, low cost recipe, the “Cheapskate’s Challenge” is for you. Be sure to send your
best estimate of the cost of the meal. Who doesn’t love a (tasty) challenge?
my sincere thanks to the readers who send their comments to our offce. many
of the topics you have expressed an interest in are included in this summer issue.
read, enjoy and share a copy!
Maureen Osadchuk
editor’s message
Best of t he season to you
WRITERSdaviddiCenzo,Scacchi Koul,JenniferCockrall-King,Caitlin Crawshaw,
terilynPott,Sally Johnston,WesLafortune,Teri McKinnon,Melodyhebert,
Julie Van Rosendaal,RyanSmith,Lisa Ricciotti,debbyWaldman
phoToGRAphERS/ILLuSTRAToR 3tenPhoto,Kelly Redinger,dustindelfs,
Michael Woolley,Johngaucher,Chris Bolin,JasonMolyneaux,Ewan Nicholson,
Food for Thought, published by growing Alberta, communicates with consumers about agriculture and food
in Alberta. We knowthat food, the environment and your health and wellness are very important to you. With
support fromgovernment and industry partners, growing Alberta and Food for Thought magazine seek to
provide recipes and tips using Alberta food products, profle the people working to bring safe and nutritious
food to your table, and informyou about issues like food safety and quality, agriculture’s role in caring for the
environment and animals, and the heritage and future of the industry in Alberta.
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Call us toll-free 1-800-840-3393 to order
your copy of Everyday Delicious for only $10.
Visit www.atcoblueflamekitchen.com for sample
recipes from Everyday Delicious and to enter our
online contest June 2 – July 31, 2008.

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000.Mawer_1-6V_nBL.indd 1 4/14/08 11:05:05 AM 000.SwtGrss_1-3S_nBL.indd 1 4/24/08 8:43:13 AM
Quick Bites
creamy, ever-so-slightly effervescent bever-
age. Served chilled, its pleasant tangy finish
not only revitalizes you, it re-colonizes you.
Kefir is a cultured milk drink, slightly ferment-
ed, with the addition of kefir granules. These
granules are a specific blend of yeasts and lac-
tic acid bacteria which aid digestion.
Kefir contains a variety of amino acids,
minerals, vitamins (such as B12, B1, and vita-
min K) and beneficial bacteria. Proponents
say that kefir can actually help the body heal
itself. With its load of healthful cultures, kefir
may soothe your intestinal tract as well as
give you a punch of calcium – nearly 20 per
cent of your daily requirement in a medium-
sized glass. If that weren’t enough, kefir has a
helping of tryptophan, the amino acid also
found in turkey that gives you that relaxed
feeling. Kefir can stand in for yogurt in your
favourite smoothies or just be a nice change
from milk.
The Quebec based company Liberté sells
kefir in various grocery stores in Alberta,
and so does the Cheese Factory at the
Strathcona Farmers’ Market in Edmonton.
don’t fear the kefir
ADMIT IT, you love a bargain.
Something fancy and fine, but
bought for a song. Inside every
one of us is a cheapskate,
whether crowing or cowering.
So here’s your challenge:
send Food For Thought your
favourite cheapskate recipe, the
one you use to feed the family
for a few bucks, and we’ll
publish it in exchange for
some cool Food For Thought
swag. We are looking for
recipes that use as many
Alberta ingredients as possible.
We’re all in a hurry, so ease of
assembly wins points, too.
“ONE OF OUR FAVOURITE secret ingredients is
Alberta honey. We use a lot of varieties, including
Lola Canola Honey, which is easy to get at the local
farmers’ market. The company has a good assort-
ment of unique honeys that we use in our desserts,
like saskatoon berry honey, which makes for a nice
contrast for the Italian custard desserts we pre-
pare in the summer. Plenty of our dressings have
honey as well. We do a simple honey and red wine
vinaigrette that is probably our most popular.
We also love the potatoes from local market
gardeners Greens, Eggs and Ham. They grow a
really unique yellow potato that roasts really nice
and fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside.
We buy their duck eggs too and we use them in our
quiches and in our baking. We love them because
they have no hormones, are naturally grown and
equal in nutrients to almost two chickens’ eggs.
And we have always used basil in many of our
dishes, including Pesto of course, for something
like our Artichoke Lemon Pesto Dip. We get ours
fromMorinvilleGreenhouses andit’s unbelievable–
fresh and tender. Over the years we’ve found that
it’s become easier to source these great local
products either directly from the supplier or our
farmers’ markets.” — Carole Amerongen
Carole Amerongen and Ivo Piorecky
RUNAWAY SPOONwww.thedishandthespoon.com
my secret ingredient






Visit one of Alberta’s U-pick destinations this summer
and load up on strawberries. Then keep the best of
summer around by making and canning jam. It’s a
delicious way to remember a sweet summer trip to
the farm. For a list of U-pick operations, visit the
Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association at
www.albertafarmfresh.com, or call 1-800-661-2642.
Pick it
Berries, of course! You’ll also need lemon juice, water, sugar and pectin.
Grab it
Jar funnel, tongs, ladles and jar grabber; they can be purchased at a
home goods store, or ask your local berry farmer. These inexpensive
items make the process smoother, and the grabber lets you handle hot
jars without burning your paws.
Cook it
You’ll need one large pot to cook up the jam.
Boil it
A canner; it’s a large, specially designed pot that you can use to sterilize
jars and lids. Again, a berry farmer can tell you where to buy one. Get
the gear ready before you start the jam.
Simmer it
Depending on your recipe, crush the berries and boil together with
pectin, sugar and possibly lemon juice.
Fill it
Mason jars; buy the one-cup size. They make nice little gifts, maybe
with some homemade muffi ns. Buy the flat lids and the screw-on rings.
For safety’s sake, use the lids only once.
Dip it
Once you’ve ladled or funneled the jam into sterile jars, top them
with flat lids, fresh from the boiling water, so the rim is a little sticky.
Screw on a sterile ring and submerge them in your canner to boil the
whole jar for about 12 minutes.
Check it
The next day, each jar’s flexible lid should be slightly convex from
a vacuum seal. If you can press it in and out with a click, the seal is
of a
Barbecue Perfect Steak Every Time
No thermometer is no problem when you use the touch test to check steaks for doneness.
To begin, shake out your test hand so it is relaxed.
Touch your thumb
and ring fnger
together. Press the
soft part of your
hand, just below
the thumb. This is
the feel of a me-
dium-well steak.
Touch your thumb
and middle fnger
together. Press the
soft part of your
hand, below the
thumb. This is the
feel of a medium
Touch your thumb
and forefnger
together, press the
soft part of your
hand, just below
the thumb. This
is the feel of a
medium-rare steak.
Touch your thumb
and pinkie fnger
together. Press the
soft part of your
hand, just below
the thumb. This is
the feel of a well-
done steak.
Gently press the
soft part of your test
hand, just below
the thumb. This is
the feel of a rare
000.BBQAdvert_nBL.indd 1 4/29/08 8:57:40 AM
It’s tIme to get back to the favours of
alberta, and the calgary stampede is doing
just that with its new culinary program, called
“grown Right. Here”. this program is taking
alberta food to a new level, by highlighting
local agriculture and food products on the
calgary stampede’s daily menus. the program
aims to support local farmers and create rela-
tionships between the people who eat food
and the people who make it. the stampede is
also sponsoring a chef’s tour of the province
in the hopes that they will create relationships
with producers, as well as to encourage chefs
to purchase and use local products in their
menus all year round. albertans are used to
opening their doors to people from all over
the world at stampede time. this year, more
than ever, stampede-goers have a chance to
learn about the great tastes involved in eating
locally, and the positive impact that fewer
shipping miles can have on the environment.
Locals and visitors alike will be getting another
chance to taste the regional goodness of
alberta this July.
- By Terilyn Pott
grown right. here
adveRtIsement featuRe
fare that

s near
Items from nearby farms that may
pop up on stampede menus:
• Wild boar from Hog Wild in
• elk from elbow falls Wapiti
in Priddis
• Lamb from driview farms
in fort macleod
Quick Bites
Summer Special Barbecue
• 50,000 BTU’s of even heat from 3 stainless burners
• Consistent, reliable ignition system
• Made in Canada with frst rate materials
Price Includes:
• Full length vinyl cover
• Cast iron smoker box
• 18” grill cleaning brush
• Beer can chicken roasting rack
• Professional grilling tongs
$399.99 Propane $449.99 Natural Gas
North Calgary: 3505 Edmonton Trail NE, 250-1558
South Calgary: 5875 9th Street SE, 258-4440 www.barbecuesgalore.ca
Broil King Signet 20
000.BBQ_1-2H_nBL.indd 1 4/23/08 9:05:28 AM
Looking for something new for dinner? Invite
Julie Van Rosendaal over for a cuppa, or at least
check out her website, Dinner with Julie. She’s a
known Alberta foodie and cookbook writer on
a mission to spice up your life with new meal
ideas. Not only does she share her own recipes
on her site, but she photographs her oeuvres
d’art so you have something to live up to. For a
kitchen newbie, the step-by-step pictures are a
great asset.
Julie’s website is easy to navigate and her writ-
ing style is humorous and instructive. She even
slips in a helpful tip or two about storing food.
The site is an efective way to help cooks and
domestic divas alike, as well as anyone stuck for
Recipes are easy to fnd and, for those who don’t like browsing a website or are in a
rush, there’s a handy search engine for fnding meal ideas in a snap. If you’re looking for
more, you can buy her cookbook, or jump from her site to a few of her favourites on
her links page. Go to www.dinnerwithjulie.com.
- By Terilyn Pott

