More on Great Growers

Allpa Vertical Farms Team
Credit: Bonafide Media & PR

Apologies to my wee band of followers for not including a direct link in my previous post to the Great Growers article in this month’s Savour Calgary magazine.  And thanks to those of you who clicked through multiple links to eventually find it!

Let’s just attribute the omission to too many Friday distractions.  The link is now included in the Farmers’ Day post – but to keep it simple, you can also read the article here.

It’s Farmers’ Day in Alberta!

Dancing Goats Farm
Craig Sanok & Paul Chambers (Credit: Dancing Goats Farm)

Happy Alberta Farmers’ Day!

One of the great aspects of my gig writing for Savour Calgary magazine is the opportunity to sit down with farmers and talk about their life’s work. Their passion never ceases to amaze me and it’s a privilege to be an ear with which they choose to share it.

This month’s issue of Savour Calgary magazine presents just a few of the amazing people growing food for us in Southern Alberta, including Allpa Vertical Farms, Red Fox Fungi, and Solstice Berry Farm.

Recent issues have also featured Grand Trunk Veggies/Chef’s Farmer, Dancing Goats Farm, Bear and the Flower Farm, and Trail’s End Beef.

There are SO many other great producers out there and I hope to share more of their stories in the months to come.

Look for their products at fine restaurants and grocers across Calgary, and at farmers’ markets throughout the region.

And join me in thanking all Alberta farmers for the essential work they do to keep us happy and healthy!

#FarmersDay #albertafarmers @ufacooperative

Text © 2021 Catherine Van Brunschot

Forged By Fire

Chef Jinhee Lee at JinBar
Credit: C. Van Brunschot

A global pandemic is hardly an optimal scenario for opening a new restaurant venture.  But many Calgary chefs did exactly that – proving that where passion and ingenuity ignite, there’s no putting out the flame.

What does it take to be a chef-entrepreneur during times of adversity? I sat down with Chef Jinhee Lee, Chef Connie DeSousa, and Chef Jenny Kang to find out.

You can read what they had to say here – or in the March/April issue of Savour Calgary magazine.  Some of their comments may surprise you!

Jasper Revelations

Picnic near Angel Glacier

IT’S A GOOD TIME FOR EXPLORING OUR OWN BACKYARD.

That’s been my approach for the past ten months – and  what brought me (and my husband) to Jasper in September for a beautiful end-of-season camping trip.

We hiked.  We biked.  We sat by the fire, while elk bugled into the night sky.

And under the capable guidance of Estelle Blanchette from Jasper Food Tours, we explored Canadian cuisine with four “pods” of Alberta travellers.

You can read about our food tour in the Winter issue of Taste & Travel International  –  here or here.

The folks of Jasper have worked hard through the pandemic to welcome visitors in a safe, responsible – and always engaging – way.

And now that it’s winter, Jasper is MAGICAL.

Skating, skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing are just the beginning.  There’s ice walks in Maligne Canyon.  Winter wildlife tours.  And Dark Sky gazing in the world’s largest astronomy park.

Starting next week, you can enjoy in-restaurant dining with your family once more – and Jasper Food Tours will be gearing up again to introduce you to some of the best.

(Note that things are booking up quickly for the Family Day/Valentine’s Day/Lunar New Year weekend ahead).

Here’s hoping that you can take time to get out and explore.  There’s so much to love in our own backyard.

(In case you’re wondering  – this was not a sponsored post nor did I receive any discounts, gifts, etc. from any Jasper tours or venues.  I just like to share great people and places.)

Text and photos © 2021 Catherine Van Brunschot

Lighting Up Christmas 2020

From “DOUGHNUTS TO DOSAS: A Christmas Tale
(Story: C. Van Brunschot; Photo credit: S. Dunk)

“It was 2003 and time for the talk.  Like many propositions put forward to tweens, it might not go well.

 And the proposition we were making to our son and daughter?  We wanted to take them travelling at Christmas…” 

Say, what?

Travel?

Christmas?

What fantasy world is this?

In the Year of the Pandemic, travel feels like a distant dream – and carving the usual Christmas traditions out of 2020 is looking as possible as returning to 2003.

Christmas parties?  Gone from the calendar.  Community celebrations?  Better get the laptop going.  Family gatherings? Uh-uh – not if we want to keep Grandma & Grandpa healthy, the kids in school come January, and our own workplaces and businesses open.

Keeping our collective chin up seems to take a little more energy each day.

Enter Savour Calgary magazine, whose holiday issue just hit the stands last week.  It isn’t going to flatten the second curve or generate a new covid vaccine.  It won’t bring distant family members home for the holidays.  It won’t bring us any closer to that light at the tunnel’s end.

But it just might offer a wee bit of first aid.  Call it a thin string of lights to brighten up that tunnel wall.

The November/December issue is unabashedly Christmas focused.  Dishes up big sides of nostalgia.  Brings global experiences to Calgary and points to ways we can enjoy them right here at home.

And among its stories are different slants on what it means to celebrate Christmas – and a reminder of the joy found in solitude, too.

