Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lots of links and thinks today!

The Organic Harvest Meal is coming up and I must say that as I grow in what I like to think is my 'foodie' side, it is one of my favorite events of the year that Mark and I attend. The event is organized by the Certified Organic Producers Co-op here on PEI and since Mark is the current president we usually get to sit at a pretty good table, so that's one plus right off the bat. That meant that last year I got to sit right beside Chef Michael Smith who is a real celebrity these days (and a small secret crush of mine). He lives here on PEI and is a huge promoter of local and organic food and this year has a hand in the creation of the menu and the food for the event. I cannot wait. Another plus of Mark being president is that he is in touch with the organizer, Roy Vandermaar, so I had some early inside information about what the menu was looking like and mmmm...hot damn it's gonna be a dandy!

Reception with Chef Michael Smith and Speerville Flour Mill
serving Wood Fired, Apple and Smoked Organic PEI Cheddar Flatbread
sampling "Picaroons Traditional Ales" Certified Organic Beer
Roasted Squash and Cauliflower Soup with Sage Pumpkin Seed Pesto and Chicken Dumpling
Heirloom Tomatoes with Warm Goat Cheese and Local Greens Beef Roulade with Roasted Garlic & Parsnip Potato Mash, Shiitake Mushroom Gravy
Farmers Market Vegetables Apple Gallette with PEI Organic Cheddar, Oatmeal Crumble and Maple Anglaise
Also, Speerville Flour Mill Wood Fired Artisan Breads with Whipped Herb Butter

There is something about that Speerville Wood Fired Bread that makes me melt. It's my favorite part every year.

There's been some confusion about the cost this year because the Fall Flavours (a big week-long culinary event held to showcase PEI food) website (which I linked to at the top of the post) is quoting $69 plus taxes, but it's actually $69 taxes in. Taking into consideration that this is a special, four course meal which uses only PEI certified organic products, cooked by top-notch professional chefs that is a pretty reasonable price. COPC members get a cheaper rate, which is helpful, but as someone who skimps and saves everywhere she can, I don't mind spending where it matters.
I've been talking to Mark about organizing an event specifically for PEI's organic farmers however, since the OHM is more of an event for the general public who are concerned about thier food and want to support organics and less for the farmers who produce it. I think it would be interesting to host something where everyone brought a dish made with some of the food they produce (or if you're a grain farmer, made with some local organic ingredients). I think it's safe to say that many of the new, young farmers in the region are involved in or are interested in the organic industry and although there exists groups like PEI Young Farmers, there still remains a stigma about 'hippie organic farmers' and it would be nice/encouraging to have a time for us to get together, just to chat, talk about the challenges, successes of being organic farmers, young and old. Even having time to chat about non-farm related stuff would be great as we have a lot of the same concerns about our food and our environment.
I went to a talk a few months ago, put on by Jen Campbell and Becky Townshend about thier respective CSA's and although it was really informative and exactly what I went for, it was the chatting afterwards that was so nice. It was great to be able to talk to people going through the same things, experiencing the same challenges, etc. Farming is an all-consuming career/lifestyle that is lacking the 'office Christmas party' of other businesses and I think that networking and having time to sit-back and relate is really important for the growth of the organic community here. And then there is the ACORN organic conference that happens in the spring, which is a huge, growing event, but I think something Island specific would be so good.

Whew, the soapbox is wearing thin today, especially with no pictures to share! We're having some of that precious warm September weather these days so I won't waste another minute of it in here on the computer. I know I'm only procrastinating on beginning to clean up the garden for another year.

Hope all is well in your corner of the world!


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