Have dinner with Julie
Health Canada and the Public Health
Agency of Canada have developed a
website to provide Canadians with
easy access to food safety and recall
information. The site allows consumers
to access the latest food and children’s
product recalls, public resources and
product safety information. Consumers
can search for products by keyword,
date, product or company name.
There are links to other Government
of Canada health related initiatives,
such as Canada’s Physical Activity
Guide for Children and Youth and
the famous Canada’s Food Guide.
Visit www.healthycanadians.ca
– By Teri McKinnon
total recall
000.ABMilk_FP_wBL.indd 1 1/30/08 5:00:25 PM
www.growingalberta.com 11
Your Palate
living green means eating your greens. given that each ingredient
on the average north american plate travels from 2,500 to
4,000 kilometres from feld to fork, making a diference to the
planet is as simple as a visit to a farmers’ market
ining outdoors is not what it
used to be. At one time, a great
camp meal consisted of hot dogs
and Bisquick dough, stirred in a
coffee can and twisted around a
stick to be cooked over an open fre. These days,
any camping goods store has an array of pre-
packaged convenience foods, gadgets and dehy-
drated meals that were once available only to
astronauts. But, with a little advance planning
and creative thinking, camping can be synony-
mous with good eating without sending your
budget into space.
Much depends on planning ahead. And
when it comes to keeping the family well-fuelled
and happy, much depends on dinner. Any kind
of holiday calls for good food, not only to fuel
outdoor activities, but because during these
occasions we have more time to devote to meals
with the family.
Alison Boyd and her three children, ages 17,
10 and fve, spend the majority of their vacation
time during the spring and summer months
camping close to Gull Lake or in the Crowsnest
Pass area. Alison, an elementary school teacher
and capable cook, stashes extra meals in the
freezer for weeks beforehand, in preparation for
their weekends or weeks away. Her frozen meals
and pies keep well in the cooler until it’s time for
them to thaw and reheat. The Boyd family also
dehydrates fruits and veggies throughout the
year, creating a stash of portable produce. Dehy-
drating and oven-drying can make it easy to
store and transport meals.
But not everyone owns a dehydrator; to
oven-dry fruits or vegetables, pit (if necessary)
and chop into bite-sized pieces: apples, man-
goes, peaches, pears, grapes, tomatoes, broccoli,
carrots or green beans. If you like, quickly dip
the pieces in a solution made with 1 part lemon
juice to 5 parts water; this will prevent discolour-
ation as the fruits and vegetables dry.
Spread them out in a single layer on foil-lined
cookie sheets and dry in a 140°F (60°C) oven for
six to 12 hours, until leathery. Store in resealable
bags or airtight containers; properly dehydrated
produce will keep for up to a year.
Although the Boyd family is always well-prepared,
their favourite camping meals aren’t made in
advance. They’re foil packets stuffed with sliced
new potatoes, carrots from their garden, red pep-
pers, squash, cheese, meat and other ingredients,
assembled on a whim, sealed and thrown into
the hot embers of a well-established fre.
“You get all the crispy bits around the edges,”
Alison says, describing the imperfect cooking
12 foodforthoughtsummer 2008
Release youR inneR
CampeR. WitH a little
planning, it’s easy
to Have some gReat
mini-vaCations tHis yeaR
By Julie van Rosendaal
Fireside Granola
Homemade granola is a virtuous thing. It’s inexpensive, insanely
easy to make, low in saturated fat, and you can add any combination
of fruit, nuts and seeds to suit your taste. Ground flaxseed, hulled
green pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and nuts make a great mix.
If you’re a molasses fan, replace a few tablespoons of the honey or
maple syrup with it. You don’t need extra fat, but if you’d like to
boost your intake of healthy fats, add 1/4 cup canola or flax oil.
6cups(1.5L) old-fashioned(largefake)oats
1-2cups(250-500mL) choppedorslicednutsandseeds
1/4tsp(1mL) salt
Pinch cinnamon
1/3-1/2cup(80-125mL) honey
1/3-1/2cup(80-125mL) maplesyruporbrownricesyrup
1/4cup(60mL) faxoil(optional)
1tsp(5mL) vanilla,almondor
1cup(250mL) driedblueberries
• Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts
and seeds, salt and cinnamon. In a small bowl, stir together honey, maple
syrup, flax oil and vanilla. Pour over the oats and toss to coat them well.
• Spread the mixture on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30-45
minutes, stirring a few times, when you think of it, until the mixture is
golden. Remove from the oven and stir in the dried fruit. Cool complete-
ly before transferring to individual resealable bags. Makes 8 cups.
PeR 1/3 CuP: 179 CaloRIeS, 3.3 G total Fat (0.5 G SatuRated Fat, 1.6 G MonounSat-
uRated Fat, 0.9 G PolYunSatuRated Fat), 4. 4 G PRoteIn, 34.6 G CaRboHYdRate,
0 MG CHoleSteRol, 3.3 G FIbRe. 16% CaloRIeS FRoM Fat
process, and how it doesn’t matter one bit.
“Who cares if the potatoes are still crunchy in
the middle? The kids love it. That’s what ketchup
is for.”
Ten-year-old Emily adds, “we can each make
our own, and put whatever we want in our pack-
ets.” Making meal packets is one of the high-
lights of any camping trip.
Although these could conceivably be pre-
pared in advance and stashed in a cooler, the
family likes to stop at roadside markets to stock
up on fresh and interesting produce to use in
their packets. This experience inspires the
younger kids to try vegetables they might not be
as eager about at home. The family slices vegeta-
bles thinly and tosses them with canola oil, salt
and pepper before being sealed in a rough enve-
lope shape to half roast, half steam. Sometimes
they add fresh fsh, canned legumes, or cooked
ground beef or bison.
Nicole Schon and Kevin Cunningham
frequently load up their vintage VW van with
camping gear and snacks for camping weekends
with sons Jacob, 6, and Simon, 4. Their travel-
ling kitchen tool of choice is a long-handled steel
or cast iron sandwich grill that cooks over open
fres or on the camp stove.
“You can make anything in one of those:
breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert,” Nicole
says excitedly, “and they’re available at every
grocery store on your way out of town. We have
one for each of us!” As a bonus, the kids enthusi-
astically share in the preparation of meals,
happy to be able to customize their own pizza
“Their favourites are apple turnovers.” Nicole
licks her lips; she and Kevin are as keen as the
boys. “You bring along a can of any kind of pie
flling you want and use it to fll bread that has
been buttered on the outside and sprinkled with
sugar. Then you eat them hot with a mug of tea.”
Much of the appeal of camping, after all, is
the open fre, made even more enjoyable by an
activity that brings the family together around
it; consequently came the invention of the
toasted marshmallow, the s’more and, more
recently, the banana boat. When they’ve had
their fll of sandwich pockets, Jacob and Simon
cut bananas (still in their skins) in half length-
wise and fll them with mini marshmallows,
berries, chocolate chips and chopped nuts, wrap
the whole thing up in foil and tuck their packages
into the embers of the fre to char and soften
the banana while the flling melts into a warm
chocolatey goo.
Temperature is the primary concern when
removing food from your home kitchen com-
fort zone. You have to keep it cool during trans-
port and storage, and reheat it without the stove.
But this is also part of the funod roughing it.
Cooking over an open fre, or even on a small
Coleman stove, can make any food seem a little
more appetizing.
Martin Boursin and Robin Morgan couldn’t
agree more. They swear that when camping with
their three boys, ages 7, 10 and 11, simplicity is
www.growingalberta.com 13
continued on p.15
Two-week camping planner
Summer weekends are precious. The last thing you want to be doing is wandering the aisles
of a camping goods store when you should already be halfway to your destination. Use this
guide, which starts 14 days before your first camping trip of the year, to get ready.
Day 4 – Ancillary box
Check your first aid kit. It may need to be
restocked or replaced. Have bandages of
varying sizes, antiseptic cream, bug spray,
sunscreen, hand sanitizer,
wipes, scissors, tweezers and
pain reliever. Keep these
items together in a
container. Put
this container in a
larger plastic bin.
Day 8 – Coolers
Wash out your coolers and dry
them well, toss your cold packs
into the freezer. Prep items such
as bison chili ahead of time and
freeze them. It will help keep
other items cool and will be a
welcome hearty meal on day two.
Day 10 –
Shop for any items
you found missing or
damaged as you
undertook your prep.
Day 13
Fill your water jugs
and pack your car
with everything but
the coolers.
Day 14 – It’s Friday
You’re ready. Take a change of clothes to
work (to wear en route to the campground).
Leave your cooler in the offi ce fridge for the
day. Hit the road, ready, at 5. Enjoy!
Day 3 – Kitchen
Check your stove, firing it up to make sure it
works, and ensure you have fuel. Wash, dry
and count mugs, plates and utensils. Pack
lightweight cloths and paper towels. Make
sure water jugs and pots are in good shape
and cleaned and dried. A flexible cutting
board is a great addition.
Day 5 – Add essentials
In the plastic bin, also put some
rope, clothespins, lanterns,
flashlights (check fuel and
batteries) a heavy-duty
resealable bag with a pen and
some paper and a handful of
other resealable bags. Also,
stock aluminum foil, toilet paper,
some newspaper for starting fires and some
waterproof matches. Make sure you have a plastic bin
for dishwashing and some dish soap. Toss in a game
of checkers and a deck of playing cards.
Day 11 – Car
Stock your car with CDs,
maps, binoculars, a flashlight
and jumper cables. Make sure
your tires are filled and in good
shape and that your oil is topped
up, along with the gas tank and
the windshield washer fluid.
Day 9 – Grocery
Plan some meals and shop for
other food items. Think about
things that keep well, such as
broccoli, peppers, potatoes,
carrots and tortilla wraps.
Day 1 – Gear
Check your gear, including
tent, tarp, folding chairs,
sleeping bags and
pads. Look for rips and
mildew damage and air
everything well. Patch
what you need to. Count
out tent poles and pegs.
Day 12 – Clothes
Pack for warm days and cold
nights. Think layers and equip the
family with head-to-toe rain gear,
just in case. Fill all prescriptions
and pack personal items.
Day 7 – Dry goods
Prep and stash some granola
and trail mix. Tuck in some
quick-cooking items such as
orzo pasta, bulgur wheat or
quinoa and canned beans.
Also: pack salt, pepper, a
shaker of mixed spices and a
small bottle of canola oil.
the key to a relaxing weekend.
To sum up: “Catch fish, eat fish” is the
family’s camping motto.
“Canadians have become dependent on an
excess of things to manage everyday life;
camping is no different,” Robin says. “When
did we begin to believe that we needed
matching picnic gear, fancy lawn chairs and
deluxe barbecues in order to have a successful
camping experience?”
They see camping getaways as an opportu-
nity to take a vacation from complex food and
enjoy the prospect of eating simply.
“The key to success is to invent ways to be
creative, and to embrace the challenge and
rejoice in your creativity.” Robin told me,
adding that she’s not an avid outdoorsperson. “I
never felt happier than when I opened a can
of beans with our axe because we forgot the can
opener or when I was able to start a fire with
nothing but damp kindling and wood no fire
starter or fancy matches.”
With camping, it’s important to remain
flexible, but a little planning goes far, too.
Barley bulks up this chili, blending in with the
bison and beans, boosting fibre and adding
essential nutrients. Pot barley is slightly higher
in fibre than pearl barley, which has had
more of the hull buffed off.
Canola oil, for
1 large onion,
peeled and chopped
1 ½ lbs (750 g) ground bison
¼ cup (60 mL) chili powder
1 tsp (5 mL) dried cumin
salt & pepper
to taste
1 can beef or onion stock,
1 - 28 oz (798 mL) can diced tomatoes,
1 cup (250 mL) jarred salsa, hot or
mild (optional)
2 - 19 oz (598 mL) cans white kidney or
navy beans, drained
1/2 cup (125 mL) pot or pearl barley
• Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large, heavy pot
set over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté
for a few minutes, until softened. Add the bison
and cook until no longer pink. Add the chili
powder, cumin, salt and pepper and cook for
another minute or so.
• Add the stock, tomatoes, salsa, beans and
barley and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and
cook, stirring occasionally, for about 45 min-
utes. By then the barley should be cooked
through. Add some extra stock or tomatoes
if the barley has absorbed too much liquid and
it has become too thick.
• Let it cool and then refrigerate until cold
before freezing in resealable baggies or clean
waxed cardboard milk cartons. Serves 8.
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16 foodforthoughtsummer 2008





www.growingalberta.com 17
No longer just for holidays, birds of any feather ofer a distinct,
versatile option for summertime dining
By Melody HeBert
rna Ference loves to run. She and
her sneaker-sporting buddies log
miles along the trails surrounding
their picture-postcard community of
Black Diamond, Alberta, in the foot-
hills of the Rocky Mountains. In Erna’s running
group, she and her spirited sidekicks trade reci-
pes made for athletes as easily as they trade
stretching tips.
And they’re unanimous in their passion for
chicken, what Erna terms the perfect protein for
runners. “It’s light, healthy, incredibly versatile
and available everywhere,” she says. Easy for her
to say. As owner (along with her husband, Reg)
of the Foothills Poultry farm, Erna’s backyard is
home to thousands of the feisty fowl.
As the summer breezes blow and the Ference
clan gathers around the picnic table for a twi-
light feast, there’s sure to be a bird on the platter.
And if it’s a beer you’re after, you might want to
look inside the chicken. On this farm, the culi-
nary dish du jour is “Beer Can Chicken,” a
method of roasting a whole bird by placing an
open, half full, beer can into the cavity of the
chicken and putting it on the grill. Like a tripod,
the bird balances precariously on its legs and the
can. Other liquids including lemonade, chicken
stock or fruit juice can be substituted for the ale.
“What it’s really about,” says Erna “is provid-
ing moisture so the bird doesn’t dry out. One of
the most common mistakes people make with
chicken is to overcook it. Low and slow is what
you want to think about.” She suggests invest-
ing in a good thermometer to ensure the chick-
And now, the egg
For perfect, hard-boiled
chicken eggs:
• Place the eggs in the pan and
add cold water, covering the eggs
by about an inch. Set over high
heat and bring just to a boil;
remove from heat, cover the pan,
and let sit exactly 17 minutes.
• transfer the eggs to a bowl of
ice cubes and water. Chill for two
minutes while bringing the cooking
water to a boil again.
• transfer the eggs (six at a time
only) to the boiling water for 10
seconds. this expands the shell
from the cooled egg.
• remove eggs and place back
into ice water. Chilling the eggs
promptly after each step prevents
that dark line from forming around
the yolk and, if time allows, leave
the eggs in the ice water after the
last step for 15 to 20 minutes.
• Peeled eggs will keep perfectly in
the refrigerator, submerged in
water in an uncovered container,
for two to three days.
en reaches an internal temperature of 165˚F
(75˚C) for pieces and 185˚F (85˚C) for a whole
bird. That way, you’re not guessing.
The safe handling and preparation of poultry
is also extremely important even before you get it
home, cautions this self-proclaimed “chicken lady.”
“When you’re grocery shopping it’s a good idea
to keep your chicken separate from the rest of the
groceries,” Erna warns. Often the wrap on poultry
is not suffcient and liquids may leak out onto
other items or your hands. At home, always wash
your hands, utensils and cooking surfaces with
soap and hot water before you handle food, while
you prepare it, and again when you’ve fnished.
Make chicken the only hot part of your sum-
mer meal by serving it still-warm over a bed of
cool, crisp greens, as pictured on the cover. Or,
to keep kitchen time to a minimum, cook your
chicken early in the morning when it’s cool. Toss
it in the fridge and it’s perfect for summer dishes
such as chicken salad. Chicken will keep in the
refrigerator for about three days – plenty of time
to pair it with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
To prepare a quick and easy Thai Chicken
Salad, shred chicken, cabbage and carrots with
red pepper and top with a dressing of lime juice,
fsh sauce, sugar and chili peppers. Or get a taste
of a modern classic, Curried Chicken Salad, by
combining chicken, apples, raisins, celery, lime
juice, curry powder and mayonaise.
Summer is brief, and no one wants to spend
it in a stuffy kitchen. A crock pot is another great
way to cook without heating up the house; you
can even plug it in outside. A recipe such as Jerk
18 foodforthoughtsummer 2008
Chicken can be prepared in the slow cooker, from which the seasoned
sliced chicken is then placed on a tortilla topped with seasonal vegetables
and black beans – perfect for tucking away in a picnic cooler.
But remember, a penchant for year-round poultry needn’t be confned
to chicken. Other birds offer up a healthy dinner alternative. Turkey pro-
ducers are starting to gobble up a larger share of the summertime protein
market. No longer just for holidays, a variety of turkey products are pop-
ping up in local grocery stores: turkey tenderloins, steaks, boneless breasts,
bacon, drums and sausages.
“Why not?” asks NAIT Culinary Arts instructor Troy Lymburner. “It
has a high protein content and little fat. While I’m not going to turn on my
oven and roast a turkey for three hours when it’s hot outside, I often pur-
chase boneless breasts or ground turkey for burgers, to throw on the grill.
Or I may sauté turkey medallions on the stove. There are so many quick
ways to prepare it.”
Lymburner says he’s even deep-fried a turkey in the summer. Akin to a
pig roast or clambake, a turkey boil consists of whole birds cooked in large
vats of oil. The result? In one hour, a 10-pound bird is simmered to perfec-
tion, beautifully crisp on the outside with plenty of tender, succulent meat.
Surely, this method must be unhealthy? “Not necessarily,” explains
Lymburner. “If you use good quality oil and maintain the proper tempera-
ture, the turkey doesn’t absorb as much oil as you think. If you remove the
skin, the meat is still very lean, compared to beef or pork.”
Turkey consumption is on an upward trend, agrees Mary Ellen Gru-
eneberg of Greens, Eggs and Ham, a mixed farming operation east of
Edmonton. Along with duck and Cornish game hens, the Gruenebergs sell
turkey cuts to high-end restaurants and the City Centre Farmers’ Market
in Edmonton. Consequently, local diners are seeing more turkey dishes on
the menu, no matter the season.
“People are looking for something different,” says Mary Ellen. “Our
sausage favours – orange gin with saskatoon berry, port and cherry, sweet
paprika, rum and raisin – are very popular.” She has taken steps to allevi-
ate any food allergies for her customers. Many of her products contain no
gluten, lactose or wheat fllers and no pork casings.
The Gruenebergs are also nurturing a growing duck operation, thanks
to the support of local chefs and adventurous consumers. “You’ll fnd
chefs using our duck proscuitto and duck conft on summer salads and
pizza,” Andreas Grueneberg says. (Conft is duck or goose cooked in its
own fat and preserved.) “Many of us aren’t raised cooking duck like some
other cultures,” he admits. “But duck offers another healthy protein alter-
native. People think of it as quite fatty and it’s simply not true.”
“Duck is very healthy,” chimes in Mary Ellen. “It contains highly
digestible fats, and the eggs are wonderful for baking. The loft they give to
cakes and souffés is quite astonishing.”
Lymburner suggests getting acquainted with it by purchasing pre-
cooked smoked duck breast. “A great summer idea,” he says, “is simply
arranging a cold platter with sliced smoked duck, a variety of cheeses,
fresh fruit and bread.”
Finding such products is now easier since Greens, Eggs and Ham
recently landed a contract with Sobeys to supply duck, meat, eggs and
exotic vegetables to select stores.
The Gruenebergs’ hope is that this will encourage consumers to try some-
thing new. “I’m always excited to grow and try new things,” says Andreas.
“It’s boring having the same thing on your plate all the time. People need to
make eating more of an adventure. It’s what we’re all about.”
Duck burgers, anyone?
Grilled turkey kebabs
2cobs Tabercorn
1lb(500g) sweetpotatoes,
1lb(500g) zucchini,
1lb(500g) turkeybreast,
8 babyzucchini,
8 longwoodenskewers
1/4cup(60mL) canolaoil
1 garlicclove,crushed
(about2Tbsp) juiceofalemon
4-8 zucchinileaves,rinsedand
• Cut cobs of corn into 1-inch thick pieces and steam for 7 to
10 minutes. Place in cold water for a few minutes and drain.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook sweet potatoes for
about 20 minutes, then drain and pat dry. Soak the skewers
in water for at least 10 minutes. Thread the corn, zucchini,
sweet potatoes and turkey alternately onto the skewers.
Place the baby zucchini at a right angle at the ends, so that
the flowers are on the tips of the skewers.
• Combine the canola oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pep-
per. Drizzle over the skewers. Brush the grill rack with oil and
grill the kebabs for 8 to 10 minutes, brushing with extra mar-
inade. remove from grill, season with salt and pepper to
taste and serve on zucchini leaves. Serves 4.
Per Serving: 461 CalorieS, 15. 4 g faT (1. 4 g SaTuraTeD, 8.3 g
monounSaTuraTeD, 4.7 g PolyunSaTuraTeD), 34.6 g ProTein,
49. 4 g CarBohyDraTe, 70.3 mg CholeSTerol, 11.5 g fiBre. 29%
CalorieS from faT.
Turkey producers are starting to
gobble up a larger share of the summer-
time protein market. No longer just for
holidays, a variety of turkey products
are popping up in local grocery stores:
turkey tenderloins, steaks, boneless
breasts, bacon, drums and sausages.



