Farm to Fork: The Kootenay Slow Food Movement

Farm to Fork: The Kootenay Slow Food Movement

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With the support of consumers and chefs who are dedicated to buying local ingredients whenever possible, farm-to-fork is more than a slogan; it's a new way of dining.

Diners (visitors and locals alike) are interested in the various stages of their food production now, from the harvest, storage, processing, packaging, sales and of course, the best part, consumption.  Around the Kootenays many restaurants are celebrating this slow food movement; which is the concept of dining that combines whole foods that are locally grown, dishes made with health of the body & soul in mind and meals that are appreciated when eaten.   Here are a few events planned this summer/fall:


This past April (Apr 6-10), the Slow Food Columbia Valley hosted the Slow Food Canada National Summit with over 70 delegates from across Canada, the USA and Italy.  All of the food we served in the four-day event was sourced locally.  Even the butter was hand-made with Creston's Kootenay Meadows Farm organic cream!  All the vendors were local growers or processors.  The Slow Food Summit generated over $50,000 in revenue to local and regional businesses & farmers.

On June 10, there is a Scotch-tasting and Tapas Evening at Winderberry and Edibles Farm called Whiskey at Winderberry.  The food paired with each malt will feature produce from the Edibles Farm, a certified organic CSA in Windermere and meats from local producers and cheeses from Creston.  


On July 9, is the Soiree en Blanc.  One of the dining options is being designed by two of the chefs who belong to Slow Food Columbia Valley, Lara McCormack and Alison Bell.  They are hoping to inspire attendees to prepare a delicious al fresco dinner using local food.   Slow Food Columbia Valley will supply the menu, recipes and a shopping guide.    


At Heather Mountain Lodge (located off of Highway #1 near Glacier National Park), Chef Stefano Leone is working closely with the Slow Food Columbia Valley to source ingredients for our menu from local farmers.  As you can imagine this involves working closely with suppliers, including farmers to bring those ingredients to their tables.  They are striving to tell the stories of the suppliers and farmers. For example, ‘The Codfather’ who is their fish supplier out of Kelowna sources all of his seafood only from sustainable fishermen who he knows by name and visits. 

Heather Mountain Lodge opens for the summer season on June 24, and will be having various events throughout the summer to showcase their new menu and celebrate the farm to table idea.  They will also have a Wild Food Foraging workshop happening late July where guests are taken through their surrounding forests to gather wild ingredients which their chef will prepare for them when they return (which is more like a 100-metre diet).  


At the down heritage Hume Hotel, they constantly promote their 100-Mile Burger. It consists of local components like antibiotic and hormone-free beef from Creston's Tarzwell Farms, the buns from the Kootenay Bakery and cheese from Jerseyland Farms.   And in November they feature a different spin on this burger when the city holds its annual 'Burger Week' (mid Nov).


In partnership with Trail’s local winery (Columbia Garden Vineyard & Winery), the community of Trail plans to host the ‘Hills to Valley Garden & Art Tour’ on July 9. A feast of the senses where music and art combine with outstanding scenery, served with a ‘farm to fork’ luncheon at the winery.


The 1st Annual Farm to Fork fundraiser will be held on September 15 at the Cranbrook Public Product Gardens.  This fundraiser by the Cranbrook Food Action Committee will be open to guests to enjoy an outdoor evening experience; a four-course dinner featuring locally produced ingredients prepared by local Chef Jamie Funk and the Green Door, with dancing to follow by some favourite local bands.  The event will also showcase beverage products from Kootenay businesses and farmers.


Nevados Restaurant has planted their own garden, downtown. Currently the mint is being used in desserts and cocktails and cold crop leafy greens are up next. With other produce (cucumbers, peppers, greens) & herbs just planted this spring, will be ready for consumption later this summer.

In addition, their supplier Broxburn Farms from Lethbridge is growing their vegetables indoors and most of their produce is coming from them.  

In the fall (Oct), they do their annual ‘Pig Roast Pit’ using only local ingredients from the Elk Valley and hope to team up with the Fernie Brewing Company as well. The event will include roasted pork on local greens, tortillas (made in-house) and applesauce from donated apples (via the local bear aware program).  More real treats as a surprise for later.

Story shared by Kootenay Rockies (#KootRocks).  Cover photo courtesy of the Slow Food Columbia Valley, top image by Morgan Odland Photography (Soiree en Blanc), middle images by Heather Mountain Lodge and bottom image by Nevados Restaurant.

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