So if you’re looking for escape, fresh inspiration, that fruitcake recipe you lost, or just a small smile, check out this digital copy of the new issue or look here for where you can find a free paper copy to thumb through with your glass of mulled wine.

Me, I’m a sucker for all of those things – and happy to contribute a story to Savour Calgary, too.  (That’s an excerpt at the top of this page.  You can read the full text of “DOUGHNUTS TO DOSAS:  A Christmas Tale” here).

My strategy this year is to set aside what I’ll be missing and focus instead on how to make “different” into something good.

Best wishes to everyone for the holiday season – no matter how or what you celebrate.  This, too, will be just a memory some day.  There’s still some choice to be had in what that memory might be.

Text © 2020 Catherine Van Brunschot

Meet the Producers

Craig Sanok and Paul Chambers of Dancing Goats Farm

Spend some time with modern farmers and you’ll find they’re a thoughtful bunch. Especially these Calgary-area producers, who are getting noticed for doing things differently.

Jessica and Christopher Fasoli of Bear and The Flower Farm

Kye Kocher of Grand Trunk Veggies

Some even call themselves “nerdy”.

They’re focused on building community around quality local food – and on mindful stewardship of the planet’s resources.

Here’s a peek at why they’re turning heads…

Read more on my conversations with these local producers here – or in the new issue of Savour Calgary magazine. On newstands now at all of your favourite food purveyors.

 

Cultivating an Urban Grower

Urban Farm School garden
Photo credit: C. Lamoureux and C. Van Schepen

Spend just ten minutes with Carmen Lamoureux, founder of the Urban Farm School in Calgary, and you’ll want to dash home to plant some food.

In your flowerbed.  In a pot.  In a patch of dirt next to your condo building, even.

Her passion is that contagious…

Read the full story here, or check out the complete March/April issue of Savour Calgary magazine online here.  

Meet the Producer: Trail’s End Beef

Trail's End Beef Historic Ranch
Photo credit: C. Van Brunschot

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A LONG-TIME VEGETARIAN TAKES THE REINS OF AN HISTORIC CATTLE RANCH?

At a century-old farmhouse tucked in a fold of Alberta’s Porcupine Hills, I’m about to find out…

Read more here or in the new issue of Savour Calgary, available now on newstands at all your favourite food-loving businesses in Calgary and area.

Talking Adventure Travel and Cycling in Provence on Global News Radio’s “The Informed Traveler”

Cycling past sunflower field, Provence

Adventure tourism is one of the fastest-growing segments of the travel market – climbing by a whopping 65% a year from 2009 to 2013, and projected to grow by more than 17% annually through 2023.

According to a 2018 survey by Travel Leaders Group, it’s the top specialty travel choice among North American travellers, and sought out by men and women of every age group.

Outside the Fortress in UzesWhat exactly IS adventure travel?  According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), it’s travel that combines at least 2 out of the following three elements:  physical activity; connection with nature; interaction with culture.

“Soft” adventure activities like hiking, cycling, and kayaking are among the most popular, driven by travellers’ increased desire to include hands-on, authentic , and off-the-beaten-path experiences while out exploring the world.

I’m certainly no athlete,  but by this definition I’ve been a soft adventure traveller for two decades.  Given the statistics, you’ve likely done some, too, or are seriously considering it for future forays around the globe.

Listen to this week’s INFORMED TRAVELER podcast, as host Randy Sharman explores why I like to include a bit of active travel in my holiday plans.  You’ll hear some adventures from my multi-day cycling trip in France – through one of the most interesting corners of Provence – and learn tips about choosing a cycling tour that’s right for you.

The INFORMED TRAVELER is heard every Sunday at 8 am on NewsTalk770 Calgary , at 6 pm on Edmonton’s 630CHED, and at 3 pm on NewsTalk980 CKNW Vancouver.  Listen to it on your mobile device through CuriousCast.

Text and photos © 2019 Catherine Van Brunschot

 

Radio Interview on THE INFORMED TRAVELER: Talking about Tuscany

Thanks so much to Randy Sharman for inviting me to chat about Tuscany on the May 5 episode of his radio show, THE INFORMED TRAVELER.

I love the relaxed, conversational way that Randy’s show brings the latest in travel news and tips to his listeners.  Like me, he believes that “there’s no better learning experience than traveling the world and meeting the people who inhabit it”, and he’s dedicated to teasing out stories and insights from his on-air guests.

The INFORMED TRAVELER is heard Sunday’s on 770CHQR in Calgary, 630CHED in Edmonton and on 980 CKNW in Vancouver.

You can also listen to free podcast episodes on curiouscast.ca and omny.fm by searching Google Podcasts,  Apple Podcasts, or Spotify on your electronic device.

In the May 5 segment, Randy uses my City Palate article “Late to the Table: a Culinary Walk Through Italy” as a springboard for discussing why food is special in Tuscany and how best to explore the region’s culinary treasures.

You can listen to my segment here – or hear the full episode (including info on celebrating Cinco de Mayo in Los Cabos or volunteering abroad) on THE INFORMED TRAVELER website.  If you like what you hear, you’ll find past episodes available on the website, too.

I’m looking forward to chatting with Randy again sometime in the future!

Text and photos © 2019 Catherine Van Brunschot