000.TGP_FP_wBL.indd 1 4/21/08 9:36:51 AM
While aprons and wellies serve their function, they aren’t defining accoutrements of a life in
agriculture for women of this generation. Three innovative Alberta women are reshaping the
word ‘farmer’ on a local, national and international scale
Cherie Andrews of Okotoks should be a dance critic. The co-owner of
Chinook Honey Company keeps a practised eye on the swing and sway of
her honeybees. The bees dance for each other to communicate; it’s critical
to the success of the hive.
“The basic requirements in life are honesty, integrity and the energy to
work hard. With those tools you can achieve anything,” Andrews says.
Now 52, she’s a relative newcomer to agriculture. With a background in
meteorology and aviation, she changed track to become a beekeeper in
1995. She’s focused on building Chinook Honey Company (which she
runs with husband, Art) into an apiary observation and apitherapy bee-
keeping operation. The crowded Okotoks retail space, open since 2004,
smells of golden honey and Andrews is its queen bee.
Andrews maintains there’s nothing but opportunity ahead for women
in agriculture. “Proficient marketing, thinking outside the box, creating
value-added products and connecting with people frequently tend to be
more female traits,” she says.
While most of us would consider honey a staple for tea or toast, the
value-added components of beekeeping are extensive. The Andrews pro-
cess their own honey, beeswax and pollen, make caramel honey sauces,
honey jams and syrups and sell products such as body wash, hand creams,
soaps and beeswax candles. They also sell propolis, which is used in api-
therapy, the ancient medicinal use of honeybee products. Bees make prop-
olis, sometimes called “nature’s penicillin,” from tree resin and beeswax to
sterilize and repair the hive. Humans have used it as a medicinal agent for
thousands of years for its remarkable antibiotic properties.
Since 2006, the Andrews have been working to get the licences and per-
mits necessary to build a cottage winery. Chinook Arch Meadery, Alber-
ta’s first honey winery, opens its doors on the farm this May. “It’s ground-
breaking stuff,” says Andrews, “and a lot of hard work. We’re a small-scale
commercial apiary and we want to maintain that. I’m more about quality
and legacy and although it’s more work, it enables us to give more atten-
tion to the bees and our customers.”
Ambassadors of Food
Sweet success on
t he home front
If Viterra’s ability to deliver sound technological advancements, crop
application development and profit-driven commodity trading relies on
its frontline communication, then Denise Maurice is Viterra’s very own
neon billboard on an eight-lane highway.
Maurice is manager of agri-product marketing for Viterra, one of
Canada’s largest grain handling and agriculture retail networks and a
company that connects farm fields to customers around the world. She
embraces the fundamental need for problem-solving and listening skills
in business advancement. Her smart, direct manner is engaging and she’s
the kind of person who makes you feel like you’ve known her since high
school. She says it’s the personal touch that lies behind her success.
“It’s a continuum, defining the problem, researching the solutions,
communicating and closing the loop with the farmers’ feedback,” says
Maurice. “That’s my reality check – marrying the farmer’s needs to those
of the company.”
Raised in Winnipeg, Maurice started her career in agriculture studying
weed control in such crops as canola and various cereals at the University
of Manitoba in the early 1980s. “I had a professor there,” she recalls, “Dr.
Ian Morrison, who insisted that we get out of the classroom and go out to
talk to farmers.”
It was on these field forays that Maurice discovered that her strength
lay in communicating. She found she could explain solutions to challeng-
ing weed problems to them in a way that informed and reassured farmers.
This led to an expanded role for her with Alberta Agriculture and Rural
Development. Later, at Westco, she broadened her work to all areas of crop
production. As technology advanced, so did the opportunities.
“You prove yourself able to solve one problem, that success gets you
invited out to solve another problem and it builds,” Maurice says. “It’s a
very collaborative way of doing business.” She feels women are strong con-
sensus builders and can work through multiple options to find a solution.
“One of the highlights of my career was that I got to lead an amazing
team that brought everything together,” Maurice says. “Researchers, tech-
nical experts, scientists and technical tools, all working together to build
Maurice has never lost sight of collaborating with the producer, rather
than handing down a prescriptive approach. She admits that she had to get
past being “the expert.” “Coming from the science side of things, I had to
learn that not every solution has one clear formula. Balancing each pro-
ducer’s needs with the science is the best solution.”
Maurice believes farmers are great stewards of the land. “Canadian
farmers are great keepers of our western landscape and they should be rec-
ognized, celebrated and supported,” she says. “They’re global leaders.”
Provincial problem solver
are great
of our
International agriculture isn’t for the faint of heart. Shifts
in trade patterns, advances in technology and volatile politi-
cal systems make navigating the scene challenging, never
mind the banquets. And it needs a level of affection for local
farmers, no matter what country their land lies in.
Kate Kolstad, vice-president and co-owner of Alta Exports
International Ltd., would know. From the comfort of her Calgary
office, Kolstad recounts highlights from her more than 15 trips
to rural Russia and 30 to China. This is her territory; it’s where her
clients are. She relishes meeting her far-flung producers. Travel in
the countryside can be difficult and the trips are punctuated by
banquets, offering both delicious and unusual local fare.
“They offer whatever they have,” Kolstad says. “In 2001
we went to Heilongjiang, in northwest China,” she says. “At
one banquet we had deep fried sparrows and grasshoppers.”
“And deer penis soup,” calls her business partner Gary Smith
from another room. “Don’t forget that.” Kolstad laughs.
“You share a meal with the locals and earn their trust and
acceptance,” she says. “Studying and learning a country’s cul-
tures and traditions is essential in international business.”
Her respect for culture makes Kolstad, 44, successful in interna-
tional agriculture. “Success,” she says, “comes through knowing
what people want and not what you think they need.”
Raised on a cattle ranch west of Granum, Alberta, Kolstad
thought she was destined to be a rancher’s wife. But her ambi-
tion to travel and desire to step out of small-town life directed
her into a career in cattle production, genetics and embryo
transplants. She studied Animal Health Technology at the
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and Olds College.
She worked as an embryologist with Davis-Rairdan Embryo
Transplants, travelling to Western Canada and abroad, to
Australia. In 1994, she coordinated a Boer goat embryo pro-
gram for Alta Genetics.
In 2000, after six years with Alta Genetics, Kolstad and co-
worker Gary Smith formed their own international livestock
marketing company.
Alta Exports International markets livestock – and
expertise – in embryos, genetic technologies and semen
for both beef and dairy cattle.
Kolstad believes diversification is essential. “We’re not
locked into specific traits of one breed,” says Kolstad.
In a single shipment in October 2007, AEI shipped 2,217
Canadian purebred cattle to Russia – including Angus,
Holstein and Hereford heifers and bulls. The cattle were
sourced in six Canadian provinces from more than 400
farms and the combined sales netted close to $4 million for
the Alberta livestock farmers involved.
“We listen to the traits that our customers want. We
negotiate down to what we know we can supply at the price
they are willing to pay, and we find it.”
Internat ional influencer
“You share a meal with
the locals and earn their
trust and acceptance.”
24 foodforthoughtsummer 2008
More Than a Hill of Beans
In Bow Island, the lowly bean is a lofty legume and a welcome addition to
the local economy Story By Wes Lafortune Photography By Ewan Nicholson
The smell of dill wafts through the warm air. A quaint
shop on main street is packed full of exotic foods, and nearby
felds are brimming. Down every road I look, there are beans.
I’m in the town of Bow Island, in the southeast corner of
Alberta. I soon discover this community of 1,868 people is
clearly not an island in the literal sense, but is also not alone
in the world, thanks to its reputation for lofty legumes.
At 96 years old, the “Bean Capital of the West” is one of
Alberta’s oldest small communities. It is happily located
within an irrigation district that is home to a diverse range of
agriculture, thanks to the 40 Mile Coulee Reservoir. This 11-
kilometre long body of water – which is also a popular camp-
ground for boaters, water skiers and fshers – is the lifeblood
to all who live here. Integral to the St. Mary River Irrigation
District, 40 Mile Coulee Reservoir delivers a fresh supply of
water through a sophisticated irrigation system that was frst
extended to Bow Island in the mid-1950s.
With more than 2,500 hours of sunlight annually, crops of
spearmint, dill, tarragon, and many varieties of beans, thrive.
For your choice of dry edible beans, you can stop in at Viterra
Alberta Bean Division, and pick up a 10-kilogram bag for a
reasonable price. Owen Cleland, manager of operations for
Viterra, grew up with the business. His father moved to Bow
Island in 1962, became one of frst bean experts in the area,
and Owen wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I like the small town life,” he says. “The climate’s good
here and there’s lots of hot sunny weather.”
Viterra processes nearly 57 million kilograms of the six
main varieties of beans that grow so well around here: the
Pinto, Great Northern (white), pink, red, black and yellow.
The undisputed king in this rainbow lineup is the Pinto,
which takes up approximately 65 per cent of Bow Island’s
total production. These tasty legumes are shipped to the
United States where, among a variety of other dishes, they are
www.growingalberta.com 25
made into refried beans, a vital ingredient in many Mexican dishes.
“They mainly go to the Spanish-speaking part of the population, to the
southwest region of the U.S.,” says Cleland.
I take a stroll through the commercial area of downtown Bow Island and
am immediately reminded of the South American connection at La Casa
Mexicana, which at frst seems startlingly out of place in small-town Alberta.
Then I discover there are more than 100 Mexican Mennonite families living
in Bow Island, the vast majority of whom work in agriculture, in the felds, or
at Spitz, the local sunfower seed plant. Many of them have dual Canadian
and Mexican citizenship and travel between
Alberta and the state of Chihuahua, in northern
Mexico, depending on peak work cycles.
La Casa Mexicana’s owner, Isaak Koethler,
is a proud Mennonite who works on a farm at
Bow Island and travels once a month to Mexico
to bring back supplies for his store, which is
stocked with a fantastic array of products such
as real vanilla, chocolate, Azteca leather work
boots and refried beans that, very likely, started
out in the felds of Bow Island. They have made
a serendipitous journey back, to be consumed by
some of the same people that likely frst tended
to them during the long, sunlight-flled summer
“I’ve lived in Bow Island for 18 years,” says
Koethler, whose wife and seven children also
help out at the shop. “We liked it here and
But that’s enough idle chatter; I’m ready to
eat. So I leave La Casa Mexicana and walk to the
Rolling Pin Bakery, where owner Russ Dueck
laughs when I express my desire to sample local
legumes. Although Bow Island beans often
make it on to their restaurant menu, today is not
one of those days. As a consolation he proffers
the soup du jour, with a whole wheat bun on the
side. As I dip my spoon into the steaming bowl
and lift it to my mouth, I glimpse what I came
for. Delicately balanced on my spoon, a perfectly
shaped black bean. I swallow greedily, and think
how true my frst impression was: all roads in
Bow Island really do lead to beans.
When you go
Be sure to stop in at the Bow Theatre and
check out a live, rocking blues show. A non-
proft society, Blues at the Bow, staged its
frst show at the old theatre in 1994. Past
performers include Roy Rogers and the
Delta Rhythm Kings, Duke Robillard and
Texas Flood with Jerry Doucette. Great
sound, great seats and internationally
acclaimed blues music mean the Bow is the
place to be. Call ahead and see who the Bow
is hosting this summer: (403) 545-2340.
Other activities include golf, fshing and
hunting. And no visit to Bow Island would
be complete without a snapshot of town
mascot Pinto
McBean, a
happy, cowboy-
hatted giant
bean statue in
the centre of
26 foodforthoughtspring 2008
I’ll never forget the nIght I was Introduced to
Three Bean Salad. I was a teenager and I’m not sure what
offended me more: the beans, or the idea that my mother
thought she could trick me into believing that salad consisted
of something other than iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, carrots
and tomatoes.
I never did warm up to it. I blame it on the beans, which
were canned, a real turnoff. But when Mom started experi-
menting with lettuce-free salads that featured fresh ingredi-
ents, I was hooked. There was a pasta salad with zucchini
fresh from a neighbour’s garden, and tabouli salad with
bulgur that Mom mixed with parsley pulverized in the food
My favourite was one of her simpler salads, caulifower cut
into bite-sized pieces, mixed with sliced radishes and green
onions, held together with Hellman’s mayonnaise and a bit of
salt and pepper. I haven’t craved iceberg lettuce since.
Not that there’s anything wrong with it. As Calgary chef
Scott Pohorelic says, the texture is brilliant. I’m not so sure I
agree with his contention that it’s “awesome,” but I think he’s
on target when he says the real problem with iceberg is it’s so
“been there, done that.”
More Alberta chefs and market gardeners are spicing up
their salads with ingredients you wouldn’t expect to fnd in
the produce section of your local supermarket, but in a vase
or even the compost pile. For instance, one of Pohorelic’s
favourites: pea tendrils.
“You get them off the end of the vine, they’re tender and
sweet and they taste just like peas,” he says enthusiastically.
“A few years ago I went to visit my grandparents in Saskatche-
wan. I’d never cooked for them, and I went out to the garden
and it was the end of the summer and there were no peas left,
but the tendrils were perfect. I picked them and did a quick
sauté with butter.”
A salad doesn’t have to
have the same four stock
ingredients. Open your
mind, and your feet will
follow – out to the felds,
the garden, the fowerpot
By DeBBy WalDman
PhotograPhy By John gaucher
www.growingalberta.com 27
28 foodforthoughtspring 2008
Pohorelic also uses uncooked fava bean tendrils in salads. At Infuse
Catering in Calgary, chef Wade Sirois uses lovage, a Mediterranean peren-
nial with edible leaves and leafstalks, a favourite addition to salads, says
Sirois. “It’s got a tangy, celery-lemon favour,” he says. The plant grows so
abundantly you’ll always have a fresh supply.
Sirois isn’t one to buck tradition completely, however. One of his favou-
rite salads is a roasted vegetable medley. He’ll chop zucchini, peppers, car-
rots, eggplant, onions and mushrooms, toss them with balsamic vinegar,
olive or canola oil, and salt and pepper, roast them and serve them topped
with toasted pine nuts.
Some of Sirois’s salads are topped with toasted hemp or canola seeds,
which aren’t always easy to come by. He gets his from local canola oil pro-
ducers. The seeds add a tasty crunch, but for aesthetic value and taste,
you’re increasingly likely to fnd fowers or fowering herbs in your salad.
Gwen Simpson, owner of Inspired Market Gardens in Carvel, near
Edmonton, has a thing for borage, a herb with blue fowers. “You can eat
both the leaves and the fowers, although the leaves are a little hairy,” she
says. As a bonus, borage is easy to grow, and bees love it, creating what
Simpson describes as “a wonderful, special honey.” The fowers and leaves
taste a bit like nutty cucumbers.
Nasturtiums are increasingly popular because of their peppery taste
and brightly coloured fowers. Both the leaves and fowers have quite a
strong, sharp favour. Children will love to tear off the end spike and suck
out the sweet nectar. Simpson uses the fresh leaves and fowers in salads
or she braises the leaves quickly as a peppery complement to fsh.
Purslane, a garden plant also known as portulaca, contains Omega-3
fatty acids, which research has shown may lower the risk of heart disease.
The leaves have a lemony favour. “You bite into the leaves, and there are
pockets of liquid in them,” says River Café owner Sal Howell. “It’s deli-
cious. Nice and crunchy, and it has a great texture.”
Howell also uses chrysanthemum petals, violas, yellow marigolds and
day lilies, which also have a lemony taste.
Carnation (any dianthus) and calendula petals are edible, and Simpson
enjoys using them in salads as well. Whatever fowers you choose to eat, if
they’re grown organically, cleaning is easy. “More than anything, you
shake off the dust,” Simpson says. “Only wash them just before you’re
using them. If I don’t wash the fowers, they’ll keep in a Tupperware con-
tainer in the fridge for days, but if I wash them they’ll wilt quickly.”
That’s the reason you don’t see fowers in supermarket salads, she adds.
The vegetables in supermarket salads have to be washed with a slight
bleach solution, which is why they wilt so quickly. Wilted salads are a hard
enough sell without being topped with something most of us associate
with centerpieces or hungry goats.
It shouldn’t be that way, says Howell, who has served pickled nastur-
tium pods at her restaurant in Calgary’s Prince’s Island Park. Last year she
offered her customers pansy sorbet in miniature ice cream cones.
“We grow edible fowers in containers around the restaurant, but it’s
not like I’m going out and standing around the planter and picking these
fowers and popping them into my mouth,” she says.
“On a plate with a salad of greens, there might be some petals or some
whole fowers, scattered or garnished among them,” she explains. “They
just add another dimension of favour, and they’re so pretty. There’s some-
thing about having a beautiful plate of food that is stunningly arranged
that makes you appreciate the colour and texture and bite of each thing.
You eat slower, and you have this moment with this exquisite plate and
amazing nourishment around you.”
Pickled Beet Salad
In the summer, use baby beets for this salad and leave
about one inch of the greens on them.
1lb(500g) freshbeets
2Tbsp(30mL) choppedfreshdill
1/2cup(125mL) pickledbeets,
1/2cup(125mL) sourcream
1/4cup(60mL) buttermilk
1/2tsp(2mL) salt
• Cook the whole beets, in enough simmering water to
cover them, until tender. Drain and set aside until they are
cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, combine all the dressing
ingredients. Peel the beets and cut into bite-sized pieces.
To assemble the salad, toss the beets with pickled beet
dressing and sprinkle with fresh dill. Serves 4.
Per ServIng: 119 CalorIeS, 4. 4 g faT (2.6 g SaTuraTeD, 1. 2 g
MonounSaTuraTeD, 0. 2 g PolyunSaTuraTeD), 3.6 g ProTeIn,
17.9 g CarbohyDraTe, 11. 8 Mg CholeSTerol, 2.7 g fIbre. 32%
CalorIeS froM faT.
www.growingalberta.com 29
Pumpkin blossoms: Chef Scott Pohorelic thinks of pumpkin blos-
soms as nature’s wonton, or if he’s thinking Italian, ravioli wrapper. “You
can chop them up and put them on a salad or you can stuf them,” he
says. “They’re like these neat little envelopes.”
You can also use squash blossoms. It’s best to pick the flowers
early in the morning, before the sun has
warmed them up and bugs have crawled
inside. Toss some goat cheese with herbs,
put a spoonful into a blossom, roast it for a
second or two in the oven under the broiler,
just long enough for the cheese to warm
(Pohorelic says the blossoms will stick to a
barbecue), and serve each blossom atop
chopped or sliced beets. “You’ve taken
beets-with-goat-cheese to a whole new
level,” he says. “And think of the colour!”
Stinging nettles: Wade Sirois is so enamoured of stinging nettles that
he’s asked a local greenhouse to grow the weed for him. “The favour is
wonderful – it’s so fresh and green,” says Chef Sirois. “If your bare leg
hits one, you’re going to be scratching for hours, but as soon as you
blanch them, they lose their stinging ability.”
After blanching, Sirois purées the nettles and adds them to risotto.
To pick, wear long sleeves and gloves. Snap of the leaves and blanch
them quickly; they’re less sturdy than spinach, and wilt quickly.
Turnip tops: Do not throw these away, especially if you have friends
visiting from Newfoundland. “Turnip tops are a huge delicacy there,”
says Gwen Simpson, owner of Inspired Market Gardens in Carvel.
“They have special ways of preparing them.”
Barbara Barnes, supervisor and home economist at the Atco Blue Flame
Kitchen in Edmonton, suggests boiling, sautéing, or steaming the tops, also
called greens, but only after you’ve cleaned them thoroughly to be sure
you’ve gotten of any pesticides that may have been used on them.
Watermelon and
cucumber salad
This salad is very refreshing, and your nasturtiums should
be large and full by the time watermelons start to
arrive from the Okanagan.
1/2 cup (125 mL) fruity vinegar,
such as red currant
1 Tbsp (15 mL) honey
1/2 cup (125 mL) Fairwinds Farm goat yogurt
2 cups (500 mL) diced Okanagan watermelon
2 cups (500 mL) diced cucumber
20 nasturtium leaves, freshly
picked from your garden
4 nasturtium fowers
1/4 cup (60 mL) hazelnuts, toasted
salt and freshly ground
pepper to taste
• In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar and the honey
and simmer to reduce to about 2 Tbsp (30 mL). Set aside to
• Divide the yogurt evenly between four large dinner plates,
spreading it around a little. In a bowl, toss the watermelon,
cucumber and nasturtium leaves together and season with
sea salt and a small pinch of pepper. Divide the watermelon
mixture among the plates and top each with a few hazel-
nuts. Drizzle a few drops of the reduced vinegar onto each
salad and garnish with a nasturtium flower. Serves 4; courte-
sy Scott Pohorelic, River Café, Calgary.
PeR SeRvIng (CaLCuLaTeD wIThOuT naSTuRTIum fLOweRS): 149
CaLORIeS, 6.6 g faT (1 g SaTuRaTeD, 4.1 g mOnOunSaTuRaTeD, 0. 8 g
POLyunSaTuRaTeD), 4. 2 g PROTeIn, 21.6 g CaRbOhyDRaTe, 3 mg
ChOLeSTeROL, 2.1 g fIbRe. 37% CaLORIeS fROm faT.
You can EAT that?
Once upon a time, dandelion greens were considered the ultimate in exotic dining. Not anymore. Nowadays gourmands are
serving up even more insidious weeds, not to mention fowers that were once the exclusive provenance of bees. Here are a few:


Sibling Revelry
Brother and sister Wilson and Judy Wu know when
to break the rules of food. The results are inspiring
Story by Sally Johnston Photography by Kelly Redinger
There’s no mistaking Wilson Wu when he drives up to the entrance
of the Wild Tangerine Cucina Domestica, one of the two popular Asian
fusion eateries he runs in Edmonton with his chef and sister, Judy Wu.
Wilson’s attention-grabbing vehicle, an environmentally friendly Smart
car, does double duty as a travelling billboard for the restaurants. It is
custom-painted in a dazzling mix of pink, green, red and black with the
words “Wild Tangerine” emblazoned down the side. Gimmicky? Perhaps.
Good marketing? Defnitely.
His jazzy car is creative, striking and playful – much like his restau-
rants’ inventive East-meets-West menus, where Moroccan mint lamb is
a pizza topping, Italian bocconcini cheese is tucked into a spring roll, and
Chinese spices are a fnishing touch, adding piz-
zaz to a plate of French fries.
“We get lots of people waving,” says Wilson
of the car. “We don’t do home delivery. It’s my
personal car. But it is good for branding our
name. And it’s a reminder for customers, who see
the car and think ‘Oh, the Wild Tangerine. I
think I’ll go there again.’”
At the foundation of this operation is a
dedication to daring yet healthy cooking with
plenty of vegetarian options, designed to ft into
Albertans’ hectic lifestyles. In addition to their
restaurant, the siblings also operate Wild Tan-
gerine Mobile Cuisine. This tiny fast food outlet,
with its vibrant orange walls, stainless steel
counters and stools, is located in the downtown
business core. It has been serving nutritious
soups, salads, rice bowls and snacks, such as rice
noodle cakes, since 2006. Wilson and Judy are
now hoping to shape the way their customers eat
at home. Their latest venture is a small but inno-
vative line of freshly prepared frozen dinners,
made by Judy and her handful of kitchen staff at
the main restaurant.
“We want to make our food a part of people’s
lifestyles, whether it’s lunch on the go, dinner at
home or in our restaurants,” says Wilson.
The Wus are targeting busy professionals who
have disposable income but limited time, who
are in search of premium homestyle fare that
they can quickly heat and serve to their families.
Their bagged meals are a far cry from the frozen
meat-and-veg dinners in the average supermar-
ket. For example, their individual-sized pizzas
are made with organic faxseed dough, topped
with Alberta bison sausage, tofu, gorgonzola and
cheddar cheese. Soups, such as sweetcorn and
roast garlic, are made with homemade stocks,
and are dairy-and four-free, ideal for people
with food allergies. Their entrees, such as the
lemongrass pork and tangerine tandoori chick-
en, come in aluminum boil-in-the-bag packages,
which Wilson says makes for foolproof reheating.
“You just put it in the boiling water and set
the timer according to the instructions. There is no stirring involved and
you don’t have to worry that it will burn the pan.”
The vacuum-sealed packaging is extremely sturdy and even stood up to
his kids’ home science experiment: being kicked around in a game of back-
yard soccer.
“It was pretty scratched up, but didn’t break,” he laughs. On a more
practical note, he adds, the packaging would allow the food to be shipped
pretty much anywhere. If their line of frozen food proves successful, the
Wus hope to expand and sell it through high-end grocery stores across
Western Canada.
The siblings are veterans of Edmonton’s culinary scene. For 10 years


