There’s a revolution going on about how we see and think about our food.
Concerns about pesticides and GMOs from manufactured growing methods have evolved into small mom and pop farm operations— artisanal farmers, if you will.
Found in abundance in the Okanagan and Shuswap regions, these are the people who raise their own meat or milk cows, goats or sheep for dairy, open apiaries for bees and plant the seeds to not only feed their own families, but to sell at local markets or from the gates of their own farms.
On Sept. 20, some of these farmers will be sharing the wealth from their fields for the Food Action Society of the North Okanagan’s fourth annual Roots ‘n’ Brews gala dinner and dance, taking place at the Best Western Vernon Lodge.
“The Food Action Society envisions a community where all members have access to an abundance of nutritious food from a thriving local food system,” said Kristy Hennings, one of the organizers of the event. “You can meet the farmers that grew your dinner, then dance the night away next to them.”
Back to participate in the locally produced and prepared four-course dinner is Michelle Tsustumi, of Golden Ears Farm in Chase.
“We started to farm to live and work closely with the land and in the flow of the seasons. It’s really important to us, at Golden Ears, to know how our food is grown, especially with young children in the mix now. We grow as much food for ourselves as possible, and gather the rest locally from producers who we know,” she said.
“I love Roots ‘n’ Brews because it celebrates the abundance that exists in this region and the remarkable people who make it happen.”
Inspired by the Okanagan’s rich supply of growers and suppliers, Le Cordon Bleu trained chefs Brian and Maya Fetterly, of the Best Western Vernon Lodge, and Gumtree Catering’s Billy Sanderson have conceived a menu that includes local meats, cheeses, artisanal breads, pickles, organic fruits and vegetables, as well as local libation.
Hosted by emcees Gabe Newman and Jayme McKillop, the celebration will also include information about local food organizations, including the Food Action Society and its many endeavours such as food security initiatives, community gardens, Good Food Box program, and the online food directory.
And now to the best part of the evening, the food.
The event will begin with a tasting hour of local spirits from 5 to 6 p.m., featuring Okanagan Spirits, Crannóg Ales, and the BX Press Cidery.
After indulging at the antipasto table, guests will then enjoy a sweet corn flan with pork cracklings, mixed seasonal greens with apples, nuts and BX Press Cidery vinaigrette, and the mains of pork schnitzel with lamb ragout, or eggplant schnitzel, both served with a medley of seasonal veggies and roasted heirloom potatoes.
The meal will be topped off with a spiced cherry tart with a rustic spelt crust and fresh herb pastry cream, with coffee provided by Triumph Coffee and tea by Lumby’s Tea Grannies.
Hennings warns the menu may be tweaked at the last minute depending on the weather and how it affects the farmers’ crops.
“That’s truly local — everything is being picked up over the next week from the local farms and delivered directly to our chefs at the Best Western Vernon Lodge,” she said. “Our team of passionate chefs were inspired by the abundance of the season to create a menu that will thrill the taste buds, while all funds raised will go to support local food initiatives and events.”
Calories will be dropped when Vernon band OM, with guest Mikkal Waters, bring their groove-heavy sounds to the dance floor. They will be followed by Vancouver’s alternative country-gypsy-circus troupe Blackberry Wood, who are currently on tour in support of their newest record Strong Man vs. Russian Bears.
Tickets for Roots ‘n’ Brews are on sale now at the Bean Scene or the Best Western Vernon Lodge for $60. Contact Hennings at firstname.lastname@example.org about reserving a table for a group.