they ran Polo’s, a successful restaurant in the
city’s university area. When their lease ran out
they took a couple of years off to travel widely
and, in Wilson’s case, to get ft through running
and yoga. When they re-grouped again in 2004,
they decided fne dining was really no longer their
“We wanted something more casual,” says
Wilson. When Wild Tangerine Cucina Domestica
opened close to Grant MacEwan College down-
town, it featured a welcoming dining room paint-
ed in calming earth tones, inspired in part by
Wilson’s interest in yoga and meditation. He felt
newly aware of the spirituality of food, he says,
and what it could do for your body. The siblings
were soon winning rave reviews again, with
unusual pairings such as Alberta bison short ribs
braised in Chinese rice wine and shrimp lolli-
pops, skewered and wrapped in phyllo pastry.
When you bite into one, the pastry pops in your
mouth. “It’s not just a taste, but a sensation, and
brings out the child in you,” says Wilson.
Fresh ingredients are a must-have for the Wus;
a couple of times a week, Judy makes shopping
trips to local shops, including the Italian Centre
grocery store and the markets in Chinatown.
“I don’t like shopping for clothes but I never
get tired of shopping for food,” she says, adding
that she’s particularly fond of bok choy and other
Chinese greens.
Their current menu features Alberta bison as
well as Sturgeon Valley pork. It’s important to
them to incorporate a sense of regional cuisine,
and support local producers so that future gener-
ations can identify with those favours and foods,
says Wilson. Two years ago, he was part of an
Alberta food and agriculture delegation that
attended a forum in Washington, D.C., to pro-
mote the province’s regional fare. Judy’s culinary
skills have also received numerous awards. She
took frst place in the prestigious Edmonton Gold
Medal Plates competition, a fundraiser for Olym-
pic and Paralympic athletes. She beat out nine
others and was the only female competitor.
Judy and her brother are as different as chalk
and cheese. Wilson is a trained chemist, outgoing
and has that entrepreneurial fare. Judy, who
trained as a chef in Hong Kong, prefers to stay
behind the scenes and often works in the kitchen
until the early hours of the morning. Both say
working in partnership with a sibling has its ups
and downs, but their different strengths are a
great combination.
“I liken us to a good bowl of soup – she has all the
wonderful ingredients and I am the stir stick!”
1/2 lb (250 g) Alberta beef tenderloin
2Tbsp(30mL) wholeSzechwanpeppercorns
2Tbsp(30mL) canolaoil
2Tbsp(30mL)each limejuiceandorangejuice
• Cut tenderloin into 1-inch thick slices. Grind the peppercorns in a mill or with
a mortar and pestle, and rub it all over the beef slices. In a medium skillet, heat
the oil over medium-high heat. Cook the tenderloin for 1 minute each side. Add
the juice to the pan, cover and cook for 2 minutes for medium rare; 3 minutes
for medium. Top with compote, below. Serves 2.
Per ServInG: 386 CAlorIeS, 25.6 G fAT (5. 4 G SATurATed, 12.7 G monounSATurAT-
ed, 4.7 G PolyunSATurATed), 32.3 G ProTeIn, 6.9 G CArbohydrATe, 77 mG CholeS-
Terol, 1 G fIbre. 60% CAlorIeS from fAT.
2Tbsp(30mL) butter
1/2cup(125mL) saskatoonberries
2 stalkslemongrass
1tsp(5mL) eachhoneyandgratedfreshginger
1/2tsp(2mL) limejuice
1/4tsp(1mL) salt
• Place first five ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer,
stirring often, until soft. remove from heat and discard the stalks of lem-
ongrass. Add lime juice and salt. makes about 1/2 cup.
Per TAbleSPoon: 34 CAlorIeS, 2.9 G fAT (1. 8 G SATurATed, 0. 8 G monounSATu-
rATed, 0.1 G PolyunSATurATed), 0.1 G ProTeIn, 2. 2 G CArbohydrATe, 7. 8 mG
CholeSTerol, 0. 2 G fIbre, 74% CAlorIeS from fAT.
32 foodforthoughtSUMMER 2008
PhotograPhy by thomas barwick / getty images
www.growingalberta.com 33
mix it up
Surprise your guests at the barbecue this year with hot and delightful
alternatives to the same old, same old By Ryan Smith
With three hamburger-loving boys to look after, Tara Assaly has
hosted more than a few barbecues.
But last summer she tried something different. Six couples and eight
children were coming over for another backyard bash at her west Edmon-
ton home, and this time Assaly wanted to be able to spend more time hob-
nobbing than fipping fesh. A friend suggested something Assaly had
never heard of – a barbecue pizza party. She tried it, and it turned out so
well she expects she’ll do it again.
“Everyone likes pizza, but you need a really hot oven to do it the way we
like it, with the thin crispy crusts, and that really heats up your house,” she
says, “especially in the summer. But pizza on the barbecue is easy, fun and
tastes great.”
Assaly did the prep the day before the party – mainly cutting up pizza top-
pings. The day of, she made the dough and laid out the toppings so her guests
could create their own. Setting up beforehand allowed her and her husband to
mingle as they put together their pizzas. The pizzas took only a few minutes to
heat, and the idea suited vegetarians and epicureans alike.
“Everyone chooses their own toppings and makes it themselves, so no
one can blame me if they don’t like it,” Assaly says, laughing. “And the kids
like it; if they want a plain cheese pizza, that’s what they get.”
Barbecued pizza is one of many low-hassle ideas for a tasty cookout
that allows hosts more time for socializing and less time sucking in smoke
over the spit.
“When I host a barbecue, I keep it as simple as possible,” says Diana
Tyler-Moon, executive director of the St. Paul Community Learning Associa-
tion and organizer and sous-chef for Making the Best Barbecue, a popular
course offered each year at the Lafond Community Centre in St. Paul, Alberta.
The key, Tyler-Moon says, is prep. That way, when the guests start
arriving, you don’t have much left to do except enjoy their company. Such
planning includes choosing a party theme, if you like.
“Canada Day is always a good time for a party,” says Tyler-Moon, who
tomato sauce. Cheeses: mozzarella, asiago, feta, gouda, goat, Havarti,
Parmesan. Diced red onion, cooked bacon, pepperoni, spinach, cilantro, parsley,
tomato slices, mushrooms, capers, shallots, fresh herbs. Slices of pre-barbecued
beef, chicken, pork, turkey, portabello mushroom, zucchini, onion and eggplant.
paRty pizza dough
1envelope(21/4tsp) activedryyeast
2Tbsp(30mL) sugar
1cup(250mL) warmwater(about115˚F)
3Tbsp(45mL) milk
1 egg,beaten
41/2to5cups(upto1.25L) all-purposefour,plus
2tsp(10mL) salt
1/4cup(60mL) canolaoil,plusextrafor
• Combine the yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup (125 mL) of the water in a
large bowl and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, until foamy. Stir in the
remaining water, milk and egg. Add about 4 cups (1 L) of the flour and
the salt and stir to form a dough that is pliable, but not sticky. Knead
dough by hand or in a mixer fitted with the dough hook until smooth
and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes, adding more flour if necessary.
• Lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and brush the
top with a bit more oil. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place
for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in bulk. Punch down the dough and
pinch off into 3 inch pieces. Roll the balls of dough between your
palms and place on a lightly floured baking sheet. Cover with a lightly
dampened kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes, until puffy.
• When ready to cook, place a rolling pin, cutting board, flour and oil
near the grill. Roll each piece of dough on a lightly floured board to
form a disk about 7 inches in diameter. Brush tops with oil and grill
dough in batches, oiled sides down, for about 3 minutes, until bot-
toms are firm and grill marked. Brush the tops with oil, flip them over
and grill for another 2 minutes, until dough is set. Transfer crusts to
baking sheets.
• Top pizzas as you like. Return them to the grill, close the lid and
cook for about 4 minutes. Makes 8 pizzas.
34 foodforthoughtSUMMER 2008

is the wife of a Canadian diplomat and has hosted dinner parties around
the world. “Go to the dollar store and get red and white bandanas for nap-
kins, serve strawberries and whipped cream for dessert.”
Location is also important. A house with a big covered porch is great
for barbecues. “But if I lived in a small apartment or condo, I’d see if there
was a party room in the building. And a lot of parks have barbecue setups.
Or you could try to have a shared party with someone who has a nice
Don’t be afraid to cancel due to weather. No one likes hiding from the
elements in a raincoat with a frozen hot dog in her hands. If Mother
Nature is not co-operating and you can’t arrange for an alternative to your
outdoor space, you should probably pack up and try again another day.
A barbecue has a different dynamic than a sit-down dinner party, adds
When meat speaks
Here’s how to grill protein like the pros:
• Let the favour speak for itself. Complement it, don’t overwhelm it.
• Marinate sparingly, especially with fne cuts of beef. Marinades
have oil and sugar that can cause fare ups.
• If you use barbecue sauce, apply as you are fnishing your grilling.
Sauces contain sugar, which can lead to charring.
• Rubbing espresso beans on beef will impart a smokiness and
bring out favour.
• Avoid excessive fipping and prodding when tending your
tenderloin. Let the grill do its work. Remember, good food takes time.
• Medium and low heat settings are generally better than high,
which tends to sear the meat before it is cooked through.
• Like beef, pork can be cooked to medium for a more tender
and juicier dish.
• Pork tenderloin does well when stufed with fruit, such as
cherries and pears.
• Alberta lamb is less “game” than Australian or New Zealand lamb
and goes well with a mint rub.
• Cook chicken all the way through, but don’t overcook it.
Chicken is versatile and is a good dish to experiment with mari-
nades and sauces.
Paul Shufelt, corporate chef for the Century Hospitality Group in Edmon-
ton. “For a backyard barbecue, guests are more focused on having a good
time than worrying about the food,” he says.
Shufelt oversees the menu and food quality at three of Edmonton’s top
chophouses (Century Grill, Lux Steakhouse and Bar, and the DeLuxe
Burger Bar.) He says the key to a beauty of a bash is threefold: preparation,
product and equipment. Other common-sense steps include cleaning
your place and making sure you have enough charcoal or fuel to keep your
fres burning. Choosing the menu is the most essential part, and you’ll
have to co-ordinate your choices with all of your other decisions. Finding
a butcher you trust is a good idea.
“Your supplier can be a great source of ideas,” Shufelt says. “You want
to be able to call him and say, ‘Hey, I’m having some friends over, can you
cut me eight, 12-ounce rib-eyes?’”
If you’re going to have people eat on their laps – which is fne – make
sure you have really big dinner plates. Don’t serve a saucy or messy dish.
Tyler-Moon usually picks her menu based on what’s fresh at the local
farmers’ market.
With the produce and protein picked, both Shufelt and Tyler-Moon
recommend doing as much as possible to prepare the food – marinate the
meat, chop the chop suey – before the guests arrive, even if you have to do
it the day before. Remember: some meals are higher maintenance than
they look.
“If I was going to do a lamb, I’d order one from my supplier, put a basic
mint and dry mustard rub on it and throw it on the rotisserie in the after-
noon,” says Shufelt. “It’s boneless, easy, and you just cut the strings when
it’s ready, carve it up and serve it with potatoes. It’s a lot simpler than try-
ing to do 40 little lamb chops.”
Of course, cooking lamb on a spit requires the gear. Your decision will
come down to equipment and the tools on hand. A rotisserie attachment
is now standard. There are hand crank spits and models that you can plug
into the wall, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get one. Another
standard feature on newer barbecues is a smoker box, which adds favour
and aroma from woods such as hickory, mesquite and sassafras.
Cam Dobranski, executive chef at Muse in Calgary, says that if your
griller doesn’t have a smoke box, you can soak your wood in water for
about 30 minutes and then place it in an aluminum pie plate on your
charcoal or rock briquettes. “One of my favourite things is to use apple or
cherry wood. They impart a nice smoky favour,” he says.
For the barbecue pizza pig-out, Dobranski suggests picking up a
Japanese mandolin, which is a sort of vegetable guillotine.
“The mandolin is faster than a knife and you get a perfect slice every
time,” he says. “And when you’re doing vegetables for the grill or for a
pizza you want to keep the slices thin so you can cook them through with-
out burning the outsides.”
“Hosting a good barbecue means that your guests can get what they
want, whenever they want it,” Tyler-Moon says. She’ll set out a galvanized
tub and fll it with ice and drinks, and when her guests arrive, she tells
them to help themselves. And for all of the planning and preparing, the
thing that makes a really good barbecue is a good mix of people.
“Barbecues are a great way to meet people because everyone’s roaming.
You’ll have some people watching a hockey game in one room and others
will be outside, and there’ll be conversations going on everywhere,” says
Tyler-Moon. “You don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen or at the barbecue.
You don’t want to miss the fun – that’s why you’re having a barbecue in the
frst place!”
You might not realize, as you peruse the aisles of your grocery store,
that behind every product is an invisible team of researchers, testing
theories about the possible health benefits or harms that might come
from what you put in your cart, and trying to get a handle on what we think
about our food, what we eat, and why. At the University of Alberta, the
best and brightest are hard at work to make your food safety a cinch.





While Canadians are united by a love of
food, our perceptions of food safety run
the gamut.
These perceptions are more than char-
acter quirks; they inform the choices we
make in the grocery store, and the success
of different products and industries can
hinge on them. Our perceptions may also
reflect how well government has commu-
nicated food risks to us.
To understand how different types of
Canadians perceive food risk, Michele Vee-
man, a rural economy professor emerita at
the University of Alberta, and her student
Yu Li, surveyed 900 Canadians in 2003 and
1,500 in 2005. Both surveys asked people
to rank the risk of eight food safety issues
(such as bacteria contamination, pesticide
residuals, use of hormones and antibiot-
ics, and BSE) and six environmental safety
issues (including water pollution by chemi-
cal run-offs, genetic modification and
herbicide/pesticide resistance).
The results were surprising.
“We see that income doesn’t have a big
effect, nor does education have a big effect.
The factors that show up consistently are
age and gender,” Veeman says.
Women rank more food safety issues
as high risk. And, consistent with other
risk literature, young men were the least
concerned about food safety. Veeman was
surprised by the large gender difference,
and figures it may relate to the fact that
women are still perceived as responsible
for food preparation.
There was also a notable difference in
food perceptions across the age span.
“As we get older, apparently we tend to be
more concerned with issues of food safety
and food risk,” Veeman says.
Veeman’s research also identified differ-
ences in food risk perception across the na-
tion. Most provinces ranked the risk factors
similarly. “But people in Quebec tend to be
appreciably more concerned about food
safety than people from other provinces,”
she says, speculating
that this may relate to the province’s
strong food culture.
The data also showed that perceptions
about food safety are changing. Albertans,
Researcher John Cranfield studied how the body mass index (BMI) of adult Canadians
changed between 1994 and 2005. BMI measures a person’s body weight in relation to
height, assigning it a number on a graph. Most physicians agree that a BMI number for
a healthy adult should lie somewhere between about 19 and 25. Up to 30 is considered
overweight and a BMI of more than 30 is called obese. Cranfield’s results are burgeoning.
• Average BMI amongst in Canadians increased in the study period from about 25.5
to slightly over 26
• In 1996 and 1998, there was a dip in the upward trend. In these years, interviews
were conducted by telephone
• Men had a higher mean BMI than women, but the gap steadily narrowed
• BMI increased with age, with a difference of about three BMI points between the
20-to-24 and 60-to-64 age groups
• BMI increased at a faster pace amongst the 20-to-44 set
• Married and common law partners had higher BMI than others
• Daily drinkers had lower BMIs
• BMI went down with physical activity, especially among women
• Body mass index went up in poorer households where the supply of food was
insecure or not consistent
for instance, ranked BSE as less of a risk in
2005 than in 2003, despite the fact that the
first survey preceded the first case of mad
cow disease in Canada. Veeman suggests
that this may be a testament to how well
the risk was communicated to the public.
Comparing both surveys also revealed
less concern about pesticide residuals, but
more concern about genetic modification
of food.
So how accurate are our perceptions?
Veeman says that, on the whole, the gen-
eral public tends to rate risks differently
than scientists in the know. For this reason,
she thinks her research could help govern-
ment better communicate food safety
issues to Canadians and bridge this gap.
“Food scientists will tell us that food is
safer now than it was decades ago, because
preservation techniques have improved,”
notes Veeman, “but people don’t always
care for food additives, including preserva-
tives.” Her study could go some way to
addressing these issues.
How we perceive food risks relates to who we are and where we’re from
It’s hard to beat salmon as a great source
of lean protein, high in Omega-3 fatty
acids, which are believed to reduce your
potential for heart disease, depression,
memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. So
why it is some consumers still shy away
from eating it?
In many consumers’ minds, farmed
salmon became synonymous with PCB
contamination in 2004, says Leigh May-
nard, Associate Professor of Agricultural
Economics, at the University of Kentucky.
And the industry was caught by surprise.
“Their initial reaction was to deny the
credibility of the findings, and to downplay
their significance,” explains Maynard, who
was a visiting professor at the University
of Alberta’s Department of Rural Economy
in 2006. “Some of their arguments were
accurate, but not reassuring. For example,
removing the skin before preparation
eliminates the majority of toxins.”
PCBs are probable carcinogens and little
Salmon has suffered these last four years. But the industry waged
a price war and won back consumer confidence
is known about their long-term health
effects. Salmon sales plummeted in the
months after the findings were made
public in an article in Science magazine.
“Consumer reaction was very negative,”
says Maynard. Salmon sales fell 20 to 40
per cent during the three months after the
PCB findings were publicized.”
One of the reasons the article’s impact
was so strong is that “PCBs in farmed
salmon” is a very simple message, unlike
other complicated health messages.
Producers of farmed and wild fish in
British Columbia responded to the PCB
crisis by reintroducing less popular salmon
products. The first new frozen, wild salmon
product was launched in May 2004, and
the second was launched by a competitor
in September.
The wild frozen processed products were
made from lower-value pink or chum salm-
on, and were sold without any additional
sauces or flavourings. The two wild salmon
About five months after a 2004 article
in Science was published, linking farmed
salmon to PCB contaminants, a prominent
seafood processor introduced a “Wild
Salmon Chum Fillet.” The product eased
consumers’ fears of PCBs in farmed
products. It was introduced at a much
lower price than the pre-existing, pre-
sumably farmed salmon products. The
strategy paid off; demand exceeded that
of all other salmon products combined
and remains on an upward trajectory.
It’s a Fact! In a study by the U of A’s Agricultural Policy Research
Network, researchers found Alberta to be the best place to test the
extent to which the PCB health scare in frozen salmon affected
supermarket sales because its residents consume salmon at a rate
similar to the Canadian average.
products were visually similar, with “Wild
Pacific Salmon Fillet” clearly shown on the
label, and a transparent window showing
the appealing pink, vacuum-packed fillets,
unobscured by sauces or breading.
It worked; consumer demand began to
climb again. One of the keys to the success,
Maynard says, was that the products were
offered at a much lower price than compet-
ing frozen salmon products.
“To pursue the low-cost strategy that was
successful in attracting consumers, both
companies needed to have global sourcing
and economies of scale,” says Maynard.
“While seafood processors seem reluctant
to remind consumers of real or perceived
food safety concerns, associations of
salmon farmers and government agencies
were able to tackle such issues head-on.”
Farmed salmon is available year-round
in supermarkets, and wild salmon from
May to September. Wild Pacific salmon
varieties include Chinook, sockeye, Coho,
and the lower-priced chum and pink
salmon. Some claim that wild Chinook,
sockeye, and Coho taste better than their
farmed Atlantic counterparts. The texture
of farmed salmon is a little different, and
fattier. The flesh would be a light grey if
they weren’t fed an additive to give them
that distinctive pinkish colour.
A look at the impact of the appearance of BSE in Canada on consumers
In 1993, a Red Deer cow, which was born
in the United Kingdom, was found to have
bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or
BSE. Ten years later, the World Reference
Laboratory confirmed that another cow in
Northern Alberta, this one born on Cana-
dian soil, also had BSE.
The reaction was swift. Hours later, the
United States closed its borders to Cana-
dian beef, a decision that ultimately lasted
for 26 months. Other countries followed
suit and the thriving beef industry in
Alberta – which in 2003 produced almost
three quarters of the beef in Canada – was
dealt a major blow.
Now, years removed from the crisis,
researchers from the University of Alberta
are trying to determine for the first time
what impact the appearance of BSE in
Canada has had on consumers, specifically
with regards to the labelling of beef. Say
your meat was to come with a label that
gave proof the steak was BSE free, would
you dig deeper into your pockets?
Dr. Bodo Steiner of University of Alber-
ta’s Department of Rural Economy says the
answer to that question is ‘yes.’ “We have
found that consumers are willing to pay
most to avoid risks associated with BSE,”
he says.
With grant money from the province’s
Agricultural Funding Consortium, Steiner
and a group of his graduate students
conducted a web-based survey of people in
both Montana and Alberta in 2007 to gauge
the extent to which these consumers care
about beef labelling in the aftermath of
the BSE crisis. The survey, which overlaps
with an original study Steiner completed
in 2005 for the beef and bison industry,
uses a five-point consumer scale, with
five indicating the most positive response
and zero indicating the most negative
Steiner’s research showed that the
205 Albertans surveyed would generally
pay more for meat with a BSE-free label
than they would for a product with a
label guaranteeing the meat was free
of genetically modified organisms and
growth hormones.
The education levels of those surveyed
were key to the results.
“The surprising finding was those
consumers who were most educated, were
least willing to pay for GM labelling that
says ‘this meat has not been produced with
GM feeds,’” Steiner says. It suggests that
educated consumers are more aware of
the underlying processes of biotechnology
and, because of that, don’t require the ad-
ditional information.
“Providing the already highly-educated
consumer with additional information
gives that consumer very marginal extra
benefit. Therefore, the willingness to pay
more, for this consumer, is low compared
to the willingness to pay of the less edu-
cated consumer.”
The way we gather information about our food in the 21st century
has changed dramatically from previous generations, according to
the University of Alberta’s Dr. Bodo Steiner.
In Steiner’s 2007 study on beef labelling, one component looked
at what media consumers rely on for food-safety issues, including
food poisoning, BSE and genetically modified organisms. Magazines
and newspapers were clearly ranked as number one for consumers,
in front of TV and radio. Third came the Internet.
“At the very bottom was the label on the package,” says Steiner.
“Sadder is the fact that health professionals were ranked as second
least important when it comes to food-safety information.”
Family and friends were also ranked low. Steiner believes these
responses acknowledge a shift in thinking from just two generations
ago. Older people, specifically women, prepared foods in their own
kitchen and were aware of certain food safety risks.
“The younger consumer today, especially under 20, barely knows
what a cow is,” Steiner says.
He says this shift in information gathering will impact how indus-
try and government determine the type and amount of food safety
regulations to consumers.
“What kind of media do you choose?” Steiner asks. “Is it the iPod in
the end? And how do you deliver the message? It’s a big challenge.”
Project funding for this advertisement is made available through the Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Program (ACAAF),
an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada program administered through the Agriculture & Food Council in Alberta.


Manufacturers are quick to make health claims, which
means a discerning shopper has a lot to consider. The good
news is that companies that make these claims on their pack-
aging, be it “good source of…” or “zero trans fat,” have to
meet strict guidelines provided by Canada’s Food and Drug
Act and federal regulations.
“These claims are not something that manufacturers can
just put on their labels whenever they want,” says Dr. Mary
L’Abbé, Director of the Bureau of Nutritional Sciences in
Ottawa. “The most important part is the nutrition facts table.
That’s the underpinning of all of our health claims in food.”
What was the genesis of health claims on
Canada’s food products?
Dr. Mary L’abbé: For years, we’ve defned things like “good
source” and “source of vitamins and minerals.” We’ve just
broadened it to include a lot more terms like “reduced,” “low,”
“light,” “zero trans” and “low sodium.” The principle was to
expand the number of terms viewed as useful to the consumer.
For example, we defned “low fat” a long time ago. But we
only defned “zero trans” in the 2003 regulations. So it does
How does a health claim make its way on to a
food label?
ML: We’ve defned criteria for those words that manufactur-
ers can use. For example, “source of” must contain at least
fve per cent of your requirement and “good source” must
contain at least 10 per cent. It is already defned in the regula-
tions what those terms mean. We also defne all of the words
that we call comparative claims,
like “lower,” “higher,” “reduced”
and “low-fat.” It’s a system of regu-
lations that defnes what those
terms mean.
How did the Food and Drug Act
change in 2003?
ML: The new part added, in
December 2002, is what we call the
disease risk reduction claims.
We’ve defned a number of disease
risk reductions, or health claims
that can be put on a food product.
We defned both the wording of the
claim and the criteria that the food
needs in order to carry the claim.
Something like the role of calcium
and vitamin D in reducing the risk
of osteoporosis, for example, that’s a common disease risk
reduction claim.
What is a manufacturer’s responsibility when making
health claims?
ML: We have a guidance document that states how you have
to review all of the scientifc evidence for a health claim in
food. It’s a process that we’ve used to establish the authorized
health claims in foods.
What kind of impact have health claims on food labels
made on the consumer?
ML: It’s tough to quantify. There have been surveys to ask
consumers if they use the information on nutrition labels.
They tell us that, yes, they do. Consumers use the nutrition
information as part of their purchasing decisions. We very
defnitely have seen a trend of things like trans fat being
removed from the food supply.
Where can consumers go to learn more about health
claims on food labels?
ML: There are a couple of places. At the Health Canada web
site (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index_e.html) we’ve got infor-
mation for consumers. The “It’s Your Health” link addresses
issues like trans fat and nutritional labelling. There’s also the
Food Inspection Agency (http://www.inspection.gc.ca/eng-
lish/toce.shtml), where they list approved health claims, such
as the role of calcium in the maintenance of healthy bones
and teeth. They tell us what’s permissible for the industry to
use on food products.
What’s in a Label
So you think you know the diference between “a good source” and “an
excellent source” of vitamin C? Here’s how to fnd out Story by David DiCenzo
40 foodforthoughtsummer 2008
As you weave through the aisles of your local grocery
store, you’re probably more concerned with gathering ingre-
dients than with the possibility of health safety hazards due
to what you toss in the cart. But each month, almost a dozen
nationally distributed food products must be pulled from the
shelves of grocery stores. Chances are, you haven’t heard
about most of them.
Nelson Fok, associate director of Environmental and Pub-
lic Health for Capital Health, says surveys show that
consumers don’t always hear about
food recalls. “Or, when they hear it,
they may not remember the whole
thing or understand what the recall is
about,” he says. Fortunately, there are
a number of government bodies
working behind the scenes to ensure
the food on your table is safe.
Recalls are a federally mandated
process overseen by the Canadian
Food Inspection Agency, or CFIA,
carried out by local divisions with occasional help from pro-
vincial health regions such as Capital Health. While the Min-
ister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (which oversees CFIA)
can mandate a company to recall a product, most are done
voluntarily. “They don’t usually get to that point. It’s rare that
they are mandated,” says Sonia Worobec, CFIA’s Supervisor
of Food Safety and Fair Labelling Practices for Alberta North.
The reasons for a recall vary. Sometimes microorganisms
such as salmonella sneak into food products, as was the case
with a large batch of canteloupes recently recalled from the
produce sections of grocery stores across North America. In
other instances, traces of an allergen not indicated in the
ingredients’ list can threaten lives (think peanut allergy) and
products must be destroyed or re-labelled. And, as a March
recall of Fresh Mint and Orange Tic Tacs revealed, particles
of packaging materials can wind up in the products. Also in
March, two kinds of pear juice, President’s Choice Organics
Pear Juice for Toddlers and Beech Nut Pear Juice, were
recalled because of a possible arsenic contamination, a sub-
stance that is both carcinogenic and linked to developmental
risks in children. How the toxic heavy metal may have con-
taminated the juice still remains unclear. Recalls can be initi-
ated a number of different ways, says Worobec. The process
can be triggered by a consumer complaint, inspection results
from the CFIA or other government agency, or an outbreak
of illness.
The CFIA must validate the claim by collecting back-
ground information about the product’s origin and creation,
including the precautions taken by the manufacturer to
ensure safety. “You would check to see if they have a control
there are food recalls every day, but most of us don’t know it
Story by Caitlin Crawshaw
No Foolin’ with Food
such as salmonella, sneak
into food products, as was
the casewithalargebatch
recalled from the produce
across North America.
000.CgyStamp_1-3S_nBL.indd 1 5/8/08 1:03:21 PM


program in place for that kind of issue, for instance, allergen
control,” she says. “If the inspector fnds out there’s been a
violation, they’d have to see if it’s a food safety risk or not, and
not just a technical violation.”
If a health risk is suspected, data is sent to the Offce of
Food Safety and Recall in Ottawa for risk assessment by the
CFIA and Health Canada. When the case is determined to be
a Class 1 risk (posing serious threat to health) a federal advi-
sory is made and the national media are informed. Class 2
(medium risk, causing temporary harm) or Class 3 (posing
minimal risk; like a quality issue identifed by the manufac-
turer) are posted online, but a public advisory isn’t made.
Most Class 1 recalls happen within about a day of a con-
cern being reported, says Worobec. Retailers must pull the
items off the shelves as soon as they receive the notice from
the manufacturer, and within a few days, the CFIA and
Capital Health inspectors (if the recall is widespread) per-
form an effectiveness check to make sure retailers have been
informed and have followed through.
“What we’re looking for is that they received a recall
notice from the company and that none of the product is on
the shelves,” says June Stevens, a Calgary-based CFIA fair-
labelling and food safety inspector. “We ask when they got
the notice, how they received it, if they had any of the prod-
uct, what they did with it, and did they distribute to other
places where we might have to follow up?”
Most grocers act quickly.
“As far as I know, with all of the major stores we deal with,
the minute they get a recall notice, they act on it,” she says.
In fact, in the nine years she’s been with the CFIA, she’s never
dealt with an unwilling retailer – only the occasional situa-
tion where the business hadn’t received the notice. This is
good news for consumers. While there are legal fnes and
possible jail time associated with non-compliance, there
aren’t enough inspectors to check up on every retailer in the
province. Consumers don’t necessarily hear about a recall
through the news media.
“There are recall issues almost every day, in different plac-
es in the country. And whether the media picks it up and
makes an announcement or not is beyond our control,” she
says, adding that busy news days sometimes mean little atten-
tion is paid to recalls. “So it’s very dependent on the grocers
following the directions they get when a recall is issued.”
However, Albertans needn’t be beholden to either media
or grocers. Worobec points out that consumers can get the
information themselves by going online. Last year, the CFIA
and Health Canada created www.healthycanadians.gc.ca
as a singular access point for people to fnd out about food
and product safety issues. The site regularly posts food recall
information, and an e-mail subscription service can deliver
the same information to your inbox. “I recommend this
highly to people with allergies,” says Worobec.
Consumers can also call 1-800-442-2342 to register a food
safety incident (1-403-661-7505 after hours.)
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42 foodforthoughtsummer 2008
www.growingalberta.com 43
As I drive the maze of streets and avenues in an indus-
trial park in Southeast Calgary, I am literally following my
nose. “I must be close,” I fgure, as I catch another whiff of a
sweet, grainy aroma cutting through the diesel fumes of the
big rigs whizzing past. I follow the distinctive scent of brewed
beer for about a block and a half until I spot the sloping,
green, Bavarian-style roofs of its three buildings. I have
arrived at Big Rock Brewery.
My tour guide today is sales representative Alastair Smart,
a man whose London accent seems tailor-made to discuss all
aspects of brewing. Alastair has been with Big Rock Brewery
for 23 years, from the very start of the company. He’s the
perfect man to walk me through this homegrown Alberta
product, from the raw ingredients to keg, can and bottle.
We start our tour at fve towering, white, 40-metric-tonne
hoppers just outside the milling room. I learn that Alberta
grows some of the best two-row malting barley in the world,
thanks to our long summer days and mineral-rich soil, which
creates the perfect ratios of proteins to starches. The province
exports malted barley around the world because of its excep-
tional qualities for brewing. (Incidentally, Alberta’s famously
hard water is great for brewing ales. Those same minerals
that wreck havoc on our appliances are ideal for it.)
Alastair hands me a few tan-coloured grains and tells me to
taste them. They have a pleasant crunch and a slight caramel
sweetness. The frst one is a pale malt, light-coloured and grainy
in favour. The second, a caramel, has a deeper tan colour and a
pleasant buttery-sweetness. The last, a dark malt, is chocolate
brown and has a nutty, almost smoky favour. Combinations of
the three are used to make all of the company’s varieties of beer.
Big Rock’s Grasshopper beer uses malted wheat, also from
Alberta farms, as well as malted barley.
The malted barley enters the mill room via elevated augers
and pipes. It is weighed and then the grains are broken down
in the gristmill, a fourmill that coarsely grinds the whole
grain. Big Rock beers are all craft beers, an all malted grain
beverage with only traditional ingredients that have been
around for centuries. Their products contain only malted
barley and malted wheat, hops, yeast and water. Big Rock’s
Honey Brown also has a dash of organic Alberta honey.
Those six elements become no fewer than 11 distinctive
beers, and a different seasonal beer every year.
As I take in the place, I spy a pail of what looks like rabbit
food. But when Alastair lifts a handful of the bright green
pellets to my nose, I realize that these are hops. They smell
pungent, fruity, grassy and earthy all at once.
“Hops are to brewing what spices are to cooking,” he says.
High on Hops
Jenn follows the trail from barley to beer at Big Rock Brewery
Story By Jennifer Cockrall-King Photography By Chris Bolin
Big Rock uses between three and fve different varieties of
hops in one beer, depending on the desired outcome. Hops
add the spice, fragrance and bitter qualities (when expertly
balanced, bitterness is desirable.)
As we climb a set of stairs to the brewing station, I con-
template the old line, “is it getting hot in here? Or is it just
me?” The air temperature becomes akin to a steamy, tropical
sub-climate. I see three gargantuan stainless vessels, which
have various concoctions brewing inside them.
Chris Chibi, one of the Big Rock brewers, is running the
show in this area today. He opens the submarine-style round
hatch of the 160-hectalitre kettle known as the mash tun, an
old English word for a large container for holding liquids, and
the smell of cooking porridge wafts out. We peer into the ves-
sel and I see a slurry of barley grist and warm water. It looks
and smells like cooking cereal as it swirls and steams. I’m
intrigued as I bask in breakfast aromas. Chris dips a very long
pole with a plastic cup at one end into the vat and hauls out a
sample, pours it into a small cup and I gingerly lift it to my
lips. It’s sweet. I mean, really sweet. It tastes like hot, watery
porridge, with shards of barley husk. Alastair informs me
that this is just the coarsely-ground malted barley and water;
in the mash tun, the starches are converting to sugars, which
will fuel fermentation.
The mash is then pumped into a lauter tun, a 160-hectali-
tre tank with a perforated false bottom, where the husks set-
tle. The liquid that comes out of the lauter tun is called wort.
They put it into the brew kettle, bring it to a boil, and the hops
are added. From the 272-hectalitre brew kettle, the hot liquid
goes into a centerfuge where any bits of hops or grain will col-
lect in the middle, and the clear wort goes around the outside.
The residue, called traub, will be added to the spent grain,
moved to a hopper to be used as cattle feed. In other words,
cow porridge. Who knew?
Chris adds a pail of hops to the brew kettle and then pulls out
a cup of the hot, murky liquid for us to taste. This time, the
fragrance of hops hits hard and the mixture is sharply bitter.

44 foodforthoughtsummer 2008
Clearly, the favours need time to mellow and fer-
ment for this to become the Big Rock beer I know.
But it’s recognizable as a proto-beer and it’s inter-
esting to taste it at these early stages.
Before we leave Chris to his work, Alastair
points to woman wearing a pair of bright pink
rubber boots. “Pink Boots Society,” he yells above
the noise down below in the fermentation area.
Big Rock brewer Candice Derry, one of only fve
female members in Canada, is part of the interna-
tional women’s brewer’s group known as the Pink
Boots Society.
Now it’s time for the laws of nature to get to
work. The now cooled liquid is pumped into
fermentation tanks that can hold between 140
and 550 hectalitres of liquid. Yeast is added and the magic of
fermentation begins. I feel like I’m in a cathedral as Alastair
and I walk down an aisle of 75 shimmering stainless steel
tanks. Some contain ales, a beer made with top-fermenting
yeast that is ready in just seven days. Lager yeasts work more
slowly at the bottom of the tank, so it takes three to four
weeks for them to come full circle. Either way, the yeast feasts
on the sugars from the mash tun, which creates alcohol and
carbon dioxide as a by-product, which results in a delicious
and bubbly product: beer!
From the fermentation tanks the beer is passed through
three different flters, the last one removing any particles
larger than 0.45 microns, or less than one millionth of a
metre. This is important, Alastair tells me, because it allows
Big Rock Beer to be sterile for kegging, bottling and canning
without having to be pasteurized. Pasteurization means heat-
ing up the beer to sterilize it and this would alter the favour.
Because they are unpasteurized, Big Rock beers retain their
layers of subtle favours, a hallmark of the craft.
Big Rock is a microbrewery at heart, though it has grown
since its frst three beers – Traditional, Bitter and Porter – were
frst sold in 1985. The company has managed to retain that
approach throughout its expansion from a staff of 10 to 125, but
it is still a small fry in the world of big beer companies.
We pass from the relative tranquility of the fermentation
tanks to the loud bustle of the kegging, canning and bottling
lines. About 25 workers and an array of impressive machin-
ery chug away in concert; building labelled boxes, inspecting
brown bottles of Warthog Ale marching along a bottling line,
placing the freshly flled and labeled beers into six-packs,
onto fats and then onto palettes.
In just 30 minutes, a bottle washing machine takes recy-
cled empties through a sequence of washing and stripping off
the old labels, to sterilizing the glassware until ready for
reuse. Kegs are sterilized and flled, and the canning line is
also running at full tilt. It’s like the sound of thousands of
sewing machines running at the same time, combined with
the clink of glassware and beep of forklifts running palettes
to and fro. And then, suddenly, the lines shut down and the
space goes silent. It’s lunchtime, Alastair tells me.
Big Rock beer is sold in every province in Canada except
Quebec, and is exported internationally to beer-loving Korea.
I fgure that once the product is packaged it moves straight to
shipping and off to the liquor stores. But I’m told there’s still
one more stop before Big Rock goes off in all directions, and
that is the lab, located on the main foor of the packaging
In the lab, a very focused-looking man is pouring small
samples of beer onto Petri dishes and labelling them. There
are also pipettes and test tubes, Bunsen burners and other
laboratory equipment. (Beer glasses being one of them.) This
is where samples are tested to make sure the alcohol content
is correct, the colour, the Ph, and to make sure it is the quality
the brew master, Paul Gautreau, wants on the shelves. Quali-
ty control checks here are the last stop before the product is
fnally shipped out.
I decide to do a little quality control check of my own. See-
ing as the Big Rock Grill – a full-service restaurant with on-
site catering – is full to capacity (just the average Tuesday
lunch Alastair assures me), we choose the loft, a room used
for tastings, meetings, and other special events. “Weddings,
funerals, bar mitzvahs…we do it all,” Alastair says with a
laugh. He pours me a substantial pint of Traditional Ale,
a dark glass with a creamy white head of foam, and suddenly
I swear that I can taste all of those basic elements I was smell-
ing before. From the nutty chocolate-coloured malted barley
to a slight hint of hops, yes, right down to that mineral-rich
Rocky Mountain-fltered water.
It’s the great taste
of superior Alberta
barley that gives
some brew its bang
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Ph/Fax: (780)487-9334 Email:jzinter@zinterbrown.com
The Atlantic’s best... brought to the West!
#3 - 101, First Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta T7X 2H4
Telephone: 780-960-0669 • Toll Free: 1-888-960-0669
www. atlanticcoastseafoods.ca
Growing Alberta is proud to partner with
Alberta 4-H in the release of the first
edition Cookbook –
from our hands to yours
f rom our hands to yours
Print Copy
15 (inc. GST)
CD Copy
10 (inc. GST)
Call toll-free 1-877-682-2153
email: foundation@4hab.com
website: www.4h.ab.ca
000.Marketplace_FP_wBL.indd 1 5/7/08 3:19:38 PM
46 foodforthoughtsummer 2008
Get Egg-centric
Are you sick of sunny side up? Think over-easy is
over done? Bring some egg-citement to your
morning with something new.
You’ll need:
Four colours of permanent marker
One or two eggs
Grated cheese, cold cooked noodles or sprouts
• Bring a small pot of cold water to a boil.
• When the water is bubbling, drop in the eggs with a
long spoon or ladle.
• Cook them for 4 to 6 minutes for soft-boiled eggs with a
runny yolk or 10 minutes for an all-over hard-boiled egg.
• Drain the water and let the eggs cool until they are
comfortable to handle.
• Place them in egg cups.
• Doodle a landscape/an abstract painting/your enemy’s
face on the egg with the permanent markers.
• Slice the tops of the eggs off; top them with cheese,
noodles or sprouts.
• Toast and slice your bread and serve with your
favourite spread.
• Consume your work.
story ByScaachi Koul
illustrations BycindY revell
1. etelomt
2. kylo
3. ildebo
4. trichso
5. laiuq
1 . O m l e t t e 2 . Y o l k 3 . B o i l e d 4 . O s t r i c h 5 . Q u a i l 6 . E g g s h e l l 7 .
C a v i a r 8 . P i c k l e d 9 . C h i c k e n 1 0 . B r e a k f a s t
Un-scramble these:
6. llgghees
7. vcaria
8. lcpidke
9. kcencih
10. sraektbfa
Just for yolks and giggles
What kind of egg
lives by the sea?
An egg shell.
What did the eggs do when
the light turned green?
They egg-celerated.
Why couldn’t the egg get
good reception on her
Because the channels were scrambled.
www.growingalberta.com 47
15. Anumberofbirdshatchedatthesametime
16. Thesoundahenissaidtomake
Some egg-cellent facts
1 2 3
4 5
10 9
A n s w e r s : A c r o s s : 4 ) p r o t e i n 6 ) s h e l l 7 ) c h i c k e n 9 ) w h i t e 1 2 )
p o u l t r y 1 3 ) o v e r - e a s y 1 4 ) s c r a m b l e d 1 7 ) p u l l e t 1 8 ) c h i c k D o w n :
1 ) f e a t h e r 2 ) E a s t e r 3 ) y e l l o w 5 ) r o o s t 8 ) c h o c o l a t e 1 0 ) h a m 1 1 )
f r i e d 1 5 ) c l u t c h 1 6 ) c l u c k
what’s online?
For more great ideas and recipes from the
stories covered in this issue of Food For
Thought, visit www.growingalberta.com
give barley a boost
If Wes Lafortune’s piece on the bean capital of the west
on page 24 had you craving the taste of the home-
grown fare, you should have been at the Alberta Barley
Commission’s annual baking contest in February, where
two SAIT students came out on top. Find out more
about Sarah Morley’s barley sponge cake and Marnie
Fudge’s maple barley whisky tart on our website.
take your pulse
Complex carbohydrates, soluble
fiber, folic acid, potassium, B
vitamins, protein: these are just
a few things that legumes have
going for them. Of course the
main reason to eat them is the
incredible taste. Find out more,
and check out some fantastic
bean recipes, at the Alberta Pulse
Growers Association website:
Subscribe online at
or call (780) 466-7905.
Subscribe today to have
Food For Thought delivered
to your door and never miss
an issue again. Get four
issues for $15.75 (plus GST)
or eight issues for $26.25
(plus GST.) Cost covers
postage, delivery and some
really racy recipes.
Agriculture and Food is GROWING ALBERTA
Winter 2007 FREE
Baker’s Dozen: Helpful hints from a young muffi n master
et w

the inside out
The G
loves Com
e O
Cook with pro hockey’s nutritional experts
S! Top tips for a pretty party platter
the M
How Alberta’s soup kitchens do it
FFT-Cover-Final.indd 1
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about you
There’s nothing as delicious as
chocolate cake, unless it’s chocolate
peanut butter cake with chocolate
peanut butter filling. It’s the Jif peanut
butter baking contest winner. The kids
will go squirrelly with excitement and
it only takes 40 minutes to make. See
how on the Food For Thought website.
sign-up online: www.eggs.ab.ca
h Z
treat yourself to
Discover the VERSATILITY of eggs with two new newsleters from the Alberta
Egg Producers. Each newsleter features seasonal recipes, crafs, and more!
000.ABEggs_1-3H_nBL.indd 1 1/30/08 9:38:37 AM
Subscribe online at
or call (780) 466-7905.
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8º\P]W^da b^dcW^U 4S\^]c^] P]ScWTa^[[X]VUPa\
land is just acquiring the rosy glowof sunrise. Horses stand at
their fences and snort great columns of steamas they survey
the busy humans zipping north and south. I’ve driventhe
QE2 several hundred times, and I’ve passed the colourful
Bles-Wold Dairy and Yogurt signso often, I cansee it inmy
mind. There’s a curve and a thena dip inthe road. Or it is a
rise and a straightening of the highway? Never mind. I’ll
knowit whenI get there.
Besides, onthis clear, chilly morning, I’menjoying the
drive to Alberta’s only on-farmyogurt productionfacility.
Bles-Wold is a premiumproduct. It travels fromthe farm’s
cows inthe milking barnto the yogurt productionfacility in
a matter of hours, and arrives ongrocery shelves ina matter
of days. This freshness and a tight control over production
has meant business is booming.
Just as I start to second-guess my memory, I round a cor-
ner and the signappears. I turnoff the highway and I fnd
myself scanning farms and driveways for signs of Bles-Wold.
City girl that I am, I drive past the farma couple of times
before I admit defeat and call themonmy cell. I get a few
clues: it’s the only dairy farmonthat stretch of road, so I’m
told to look for cows and a dairy barn. I’mpractically staring
right at it. Embarrassed, I pull into the farmyard.
Just then, Tinie Eilers comes round the side of the farm’s
red and white-trimmed woodenbarn. This is where Tinie
(pronounced TEE-ny) runs the yogurt business. Her hus-
band Hennie Bos is incharge of the dairy a fewsteps away.
Today I get to see two thriving businesses inone stop.
Tinie shows me into the barnand up to the coffee room,
a second-storey perch where the more thanhalf a dozenBles-
Wold staff come and go as their duties allow. Inher soft
Dutch accent, Tinie begins to explainhowshe, Hennie and
their two kids ended up incentral Alberta. Just then, Hennie
joins us. He’s surprisingly perky for a guy who gets up every
day at 5 a.m., but I guess that’s part of the business. Tinie and
Hennie grewup onfarms inHolland, and together had a
dairy farmthere for 20 years. But thenTinie puts it interms
that are easy to understand. “There are 16 millionpeople ina
country that fts betweenEdmontonand Calgary,” she says.
Land inHolland is at a premium, and there’s little roomfor
entrepreneurship. Lacombe, by contrast, had the right com-
binationof fertile farmland, wide-openspaces and wide-
openopportunities for anambitious family farm.
In 1994, Tinie and Hennie, and their 13-year old
daughter and their nine-year-old son arrived in Canada,
and by February 1995, their newfarmhad a brand-new
Culture Club
CWTaTºb \^aT c^ 1[TbF^[S 3PXahºb d[caP RaTP\h TbcPcT h^Vdac
cWP] P WP]SUd[ ^U QPRcTaXP P]S P cX\Ta CWTaTºb P[b^ cWT PacXbcah
8tory 8y !ennlfer Cockrall-klng Þhotograµhy 8y 8ookstrucker
dairy facility and 60 Holsteins. They named the farm
Bles-Wold, a hybrid of Hennie’s hometown, Blesdijke,
and Tinie’s hometown, Steenwijkerwold.
Tiniecredits Henniewithbeingtheentrepreneur, but her
yogurt business, whichstartedas ahobbyin1996, has gained
momentum. “I’mnot aplanner,”Tinieadmits whenI askher if
yogurt productionwas always part of theBles-Woldvision.
Instead, it was just awayfor her togiveher teenagediabetic
daughter anutritious breakfast that didn’t containextrasugars.
Tinie would whip up batches of mild-tasting yogurt inthe
kitchen. “I’d give some to friends and neighbours and they
seemed to like it,” continues Tinie. She also learned that
Albertans like their yogurt sweeter and thicker thanthat
found inEurope. Her taste testers also expressed a desire for
fruit favours. She obliged. Hennie encouraged her to think
about making yogurt as a business. Since Tinie’s brother had
a small commercial yogurt business onhis farminHolland,
she asked himto send her a small (400-litre) pasteurizer and
a recipe. In1996, she took her farm-fresh yogurt to the
Lacombe and Ponoka farmers’ markets, where it was a hit.
“Thenthe manager fromthe local Coop store, Keith
Meyers, came to us,” recalls Tinie. “That’s howit all started.”
Bles-Wold yogurt made the leap fromfarmers’ markets to
grocery stores. Tinie and Hennie took the growing pains in
their stride. Tinie made her way through the dizzying label-
ling regulations with the help of agriculture advisors from
Government of Alberta. These days, Bles-Wold yogurt, and
nowsour cream, is sold at 90 different locations across
Alberta. The farmhas a federally inspected facility, and the
Bos-Eilers are working onexpanding their territory to other
Anxious to see where this product is made, I ask for a tour.
Tinie furrows her browand tells me that due to the strict
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) guidelines
and biological controls, she can’t allowme into the produc-
tionplant. I could inadvertently bring ina bacteria or
something that could spoil anentire 2,000-litre batch. (Yes,
the initial pasteurizer has long-since beenup-sized.) The
culturing of the yogurt is a precise undertaking and there’s
just no roomfor tourists.
There is, however, a windowinto the yogurt-making
roomand I peer into the space; it’s hospital-clean. The tile
foor is gleaming white and the stainless steel pasteurizing
tank and small flling line are also spotless. The milk from
the nearby dairy arrives at the yogurt-processing plant via
anunderground pipe system. Because Bles-Wold’s dairy
is commercial, certifed under The CanadianQuality Milk

<8 ;:8 =6 8 C)
!lnle Lllers, left, and
Hennle 8os have
dlverslñed thelr dalry
‘ ‘
CULTURED DINER: I especially appreciated the
article about the Bles-Wold Farm yogurt operation.
I make my own yogurt – two litres per week. Yogurt is
very therapeutic, which I discovered quite by accident
when I had terrible shingles. Out of desperation,
I spread yogurt over the rash and it eased the burning
sensation. I thought I’d discovered this until I found
a book by an English ophthalmologist who suggested
the same cure. The other use is cosmetic; being acid-
ic, it is a good face mask – it feels good, refreshes the
skin and acts as a mild exfoliant. Try it! Agriculture is
interesting to read about. Thank you for putting out
this fine publication.
- Bette L. Paterson, Edmonton
CURIOUS SHOPPER: I would like to know why it is
impossible to buy green cabbage and runner beans in
Alberta (except for packages of runner seeds sold as
hummingbird food!) I know both grow really well
here. Coming from the U.K., where both of these
healthy staples are sold at any green grocer or super-
market, I’ve been amazed that I can’t buy them here.
They are both delicious and very nutritious. I am sure
I am not the only one who would purchase these won-
derful items. Any idea why I can’t find them?
- Pamela Smith, Redwood Meadows, Alberta
Perhaps you haven’t been looking in the right places. Runner
beans, also called string beans in Canada, and green cabbage
are available in most major supermarkets. The freshest will
be at your local farmers’ market starting now. Visit the
Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association website. You
can buy just about anything directly from the farm. Editors
PARK PATROL: I really enjoyed reading the Spring
2008 issue of Food For Thought, but I was surprised
to see a photo credit that said Hillspring is near
Waterton Provincial Park. Waterton is a national
park, part of the Waterton Glacier International
Peace Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Elaine Piepgrass, Cardston, Alberta
your thoughts
Watch for our next issue!
Ask for it in your local
supermarket in September.
Enter our contest for a chance to win a
his-and-hers gift basket from Alberta Milk.
Your prize includes golf shirts, mugs and a
range of dairy goodness cookbooks. Send in
a reader reply card or enter online at
you could win
We’re sorry to rub it in, but summer fun will one day end!
You’ll have to say goodbye to the barbecues, the cold salads
and great spots to camp. There’s nothing left to do except
admit it: fall is coming. On the bright side, you can look
forward to another issue of Food For Thought. Here’s a
taste of what’s to come:
RENOVATE RIGHT: Fall is the perfect time to get that new kitchen
done or build your very own fireplace. You’re indoors again, and the
Christmas party crunch is only months away. Find the best way to fix
the heart of the home with as little heartache for yourself and your
loved ones. Read our experts’ tips for renovating on a tight budget.
MY TWO CENTS: The holidays are coming; it’s time to hunker down
and save some cash. Here are some great meal ideas for a family on a
shoestring budget. You’ll rediscover the joys of pork and beans, meat-
loaf, stew and root veggie delight. You’ll also learn about unusual and
under-appreciated cuts of meat, where to get them and how to use
them to your advantage.
WINTER WONDERLAND: Don’t slave away this year to make
Christmas magical. Let someone else make it magical for you! Plan a
winter trip right here in Alberta and leave the Christmas crafts on the
kitchen table. We’ll have information about culinary winter trips and
activities that are only a few clicks away. Find out what the options are
and see if you can swing a getaway in your price range.
what’s coming

Jana Miko loves taking pictures of her three-year-old daughter Kayla,
but when she snapped this shot in a canola field while visiting relatives
in Silver Valley, Alberta, she knew it was an especially sweet moment.
“She wanted to pick a flower so bad, she just likes to bring me the
flowers, it’s very sweet,” says Miko. “There’s just something about a little
girl in a white dress anywhere in nature, anywhere she shouldn’t be.
It just represents freedom.”
Picture Perfect
send us your
best food or
farm photo*
for a chance to
* Photographs are judgedon technical quality,
composition andoverall impact. E-mail entries
tocontest@venturepublishing.ca or mail them
toFoodFor Thought Contest, Venture Publishing,
10259-105 Street, Edmonton, AB, T5J 1E3. For full
contest details, visit www.growingalberta.com.
Restaurateur and caterer Carole Amerongen and her team at The Dish
and the Runaway Spoon created this summer chicken recipe for Food For
Thought. It’s a marinated grilled chicken breast on mixed greens with
saskatoon honey vinaigrette, served with chevré crostini.
6 skinless, boneless free-range
chicken breasts
3/4 cup (185 mL) canola or olive oil
1/2 cup (250 mL) Dijon mustard
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp (15 mL) soy sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) dried chili flakes
1 tsp (5 mL) freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (250 mL) canola or olive oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar
4 tsp (20 mL) Lola Canola saskatoon honey
1-2 Tsp (5-10 mL) crushed garlic
salt and pepper to taste
10 cups (2.5 L) heritage mixed greens
12 slices baguette
4 oz (115 g) Fairwinds Farm chevré
or feta cheese, crumbled
• Place the chicken breasts in a large resealable bag; combine the
marinade ingredients and pour over top. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium-high and remove chick-
en from marinade. Grill the chicken for 5-7 minutes per side, until the
juices run clear.
• Top the baguette slices with crumbled chevré or feta cheese. Set
the crostini on the upper grill rack to warm them, or place on a cookie
sheet and toast in the oven until the cheese softens.
• Whisk together the dressing ingredients or shake them up in a jar.
• Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, toss the greens with the dressing,
and divide among 6 shallow bowls. Slice the chicken and serve over
the greens, with chevré crostini. Serves 6.
000.ABBeef_FP_nBL.indd 1 4/29/08 9:37:10 AM
Paradise Hill Farm tomatoes are hand
packed and are never exposed to
pesticides. These delicious tomatoes are
grown using natural biological controls
and go through rigorous testing to ensure
they are 100% pesticide free.
Naturally ripened on the vine by the sun,
Paradise Hill tomatoes are hand picked
only when fully ripe, with delivery within
24 hours from the time they were picked!
Paradise Hill Farm tomatoes. Sun-ripened
for the best flavour possible! Only at
Calgary Co-op!
Visit Karen and Tony @
Supplies at the food bank are low and families in the
community need your help. Join Calgary Co-op and Global TV
on June 2, 2007 to “Help the Hungry”
and raise awareness for this great community service.
Locally Grown Pesticide Free Tomatoes! Available Exclusively at Calgary Co-op.
000.CgyCoop_FP_wBL.indd 1 5/6/08 12:01:16 PM
Love Summer
in 25 flavours!
···. -·.-··· ··-.·
-. ...· ····`
..-..·, .·.· ·.- ., .·
-··· -·.· .-
·-·.· ·-.·- -. -··
··· ··- .· ·····
·...·, .·.· ·.- -··
·--·-..· ··-·· ---·
.· ···· ·. ...·
000.Safeway_FP_wBL.indd 1 5/1/08 8:48:13 AM
Proud to support
local growers
Doug Visser & family –
Riverbend Gardens,
Edmonton, Alberta
bringing you our best
000.Save-on_FP_wBL.indd 1 4/14/08 2:49:46 PM
Helping busy people
enjoy wholesome meals
Sunterra Farms produces top quality meats that help you and
your family enjoy the taste and nutrition you deserve.
DOWNTOWN MARKETS: Bankers Hall (403) 269-3610 • Gulf Canada Square (403) 263-9756 • Transcanada Tower (403) 262-8240
MARKET GROCERIES: Britannia (403) 287-0553 • West Market Square (403) 266-3049 CATERING: (403) 263.9759
Commerce Place (780) 426-3791 • Lendrum Shopping Plaza (780) 434-2610 CATERING: (780) 426.3807
000.Sunterra_FP_wBL.indd 1 4/16/08 6:19:33 PM
Your borbocuo mokos |ho porloc| Koroon grill. Morino|o 1 lb
ol |howod Koroon·s|ylo bool chuck shor| ribs wi|h ¾ cup ol
souco ond rolrigoro|o lor 30 minu|os. Grill on modium lor
3 |o 4 minu|os, |urning onco.
Òur now grilling souco moy
bo THE |os|o sonso|ion ol |ho
summor. l| brings ou| |ho no|urol
llovour ol moo| wi|h ou|hon|ic
ingrodion|s liko gorlic ond sosomo
oil boloncod wi|h |ho mollow
swoo|noss ol poor ond opplo |uico.
l|´s olso dolicious wi|h chickon,
pork ond grillod vogo|oblos.
Wo cop|urod |ho sizzlo ol
000.Superstore_FP.indd 1 4/28/08 2:32:49 PM
000.Bigway_FP_wBL.indd 1 4/30/08 10:37:08 AM
000.TGP_FP-wBL.indd 1 4/30/08 10:31:39 AM

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